In my recent trip to Italy, I learned that “The Old Houses” might be in jeopardy. The Italian government, being as hurting as they are, are trying to pass extra taxes on land and structures, meaning the wonderful old abandoned houses that I love and cherish would then become a liability and expensive to keep standing. So as soon as this tax goes into effect, hundreds of thousands of these old gems (in my eyes) would be knocked down to avoid the taxation.
This was the house in which my father was raised, along with his 6 brothers and sisters. He showed me where he slept, where he ate, and which rooms the German soldiers occupied during WWII.
Perhaps in my own naivete I thought the Italians left them standing for the same reason I would – a memory of the past, a keeping of tradition, a relic of beauty, texture and antiquity.
But in reality, i suppose they have left them standing just because there was no real reason to knock them down. i.e. #1: didn’t cost them anything, #2: could use them for storage, and #3: not living in a litigious society, weren’t too concerned about the dangers of the derelict structures.
I guess now I understand why we don’t find many derelict abandoned houses just left to crumble on everyone’s land every 5 paces in America – property tax would apply.
This is the childhood home of Lina Molicone, a relative of mine. Her mother had just passed away and she was left with sorting through the memories and the rubble.
So while I have been compiling photographs of these old Italian houses for decades, now the fleshing out of this personal project has become more urgent. Now there is a timeline. Now there is a foreseeable end to these previously ‘patient’ subjects of mine.
This childhood home of Concetta and Alessandro D’Angelis was not only built by their grandfather brick by brick. The bricks themselves were each crafted by hand from their grandfather, from the sand of the nearby river.