The Best Abandoned Buildings to Visit in Italy

Sammezzano castle, Tuscany, Italy
Sammezzano castle, Tuscany, Italy | © Marat Dupri / Shutterstock

Hub Writer

From unfinished sports complexes to long-vacated hotels, you won’t find these forgotten sights in the guide books. We present Italy’s most intriguing abandoned buildings.

Whether it be a grand hotel whose guests have long since checked out, a once luxurious family home now hexed by a curse, or a sports stadium that never hosted a single competition, Italy’s abandoned buildings often have a fascinating history. Visit at your own risk however – many are on private land with years of neglect and decay making them precarious places to explore.

Città dello Sport


Santiago Calatravas unfinished Città dello Sport
© marcovarro / Shutterstock

The Città dello Sport lies unfinished in the Tor Vergata district of Rome, its white, steel skeleton rising up out of the landscape. The multi-purpose sports complex was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and was commissioned to host the 2009 World Swimming Championships. It would have featured two ‘shark fin’-shaped pavilions housing an Olympic swimming pool, a basketball and volleyball court, athletic tracks and other sports facilities, but the project was dropped due to the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent rising costs.

Villa De Vecchi


Villa De Vecchi
© jeff kerwin / Flickr

Built between 1854 and 1857 in Cortenova, Lombardy, Villa De Vecchi was once a luxurious mansion and home to the De Vecchi family. According to local legend, the family all met unfortunate ends and stories of murder, suicide and even the supernatural abound. The house now stands in ruins, its walls overcome with weeds and its once bright-red façade peeling and faded.


Amusement Park

Consonno, Lecco
© Luca Nebuloni /Flickr

Consonno, in the province of Lecco in northern Italy, was once a small farming village with a population of a few hundred. Today the population is zero and a series of bizarre buildings stain the landscape. In the early ’60s, entrepreneur Mario Bagno set about constructing a Las Vegas-like complex that included a medieval-style castle, Chinese pagodas and a minaret (a tower connected to a mosque). Bagno had plans to extend the site with even more attractions but, in 1976, a landslide destroyed the main road to the village and the site was deserted shortly after.

Grand Hotel Campo dei Fiori


Grand Hotel Campo dei Fiori
© Mpiz / WikiCommons

Perched atop a mountain in the province of Varese, northwest Lombardy, is the Grand Hotel Campo dei Fiori. Built in 1912, its 200 rooms hosted well-to-do holidaymakers until the closure of the area’s funicular and the decline of tourism in the late ’50s. In 1968, this lavish Art Nouveau hotel closed its doors for good and the building owners were later forced to install radio antennae, owned by private broadcasters, on the hotel roof as a way of paying for maintenance costs.

Isola della Gaiola

Natural Feature

Isola della Gaiola
© Antonio Manfredonio / Flickr

The picturesque Isola della Gaiola boasts a small private villa with stunning panoramic views of the Gulf of Naples. The trouble, however, is that the island is supposed to be cursed. Thanks to the bad luck suffered by a string of owners – including the head of Fiat Gianni Agnelli and billionaire tycoon John Paul Getty – the villa has long been vacated. The island is now part of a protected marine area and can only be reached by a short swim from the mainland.

Vallone dei Mullini

Archaeological site

The Valley of the Mills in Sorrento, Italy.
© Marben / Shutterstock

The Vallone dei Mullini, or Valley of the Mills, is a deep mountain gorge in Sorrento, formed by a huge volcanic eruption 35,000 years ago. Its name comes from an old grain mill located there, once powered by water coming from the hills. Following the construction of the town’s main square, which isolated the valley and cut off its roads, the area was abandoned in the 19th century. Now, nature has reclaimed the space and lush vegetation bewitchingly envelops the stone building.

Castello di Sammezzano


Sammezzano Castle, Tuscany, Italy
© Reflex Life / Shutterstock

Sammezzano, or the Castle of Sammezzano, is nestled in woodland just outside Florence. The building was completely overhauled between 1853 and 1889 by Marquis Ferdinando Ximenes, who added eclectic details from floor to ceiling. It’s now a stunning example of Moorish Revival architecture, featuring hidden niches, intricate archways, colourful vaulted ceilings and decorative columns. There are plans to restore the all-but-abandoned castle but, for now, it only opens its doors two or three times a year. The waiting list for visits can be found here.

Colonia di Rovegno


Colonia di Rovegno
© sidvics / WikiCommons

Built in 1934 as a summer camp for children in Italy’s Liguria region, the Colony of Rovegno is a long-abandoned concrete complex with a dark past. Construction was funded by the National Fascist Party but, as World War II took hold, antifascists occupied the building and turned it into a prison camp for soldiers and civilians suspected of being collaborators. As hostilities continued, prisoners were executed, their bodies thrown in mass graves or pits in the woods around the colony. Today, the decaying site is a poignant reminder of this period of the country’s history.

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.