Wednesday June 21, 2017
San Marco Dei Cavoti is a small hilltop town situated at an elevation of 700 meters. It is located about 90 minutes east of Naples within the mountain community of Fortore. The town was established in the 14th century after a series of earthquakes destroyed nearby settlements. The town comprises steep and narrow pathways and staircases that lead to the medieval centre comprising the ominous Tower of Provenance, and the reconstructed Church of St. Marco Evangelista, which was damaged by an earthquake in 1962. Most of the medieval core has been abandoned, with many buildings in deteriorating condition due to time, weather and seismological activity. Some have shattered windows and doorframes, while others are now just rubble and weeds. Although most are bordered up I find one with an open doorway. Peering into the gloom I try and imagine who lived there. The building is dark and dank and appears very unstable with various cracks lining the low ceiling. The walls are blackened, and weeds are growing through the muddy floor and open windows. Some discarded clothes lay in moldy piles. Someone at sometime has lit a fire in the middle of the room. Given the appalling state I imagine that it has been abandoned for well over 50 years or more – like so many of the others. On the other side of the street is the inappropriately located School of Management Training founded by former Chrysler President Lee Iacocca in 1998. The yellowing building now sits empty, rarely used since it was opened. The instability of the escarpment suggests these buildings will remain vacant as they inch ever so closer towards the precipice.