Ghost towns are stories of people and places, of how everything was before change struck and the cities were left alone, blank and empty. Travelers with a sweet tooth for history yearn for such places. Read on to find out the most fascinating ghost towns of Italy or what those cities preserved as stories.

To go down the pages of history, ghost towns have that aura encompassing rumours, stories of a wild past, the rumours which thread a quaint picture of the places in people's minds and a strange, haunting nostalgia. Humans have obsessed over preserving the afterlives of all that they deemed worthy, but rarely they recorded the endings. Ghost towns have, with diligence, care and perseverance preserved all that was known to it as life.

Italy is home to some of the hauntingly beautiful ghost towns spread all over the country. While you make the long awaited trip to Italy, include one of these in your travel list. Trust us, you won't be disappointed.


The village was born out of tragedy and has lived up to its name ever since. Curon wouldn't have been, but for the adjacent village of Graun that was submerged in 1950. When Montecatini built a dam to connect two lakes, a huge part of Graun was sacrificed, forcing people to move further north in the city of Curon. Perhaps, Curon was destined to become a ghost town, for there is a half-submerged bell tower which rings in winter days.

Spoiler alert: the bells were removed in 1918, long before the lake formed.


If any past city in Italy has witnessed death till its own, it is Gairo. Coming from two Greek words meaning 'flowing land', the city succumbed to constant disastrous floods and ground sinkings. Slowly, life eroded away and people moved up further north. But the city of death has much more than what meets the eye.

Today it is a special tourist attraction for its remnants of traditional Sardinian archaeology. People visiting this place have said time is perceived differently there, while the true face of the land is hidden under deeper layers.


Ninfa used to be a flourishing city and a thriving capital of the Volscians on the Appian way. It has seen the saga of destruction and reshuffling of memories. The first time it was destroyed by Emperor Barbarossa after his enemy Pope Alexander III had taken shelter there.

In 1297, a noble family bought the entire town and repopulated it. But the 16th century saw Ninfa being abandoned again after the outbreak of malaria. Slowly, trees and bushes outgrew the walls of the city and the original village disappeared.

In the 20th century, the town was renewed in the English garden style.

Bussana Vecchia

This 1000-year-old town is a strange mixture of nostalgia, art, history and resistance. For people who find a strange pleasure in visiting dilapidated buildings and crumbling walls, with happy people residing in them, this is a must visit.

Bussana was the first place in Italy to have an earthquake recorded by an authentic seismograph.

After the city was declared unsafe and emptied by government authorities, refugees started settling there in the 1940s. Then eviction followed in the 50s.

In the early 60s, the broken city was inhabited by an art group, the Community of International Artists. It was they who restored and renovated the crumbling town, and hippies, artists, madmen are welcome there. Every five or six years, eviction orders follow and so does life!


A breathtaking ghost town atop a 400m high cliff. When Craco was discovered by the Greeks in 540 AD, it was called Montedoro.

Existing since the iron age, the picturesque sites of the village connects you to the imagery inspired by the Denver songs. If Italy is in your bucket list, Craco deserves a checkbox.

An iron city standing strong met one disaster after another in the last 50 years, owing to its abandonment: a 1963 landslide, a 1972 flood and a 1980 earthquake.

"The world isn't run by laws written on paper, it's run by people." While humans change and history never cares to preserve itself, these cities remained as they were last left.

The thrilling nostalgia and the haunting stories would really wake the sleeping child in you, one which cared for all those stories and preserved them deep inside.

And one should experience how it feels to walk with your beloved through the walls of ruin looking down upon you, wishing for eternity amidst invisible stories.


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