Ruins of Poggioreale – Poggioreale, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Ruins of Poggioreale

Poggioreale, Italy

This entire town moved to a safe location after it was devastated by an earthquake, but the remains of the original town are still around. 


There are currently two cities of Poggioreale in Italy:  one a functioning community, and another, a rotting ghost town left over from an earthquake that forced everybody out. 

A series of massive earthquakes rocked the island of Sicily in 1968, resulting in the deaths of over 200 people, injuring hundreds more, and leaving thousands without a home. One of the areas hardest hit was the small town of Poggioreale. A number of towns were devastated, and evacuated, but Poggioreale was one of the ones that was completely abandoned. However, neither the community nor the village itself disappeared. What remained of the original Poggioreale was simply left in place, as most of the buildings were now unstable and crumbling, and the entire vilage restarted itself at a safe distance a few kilometers away. 

Even today, the remains of old Poggioreale are still standing, such as they ever have since being destabilized by the earthquake. The haunting streets are filled with rubble and the remaining windows are empty and dead. The remains of the village look like they were the victims of a war or a zombie apocalypse more than of an earthquake.

The eerie ruins can still be visited today, and the local community seems committed to making sure that what remains of the old village does not disappear completely. It might not be the most convenient place in Italy to visit, but it is definitely one of the most hauntingly post-apocalyptic.