If modern life is a continuous repetition of routine actions carried out in the chaos and bustle of city traffic, Sicily still keeps a slow pace of life, silent and almost motionless.
Sicily ghost towns
The ghost towns of Francavilla (Messina) are seven small villages built in the 1960s. These were meant to accommodate families of farmers who would have had to move from the city to the countryside to live on what the surrounding land offered, so as to start a rural life far from any close urban centre.
Sicilian ghost towns, and why the villages were abandoned
At that time, the lack of electricity and running water discouraged farmers to inhabit the villages, so after a brief attempt of many families who reluctantly had moved from the town of Francavilla to the villages, the hamlets remained empty and unused. Since then, only a few people know about the ruins of these lifeless architectures that still possess the soul of those who, for a short time, inhabited them.
Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni was so impressed by the beauty of the place, and the story behind the villages, that he eventually decided to shoot a scene from the film ‘The Adventure’ in one of the abandoned Sicilian villages.
For lovers of unusual and unfamiliar places, this is an adventure not to be missed; nature lovers can also enjoy the view of Mount Etna from the mystic silence of the little trodden streets of the villages.
How to find the ghost town
Those who decide to spend a holiday in Sicily cannot miss the opportunity to make an excursion to Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano on the European continent.
There are several tours to get to the central crater, but only during the season when the volcano rests and there are no eruptions forecasted. Finding the ghost villages is more difficult, but not impossible. There is no guide, and DIY tourism is a must; a zest for exploration is necessary for the success of the mission.
Before leaving, it is good to have a map of the area, and renting a car is the cheapest way to travel, keeping you independent from other people and planned tours. The best way to reach the villages is to find the shortest route to the town of Francavilla (Messina); the villages are just a 30 minute drive from there.
Once you get to the town centre of Francavilla, you can stop in one of the many shops that sell homemade bread and local delicatessens of excellent quality. Wine is also a delightful taste of rural life, but be careful not to overdo it, you still have to drive to your destination!
A panoramic road and…cows!
Going North from Francavilla, a panoramic road with breathtaking views of the valley below leads to the villages. It is not difficult to meet shepherds and cows along the way; some might even get close to you, but there is nothing to fear, they are harmless and quite friendly.
An unusual location
If you are looking for an unusual journey, you cannot miss the opportunity to be one of the few to have found and seen the Schisina ghost villages. If touristic places bore you, and you have a passion for Italian post-war architecture, this is the ideal trip for you, a mixture of culture and nature.
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