Funicolare: Abandoned and decayed in Italy
Updated: May 23
In northern Italy, with beautiful lakes and mountain landscapes, I was looking for some abandoned places I could visit. I had one location on the map that I had been very much looking forward to seeing. It would turn out to be one of the highlights of the trip and a pretty long way up winding mountain roads before I reached the very top.
I was looking for an old cable car that had been abandoned for some years.
It was located in a quiet area on the way to the top of a mountain, where a few hotels and restaurants lay side by side. The view from up here was nothing short of stunning, but due to the slightly complicated road to the top, it has been challenging to keep the hotels running after the cable car closed down.
The history of the funicolare
At a citizens' meeting in 1902, the village should have a cable car or funicolare as it is called in Italian.
With the main purpose of getting the tourists from the foot of the mountain, in the easiest way up to hotels and restaurants up the mountain. However, it would take almost five years before the final decision on the project could be made. The construction went fast from here, and less than a year later, in September 1907, the cable car could open.
In addition to tourists, the cable car was used to transport goods more easily up the mountain, instead of using the long road.
The carriage was able to carry a total of 32 seated passengers. 8 in 1st class and 24 in second class, In addition, eight standing passengers in 3rd class. The driver and 3rd class passengers had to change seats, depending on which way the car was to drive up or down the mountain.
On the trip, which took 18 minutes, there was only a station at the beginning and end. The trip was almost 1,500 meters long and had an ascent rate of 66% at its steepest point.
In the 1950s, the cable car was modernized, where both cables, rails and all the mechanics that pulled the carriages were replaced. That made it possible to increase the speed, so you could get the passengers up and down faster. There were about 30,000 passengers a year taking the cable car at its peak, which was only in operation during the summer months. But unfortunately, that number was declining, and in September 1977, the cable car ran its last ride.
When I finally got to the parking lot, I got a surprise because the cable car's neighbour turned out to be a local restaurant, with delicious local food and a great view of the lake at the bottom.
So I got myself a table and ordered my food. In the meantime, while I waited for my food, I could go exploring and see this historic gem.
Both the decayed cable car and the mechanics for pulling the car up the mountain could still be seen, and everything is in super fine condition. Fortunately, at some point, they have chosen to replace the roof at the station so that the car can stay protected from wind and weather. It is always great with such an experience where I feel like I have stepped back in time and hope to come back and see it again.
There are requests from some locals to renovate carriages and tracks, perhaps to create a small historical tourist attraction. But the price for this renovation is so high that the decision hasn't been made.
See a short video I shot here:
Another place where time stands still to that extent is this beautiful abandoned swimming pool in Italy
I have visited it a few times, and I can only be wildly fascinated by it because of the beautiful natural decay.