Top 10 Abandoned cities in Italy

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Throughout human history, many cities have been abandoned by their inhabitants for various reasons. Natural ones, such as earthquakes or landslides; economic factors, like depleted resources or new roads bypassing cities; social issues, including diseases or population aging. Many of these cities remain frozen in time, inhabited by vagabonds, or become tourist attractions.

In southern Italy, there is a large number of abandoned towns and villages due to high seismic activity, but abandoned cities can also be found in the provinces of Liguria, Emilia, Tuscany, Lazio, and beyond. Here are the Top 10 Abandoned Cities in Italy:

1Craco, Basilicata
Craco, Basilicata
Craco is a small town built in the Basilicata region on the edge of a cliff. The first mentions date back to 1060. At the end of the 20th century, after an earthquake, residents noticed that the cliffs beneath the town were gradually crumbling, forcing them to abandon it.

2Pentedattilo, Calabria
Pentedattilo, Calabria
The town was established in 640 BC as a Greek colony and flourished during the times of Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. In 1783, the town was destroyed by an earthquake and remained uninhabited until the 1980s.

3Romaniano al Monte, Salerno
Romaniano al Monte, Campania
The small town of Romaniano al Monte was destroyed by an earthquake in 1980 and rebuilt a few kilometers away. The ghost town became a tourist attraction in the early 2000s.

4Roscigno Vecchia, Campania

Roscigno, also called the “walking city,” experienced continuous landslides starting in the 1500s, forcing the townspeople to relocate several times. The town is now located in a safe area, but its history still lives on in the abandoned Roscigno Vecchia, 2 km away.

5Tocco Caudio, Campania
Tocco Caudio, Campania
Tocco Caudio is a town in the province of Benevento that was abandoned after a series of earthquakes in 1980 and 1981. Instead of rebuilding the town, residents left and rebuilt it slightly higher. There are now two Tocco Caudio towns: the old abandoned one and the new inhabited one.

6Chellen, Lazio
Chellen, Lazio
The town of Chellen is located in the province of Viterbo, 80 km northwest of Rome. The origin of the town is unclear, but it is likely built by the Etruscans.

7Monterano, Lazio
Canale Monterano, Lazio
The abandoned town of Monterano is located near the town of Canale Monterano, 50 kilometers from Rome. It is a natural and historical landmark known for numerous films shot here.

8Balestrino, Liguria
Balestrino, Liguria
The most mysterious of the towns, the exact reason for its abandonment is unknown, but most people left the town after the 1887 earthquake that shook the region. The last people relocated in the 1950s to more stable areas. Since then, the town seems to have frozen in time.

9Bussana Vecchia, Liguria
Bussana Vecchia, Liguria
Bussana Vecchia is a thousand-year-old ghost town near San Remo. Destroyed by an earthquake in 1887 and now inhabited by artists. After the earthquake, the town remained abandoned until 1947 when southerners arrived, but they were evicted by the police. Later, the town was occupied by hippies, artists, and activists who gradually formed a community that has existed for several decades. People in it sell their handmade goods to tourists and resist authorities who have declared all houses government property.

10Argentiera, Sardinia
Argentiera, Sardinia
The town of Argentiera, a former mining commune located in a narrow valley in the municipality of Sassari, was slowly abandoned after the mine closed in 1963.

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