Rovaiolo Vecchio is an ancient village in the mountains in the province of Pavia, halfway between Milan and the sea. Or at least it was. Before the construction of highways and railways, the road that passes through the town was of primary importance for the importing of salt to population centers in the Po Valley.
One day in 1960, local officials ordered the immediate evacuation of the whole village: The mountain was sliding down onto it. Within a few hours, all the inhabitants were packing up their belongings and leaving their homes for temporary housing. The landslide never happened, and in a short time, the village was rebuilt on the other side of the river. Here’s where the irony comes in. The new village was destroyed by a landslide, and the old one left untouched.
Today, Rovaiolo Vecchio lives in the same limbo it has since as the day it was abandoned. On tables in the houses, there are still empty glasses, and unopened bottles of wine lie at the entrance of a cellar. Many projects have been proposed to bring people back to the town, or populate it with artists, but nothing has happened yet, so there is still plenty of time to enjoy its unique atmosphere.
Know Before You Go
To reach the village, you will need to walk less than half an hour, after parking on road 186, next to the crossing with road to Colombaie.
While in the village, please just look around and respect the place, don’t remove anything.