Ghost towns from Italy: Roscigno Vecchia

Many Italian ghost town are in Southern Italy, where a hostile nature and a lacking territory maintenance often cause disastrous rockslides, landslides, floods and earthquakes. One of areas most affected is the Salerno province, where the beautiful ghost village of Roscigno Vecchia is. 

Roscigno rises in the Cilento and Vallo di Diano National Park, an UNESCO natural reserve. Thanks to its isolated position beyond the Alburni mountains, the town remained hidden for a long time to tourists and travellers, and thus kept its original urban structure.
Roscigno’s origins date back to the IV century b.C., but only in 1500 did it became an autonomous municipality, taking its name from the local dialectal word "Ruśignuòlo", meaning nightingale. Built on an unstable ground, however, Roscigno was often subject to landslides which, as time went by and buildings kept collapsing, forced the population to abandon the village. Not everyone left, though, and some remained there for the rest of their lives, like miss Dorina, who stayed in her house until the year 2000 when she passed away, last of Roscigno’s residents.
Roscigno is an out-and-out open-sky museum. Taking a walk through the village is like leaping in the past to discover the culture and the soul of seemingly lost rural community. Even today Roscigno’s streets are walked by flocks of sheep, horses, and farmers going to work in the fields, while the population kept a strong bond with its abandoned village, giving it a new life of some sort.
In 1997, the local “Pro Loco” (associations of volunteers seeking to promote the culture, the history and the activities of a particular place) created a museum to maintain the village’s history: it’s the “Museo della civiltà Contadina” (roughly “Rural Culture Museum”), where the relics and photographs of the past farmer community were collected.
We hope that Roscigno, together with the other ghost towns we’ve visited, will manage to keep existing as a model of ancient rural towns and that it will be known as such in all of its splendour.
Here is a passage from the documentary “Roscigno Vecchia e il Cilento dimenticato” (“Roscigno Vecchia and the forgotten Cilento”).

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