Lonely Planet Writer

Italy's abandoned buildings are becoming tourist attractions thanks to this art project

An experimental project in Italy wants to preserve and protect some of the country’s abandoned and nearly-forgotten buildings.

Ospedale Sanatoriale Montecatone. Photo by Fabrizio Verni

‘In Loco, the Widespread Museum of Abandonment’ is an exhibition and series of activities designed to shine a light on seven very different abandoned buildings in the northern region of Romagna. It calls itself a “museum without walls” but visitors can start by attending an exhibition in EXATR, a former bus depot in Forli that itself has been the focus of urban regeneration.

Inside, visitors can explore the historical research carried out on each of the abandoned buildings and the complementary multimedia from cartoonists, musicians, actors and photographers. The team have also collected ruins from the sites or replicated the feeling of the sites with sounds and smells.

Zuccherificio Eridania. Photo by Francesco Bertozzi

There is also a series of guided walks and bicycle tours, workshops and themed events that will bring people to the sites. There will also be additional multimedia content that will only be available on your smartphone when you’re in the building’s surrounding area.

The multi-disciplinary art collective behind In Loco want to build on this month-long event and said in a statement they wish to “lay the foundations for a real, widespread museum, embracing the whole territory of Romagna and expanding up to Emilia.” As part of their plan they want to create thematic itineraries, brochures, road signs and maps to help visitors find and explore the abandoned buildings for themselves.

Convento di Scardavilla, Meldola. Photo by Spazi Indecisi

The exhibition itself will focus on seven different buildings, each representing a different journey you can take to explore a range of abandoned buildings. You can also explore the places, find them on maps or donate to the project online.