Tag Archives: environment

Ghost Towns, Awake! Futures for Italy’s Abandoned Settlements

Kristen Sloan   University of Wollongong

craco

Craco, Basilicata, Abandoned 1963

The increasing number and visibility of abandoned places throughout the world, coupled with a significant change in the way space is perceived in contemporary societies, has sparked a growing global conversation about re-using abandoned elements of the built environment. In the past ten years thousands of projects have emerged around the world that involve mapping and ‘re-purposing’ abandoned places, notably the ‘re-awakening’ of entirely deserted villages. Italy is of particular interest here. It has at least 5838 historically valuable ‘ghost towns’ of which 2831 are either completely abandoned or at serious risk of extinction. The loss for the former inhabitants and for the collective memory embodied in the lost communities is severe. Their requalification for contemporary use has become an urgent task.

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Recent Risorgimento scholarship

cmit20.v019.i02.coverKeen to keep pace with scholarship on the Risorgimento? The latest issue of Modern Italy (vol.19, issue 3, 2014) has a substantial section of reviews by leading scholars of recent books on several of its aspects. They follow a group of articles on Fascism and nature (sample title: ‘Making Italians out of rocks: Mussolini’s shadows on Italian mountains’), covering Italy and its African colonies, parks, the environment and leisure. The official encouragement in 1939 to get people to do more by way of ‘sweaty exertions’ in skiing and swimming, to be practised in full combat gear, did not fall entirely on deaf ears but failed to generate the levels of skill thought necessary for adequate defence of the patria on land and sea.

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