Historical Crisis Affects Urban Landscape in Italy

It’s common knowledge that Europe has lately been in a below-average economic situation. Some countries such as Italy are facing an especially bad crisis that started in 2007 and has not quite been relieved. This economic crisis has consequently effected the urban landscape of Italy; a lot of buildings, having been still under construction at the time, are now abandoned because of the lack of funds needed to finish them.

The results of this widespread abandonment are a series of ghost buildings around the country; they serve no function and emphasize the decline of the “high society.” The classifications of these buildings vary – from churches, to gyms, to hospitals, to schools – and they’re spread from northern to southern Italy. Most of them are large buildings built between 2000 and 2005, when the economy wasn’t so bad, and the construction industry had frequently jumped on the chance to start unauthorized construction and make illegal profit.


Colonia Novarese. Rimini, Italy. Image via Instagramers Italia.

The main issue here is that these buildings are becoming old and there’s no chance to improve their condition.  Today the situation is that there’s no conscience regarding the number of abandoned buildings spread all over Italy, and there’s no active policy that has the aim to restore or convert them for other purposes.

That’s why it’s necessary to start by gathering a census of the number of abandon buildings so the situation could be more well understood. On February 27th, 2014, an aggregate of local and national associations started a campaign called Save the Landscape, Defend the Territories that has given citizens the chance to report the ghost buildings to the authorities.


Ex Madhouse, Church of Santa Maria della Pieta. Rome, Italy. Image via Instagramers Italia.

But throughout these past several years, little has been done about these situations, and it’s because the bureaucracies in Italy impede progress. The sentiment is that nothing is moving quickly enough to improve the situation, and the political instability currently facing Italy doesn’t allow a concrete government policy regarding land usage and zoning. It may be perceived that the country is getting old and is perhaps too tangled up with its history.

Everything seems to be frozen in years past. Something must be done to make the country more competitive, more contemporary, and as beautiful as it once was. 

Ex Westinghouse Factory. Torno, Italy. Image via Instagramers Italia.

About The Author

Lucia Ortolani
Lucia Ortolani is an Italian Engineer, born in Italy and graduated in University of Bologna (IT) 2014. During her study she found the passion for sustainability and anything that concern environment. She had some research about the possibility of creating concrete by using recycled plastic instead of gravel and other design project that involves green technologies. Lucia belives that urban design and sustainable architecture could improve people's life.