Set on the western corner of the island of Sicily, about fifteen minutes north of the modern town of Poggioreale, are the ruins of the old town of Poggioreale. Destroyed in the 1968 earthquake, the ruins are now overgrown, open to visitors, and well worth a wander.
My father’s side of the family is originally from Sicily. So, when we got a chance to visit Sicily, of course we went to the village they came from. Modern Poggioreale is a late sixties pre-built town, complete with wide streets and at the time, ‘modern’ architecture. Why? In 1968 an earthquake devastated the old town, past the point of being able to rebuild it. So they moved the town and it’s inhabitants down the hill. The old town, however, is partially still standing and beautifully overgrown with colorful Sicilian wildflowers.
Just a short drive from the new town, it is gated off from driving but can easily be walked (or biked, if you’re the German bikers we found ourselves exploring the ruins with…). It is definitely worth a visit if you’re in that part of Sicily – the ghost town of Poggioreale will no doubt capture your imagination like it did mine.