Colonia di Rovegno – Pietranera, Italy - Atlas Obscura
Join us on an Atlas Obscura Trip in 2019 »

Pietranera, Italy

Colonia di Rovegno

The now-abandoned Fascist summer colony served a dark purpose during World War II. 

A quick, scenic trek down a road from Rovegno, Italy will take you to a decaying, abandoned Fascist mansion. La Colonia di Rovegno (the Colony of Rovegno) was built as a summer camp for impoverished children in 1934, though the property soon went on to serve much darker purposes.

During the later years of World War II, the estate was transformed into a prison complex by an anti-Fascist faction. Displaced civilians and captured soldiers were tortured and killed, their bodies either dumped in unmarked graves or left to rot among the dirt and leaves covering the forest floor. This brutal era in the property’s history earned it the nickname “the colony of horrors.”

After the war, the colony was again used for its initial purpose as a children’s camp until it was shuttered in the late 1960s. Though the rooftop terrace was briefly used as an astronomical observatory in the ‘90s, the main building and surrounding structures have been decaying and plagued by vandalism. The outside area hosts the occasional unauthorized rave party.

Despite its current state and horrific wartime use, it’s still a remarkable example of historical Fascist architecture. The interior still lets you imagine what life in the summer colony must have been like.

Know Before You Go

Start from Rovegno (province of Genoa) along local road SP83 by car, bicycle, or on foot, and enjoy the scenery.

The surrounding woods feature some marshland areas (so beware if you venture out there) and are still quite beloved by mushroom and chestnut hunters, photography lovers (for the lovely landscape), and Airsoft fans. If you visit the colony, please respect the environment around it and be careful as the building doesn't meet modern safety standards.