This was the third morning of our urbex adventure in Italy. Already at midnight we were reaching this totally secluded monastery on a hill. Here we were spending the night: Inside this hundreds of years old church.
The history of this site dates back to the 17th century. Around 350 years ago a hermitage was built here. In peaceful seclusion monks were living and praying. Most of the houses were constructed by them. In order to do this, they were assisted by a well-known architect from the region. But they still needed around 100 years to build up the whole area. And even then, not everything was finished. Actually, it was planned to construct even more buildings.
The church was one of the first buildings which got finished and it was consecrated around 1670. Still today the nave is very impressive. We’re wondering how stunning this Lord’s house must have been in its heyday. However, around the time of World War One the church had already been desecrated. So, for 100 years people haven’t been using this place for their prayers anymore. You could nearly think that the place of worship is untouched since then and spared vandals. But actually, the place was looted multiple times in the past. Among others the statue of Madonna was stolen and other sculptures had been destroyed.
If you now think all the buildings on the property might be that beautifully old and decayed like the church, we unfortunately have to disappoint you. This structure you can see next is where the monks used to live back then. But today nothing reminds of that time anymore. Everything looks modern. This is an extreme contrast to the church that’s even connected with this building via a hallway. In fact, this part of the property belonged to a hospital. But in order to explain this we have to continue with our history lesson.
The French Revolution had a major impact on all of Europe, including Italy. After that, around 1800, the monastery was temporary closed and the church was raided for the first time. Later the premises were used alternately by multiple Catholic orders for one whole century. Until the hermitage was turned into a sanatorium by the Italian Red Cross in the End of the First World War. Because of the isolation this site was just perfect for that.
War veterans and women with tuberculosis were treated here. In the 1960s a new, way larger building was constructed in the park nearby. The new complex was used as a hospital. And this building right here was turned into a training facility only a short time later. Doctors and nurses were instructed here or participated in refresher courses. Until the end this structure was used as a teaching facility. Plenty of books and devices which were used for training can still be found here.
The third important building on the compound is the hospital we just mentioned. Meanwhile the whole park and even the parking lot have become totally overgrown. Although the site has only been abandoned for five years now. Not long after the place was shut down, the first thieves and vandals came to rip the building apart. By now it has nearly been completely destroyed. It's hard to find a window that isn't smashed yet. Doors and other things were simply tossed out of the upper floors. This hospital has several levels but everywhere the same picture over and over again: Long hallways and empty rooms. But if you search carefully, you can find some real highlights in here.
After the hospital has been active for many decades, it was eventually turned into an old age home in the year 1995. Elderly people got their medical treatment here but they were living independently at the same time. Due to a decision of local authorities the whole site was shut down in 2013. All the residents were rehoused to nearby facilities. The problem was that there were simply too much resources needed in the past. With a new concept a modern health center was supposed to reopen on this hill. At least this was the plan. Because nothing happened since then. After closing down, the whole property was on sale for around eight million Euros. But till today there's no potential buyer. After administration and politics turned their backs to this facility flora and fauna are now coming back.
After a long day we now leave this sad place. With its historical facade and the remarkable nave this church is one of the many Italian monuments. But apparently the region is lacking a cultural memory. Because instead of saving this place, it was left to rot. Today this site is no-man's-land. Since it's so remote, teenagers and thieves think they are free to do whatever they want up here. And as it seems they're right. Because by now everyone has lost their interest and there is no hope left for this historical site.