CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The towns that time forgot

 

 

 

 

Entire Italian hamlet famed for being the birth place of pasta goes up for sale for £15.5 million

  • Hamlet consisting of more than 50 properties - including homes and shops - is on the market in Norcia in Umbria
  • The area has been declared a monument of historical and artistic interest by Italy's Ministry of Cultural Heritage
  • Medieval mini-village is celebrated locally as the birthplace of pasta and is a haven for food and history lovers

An entire Italian hamlet celebrated as the birthplace of pasta has gone on sale for £15.5 million.

Consisting of more than 50 properties, the medieval mini-village close to the historical town of Norcia in Umbria is a haven for food lovers and has been declared a monument of historical and artistic interest by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage.

Just a few miles from the world famous commune of San Pelligrino, the hamlet is known locally as 'Il Borgo', meaning simply The Village.

Tucked away in the heart of the Umbrian countryside, the area's rich history, steadfast refusal to break with ancient traditions and internationally celebrated cuisine makes this 'home of pasta' an ideal spot for Italophiles to relax - provided they have more than a few 'pennes' in the bank.

Scroll down for video

Stunning: Consisting of more than 50 properties, the medieval mini-village has long been a haven for food lovers

+14

Stunning: Consisting of more than 50 properties, the medieval mini-village has long been a haven for food lovers

Historic: The hamlet has been declared a monument of historical and artistic interest by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage

+14

Historic: The hamlet has been declared a monument of historical and artistic interest by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage

Remote: Tucked away in the heart of the Umbrian countryside, the area has a rich history and refuses to break with ancient traditions

+14

Remote: Tucked away in the heart of the Umbrian countryside, the area has a rich history and refuses to break with ancient traditions

Under the arches: The hamlet is known locally as 'Il Borgo', which translates as simply The Village

+14

Under the arches: The hamlet is known locally as 'Il Borgo', which translates as simply The Village

The hamlet is popular with foodies and sun-seekers and comes complete with a church, 59 independent apartments, a restaurant and several small shops.

Annabel Smith, International Sales Manager at Jackson-Stops & Staff said: 'This is a unique opportunity for someone to own a piece of Italian history, which would make a lucrative tourist resort in what is one of Italy's most sought after regions.

'When you consider exactly what is on offer, it equates to outstanding value as for the same price as luxury London townhouse, the buyer is getting an entire hamlet with great income potential.

'Often these types of opportunities require extensive work but The Borgo has already been the subject of an extensive renovation programme meaning it is ready for immediate use.'

Cosy: The hamlet consists of 50 separate residential properties, with this one being a typical example of what to expect

+14

Cosy: The hamlet consists of 50 separate residential properties, with this one being a typical example of what to expect

Taking it easy: Umbria's internationally celebrated cuisine makes this 'home of pasta' an ideal spot for Italophiles to relax

 

Taking it easy: Umbria's internationally celebrated cuisine makes this 'home of pasta' an ideal spot for Italophiles to relax

Picturesque: The Borgo is just 100 miles from Rome and has been declared a monument of historical and artistic interest

+14

Picturesque: The Borgo is just 100 miles from Rome and has been declared a monument of historical and artistic interest

Wonderful: The entire hamlet - with more than 50 properties - is roughly the same price as luxury London townhouse

+14

Wonderful: The entire hamlet - with more than 50 properties - is roughly the same price as luxury London townhouse

Religious devotion: The hamlet is popular with foodies and sun-seekers and comes complete with a church

+14

Religious devotion: The hamlet is popular with foodies and sun-seekers and comes complete with a church

The Borgo is just 100 miles from Rome and has been declared a monument of historical and artistic interest by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage.

Umbria, known as 'Italy's green heart', is the only region that borders neither sea nor another country.

The region is home to many of Italy's historic traditions such as pasta making and is a haven for foodies, as well as being home to great walks, festivals and art.

Often overshadowed by its better known neighbour Tuscany, the entire province of Umbria has a total population of just over 885,000 spread out over its 3,265 square miles. To put that in perspective, more than 8.6 million people are crammed into the 607 square miles that makes up Greater London.

The capital of Umbria is the city of Perugia - major city during the Etruscan period and still a significant university town.

Take a tour around the historical town of Norcia in Umbria

 

Annabel Smith, the woman overseeing the hamlet's sale said: 'This is a unique opportunity for someone to own a piece of Italian history'

+14

Annabel Smith, the woman overseeing the hamlet's sale said: 'This is a unique opportunity for someone to own a piece of Italian history'

+14

+14

Great deal: Experts say the hamlet would make a lucrative tourist resort in what is one of Italy's most sought after regions

Miles of stunning countryside: The hamlet is just a few miles from the world famous commune of San Pelligrino

+14

Miles of stunning countryside: The hamlet is just a few miles from the world famous commune of San Pelligrino

Uniqie: Umbria, known as 'Italy's green heart', is the only region that borders neither sea nor another country

+14

Uniqie: Umbria, known as 'Italy's green heart', is the only region that borders neither sea nor another country

 

 

 

 

 

The towns that time forgot

 

 

 

Haunting images of Italy’s abandoned ghost towns left in eerie splendour and untouched since they were deserted over half a century ago

 

  • Spooky images tell the story of Italy's forgotten villages that have stood deserted following devastating incidents
  • Devastating earthquake in the once-bustling Apice saw 6,500 residents flee, leaving the old town to decay and ruin
  • Heavy fighting during the Second World War forced the people of San Pietro Infine to flee. During 15 days of fighting villagers hid in caves. Few came back after the war
  • Mudslides forced the people of Roscigno out in the 1950s - but the speed with which they left, with cutlery still on dinner tables, led it to be named 'The Twentieth Century Pompeii'

Haunting photographs have captured the eerie beauty of Italy’s ‘ghost towns' from a bygone time - left abandoned by those fleeing conflict and natural disasters.

A series of spooky pictures show how once thriving villages are the places time forgot and have stood untouched, decades after their inhabitants packed up and left.

The old town of Apice, in the province of Benevento, was one such victim of Italy’s unforgiving geographical landscape when the whole town fled after a series of strong tremors, never to return.

Scroll down for video

Spooky: A chapel in Croce abandoned and left to ruin. Untouched for decades, the isolated village by the Campania coast was deserted after the Second World War as its inhabitants gradually left to fine better lives in other parts of Italy and to the USA

+12

Spooky: A chapel in Croce abandoned and left to ruin. Untouched for decades, the isolated village by the Campania coast was deserted after the Second World War as its inhabitants gradually left to fine better lives in other parts of Italy and to the USA

Decay: The town of San Pietro Infine situated around 150km south of Rome, was badly bombed during the Second World War, wrecking its buildings. People living left after the Second World War

+12

Decay: The town of San Pietro Infine situated around 150km south of Rome, was badly bombed during the Second World War, wrecking its buildings. People living left after the Second World War

Historic: After the Battle of San Pietro Infine, which lasted 15 days and ruined many of the town's building many families, so frightened they hid in caves during the fighting, left and never returned 

+12

Historic: After the Battle of San Pietro Infine, which lasted 15 days and ruined many of the town's building many families, so frightened they hid in caves during the fighting, left and never returned

Boarded up: Throughout the ancient town of Apice there are signs of its former glory during the Roman times, when it was gifted to a squad of legionaries by a nobleman Marcus Apicius in return for their loyal service

+12

Boarded up: Throughout the ancient town of Apice there are signs of its former glory during the Roman times, when it was gifted to a squad of legionaries by a nobleman Marcus Apicius in return for their loyal service

Located close to the southern town of Benevento, it was built during the glorious days of Imperial Rome.

Strolling around its deserted streets today reveals some of the secrets of the town, which dates back to the eighth century.

Ancient coins, statues of distinguished statesmen and remains of pottery are scattered everywhere in the commune, which – once a vibrant trading area until the 20th century – is now abandoned.

The town received its name from a Roman nobleman and a popular gastronomer Marcus Gavius Apicius, author of the first Roman cookbook.

He was commissioned by the Senate to give this estate as a gift to a squad of legionaries to reward them for their services and loyalty in battle against Romes enemies.

The village is an open-air museum, a Roman city frozen in time. There are ruins of villas, taverns and bridges, while statues of lictor fasces and tombs litter the landscape.

The fortress had underground prisons and a network of tunnels to safely exit the village.

Thousands of people lived in Apice, 70km northeast of Naples, for centuries - but all the glory came to an end when two devastating earthquakes hit Apice in 1962, leaving 17 people dead.

Those who did not die, escaped to a safer area. The government evacuated 6,500 people to a new town up the hill overlooking the old one. 

Deserted: After it was evacuated in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in 1962, only a handful of stoic residents remained in Apice including the mayor and the local barber. Many of those who left went to live in a newly created town up a hill, which overlooks the old one

+12

Deserted: After it was evacuated in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in 1962, only a handful of stoic residents remained in Apice including the mayor and the local barber. Many of those who left went to live in a newly created town up a hill, which overlooks the old one

 

Ominous: A creaky door leads into an abandoned house in San Pietro Infine, a vibrant area before the war  San Pietro Infine dates back further as fossils can be seen stuck on rocks throughout the commune in central Italy

Ancient: While San Pietro Infine gained fame as a safe haven for bandits fighting the unification of Italy, the town dates back further as fossils can be seen stuck on rocks throughout the commune in central Italy

Spooky: Abandoned buildings in the old town of Apice, which was the subject of a mass evacuation of 6,500 people in the 1960s because of a large earthquake. Most of its inhabitants never returned. The barber shop remained and only closed in 2012

+12

Spooky: Abandoned buildings in the old town of Apice, which was the subject of a mass evacuation of 6,500 people in the 1960s because of a large earthquake. Most of its inhabitants never returned. The barber shop remained and only closed in 2012

 

A handful of committed residents - including the Mayor - hung on and refused to move, desperate to stay close to their home and the medieval ruins of the castles, churches and monasteries.

But gradually people left, the last of which an old barber, who only shut his shop for the final time in 2012.

The town of San Pietro Infine, situated around 150km south of Rome, was founded by the Sanniti people before they were brutally wiped out by the Romans, but fossils stuck in the rock hint to its prehistoric important, suggesting its cliff was part of a lake.

Later sacked by the German Barbarians, after the fall of Rome it flourished as part of St.Benedict’s lands but San Pietro Infine gained notability in the 19th century, for being a popular stop-off for bandits hiding from the monarchy as they fought against the unification of Italy's states.

The village was caught up in conflict again during the Second World War, where the famed Battle of San Pietro Infine took place in December 1943 between the Allied Forces and the German ‘winter line’.

Heavy shelling and fighting for 15 days completely destroyed the town and drove frightened residents into caves to escape the conflict.

After the conflict families left the area and never returned, and the remains of the town have been untouched ever since.

Walking through Croce in 2015, it’s hard to guess it was once the home of a bustling slave market run by the Saracens where Asian women were sold to the highest bidder a thousand years ago.

The pirates did a double trade as they stalked the Campania coastline, kidnapping fair skinned, blue eyed beauties and taking them to the Arabian Penisula where they too were sold into servitude.

Fearful Italians had built the village along the rocky cliffs, believing it would be ‘impenetrable’ to the vicious pirates who plundered the lands.

The Saracens were eventually ousted by the Italians, and Croce fell into the hands of the Papal State who transformed it into a ashram, attracting hermits and monks.

But with the urbanisation of Italy, the lack of roads, schools, medical facilities or stops meant this once peaceful destination was too remote for its more modern inhabitants, and by the end of the Second World War its population dwindled as people sought a better life in other parts of Italy and the USA.

Other 'ghost towns' in Italy include Roscigno, south of Naples, which is so-called the 20th Cenutry Pompeii after its population was driven out by a onslaught of floods and mudslides.

Founded in the ninth century, the people of Roscigno were used to dealing with natural calamities - but for many, by 1902, it had all become too much as most people had already left.

By the 1950s a few hardy souls remained - but they were eventually ordered out of their homes by the government in the 1950s.

Yet the speed with which residents packed up and left have led to the village being dubbed the Pompeii of the 1900s.

Visitors to Roscigno now can still find the cutlery and furniture which once belonged the the people who ran for their lives, laid out in the crumbling buildings.

Those who do make the trip will find one lonely resident still determined to live in Roscigno today.

Maratea Vecchia where the villagers fled down to the coast, leaving Maratea Vecchia to crumble slowly into the sea 

+12

Maratea Vecchia where the villagers fled down to the coast, leaving Maratea Vecchia to crumble slowly into the sea

Roscigno, south of Naples, which is so-called the 20th Cenutry Pompeii after its population was driven out by a onslaught of floods and mudslides

+12

Roscigno, south of Naples, which is so-called the 20th Cenutry Pompeii after its population was driven out by a onslaught of floods and mudslides

Deserted: The village of Croce was once the home of a bustling slave market run by the Saracens where Asian women were sold to the highest bidder a thousand years ago

+12

Deserted: The village of Croce was once the home of a bustling slave market run by the Saracens where Asian women were sold to the highest bidder a thousand years ago

Mud slides have forced the villagers of Roscigno out of their homes and the village has been deserted since the 1950s 

+12

Mud slides have forced the villagers of Roscigno out of their homes and the village has been deserted since the 1950s

The people of Scoppio, near Spoleto in Umbria, abandoned their village in 1950 after years of terrible earthquakes made life untenable, while it was the bombs of the Second World War that saw people flee the hamlet of Maratea Vecchia, built on the rugged San Biagio hilltop.

In the town of Maratea Vecchia villagers fled down to the coast, leaving the village to crumble slowly into the sea

Falling red rocks spelled the demise of Faleria Antica in the Tiber Valley, just a few kilometres away from Rome, as people moved downhill to escape the bombardment. The town was completely abandoned as massive migration in the 1940s took more people away from the area.

Happily tourists have helped breath new life into the ghost towns of San Severino di Centol - an empty village now visited for an annual summer ham festival - and the 'Garden of Eden' Ninfa, which today is a luxuriant park with exotic plants, despite once flourishing as a trade centre for seven centuries. 

 

 

 

 

   

No comments: