Poggioreale: making of a Sicilian ghost town

It’s 1968, October 14, a date engraved in Sicily’s history: a devastating earthquake destroys a wide region of the island between Agrigento, Trapani and Palermo, the valley of the Belice river. The earth trembles when everyone’s still asleep, the old rural buildings of the country towns crumble down killing hundreds.  

Poggioreale is one of many cities razed to the ground: houses turned into ruins in a matter of seconds, at the end of the day the count of the dead in the valley reaches 370 people, over 1000 are heavily wounded, 75000 don’t have a home anymore. It’s like a bomb destroyed everything.

Today Poggioreale is a ghost town: the buildings were never reconstructed, its inhabitants never returned to their homes. Walking across its streets, beside the walls of unstable stone, is surreal. Once a town, Poggioreale is today a non-place, often chosen by photographers as a suggestive set for their shoots. An evocative and majestic reminder of the fury of nature.

pic by italiaperduta

3 thoughts on “Poggioreale: making of a Sicilian ghost town

  1. In the heart of Western Sicily, lays a ghost-town that managed to survive its darkest hour, defying the elements and people s indifference while miraculously remaining standing. In a passionate struggle against time and neglect the small baroque center, rich of art and history but forgotten until yesterday and desecrated, is starting to see new life forty eight years after the earthquake that destroyed most of it. Each new day could be the last for the wounded buildings of ancient Poggioreale whose many artistic sites were left unattended for almost half a century since January 15

  2. Please note that the Earthquake was in January 14,15, and 16 1968 Not October as stated in your article.

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