This extravagant castle was originally built in 1605 to a more simple design. During the 19th century it underwent an Arabian style makeover which took 40 years to reach completion. No attention was spared to detail, with each and every one of the 365 rooms given its own identity. During the second world war it was looted by the Germans. After that it became a luxury hotel until it closed it's doors in 1990. Since then various plans have fallen through and a very recent sale attempt was upheld by Italian courts so its future remains unknown.
I visited here with @Miss.Anthrope, a place we'd both had firmly at the top of our wish lists for some time. We could've spent hours in here but decided to air on the side of caution and keep our visit relatively short as we'd been asked to leave the area by security the day before. I guess it was pretty obvious what we were up to with camera bags and tripods peeking over the fence and we'd been spotted on cctv. On our return we made sure not to make the same mistake as they are definitely keeping an eye on the place. Derelict buildings don't come much more stunning than this.
Villa Sbertoli was built in the early 1800s by wealthy merchant Agostino Sbertoli. According to some sources he decided to turn the villa into a psychiatric hospital because he had a disabled son, whom he tried to cure all his life. On his death bed he decided to devote all his possessions to a charity for the mentally ill, even their, so that his son could feel at home. It was inaugurated as a psychiatric hospital in 1868.
During World War II it was used by the Nazis to hold prisoners but afterwards was sold to the province and used as a psychiatric hospital again. In 1978 "Law Basaglia" (a reform of the Italian psychiatric system) was passed and the hospital was forced to close. By 1990 it was abandoned completely.
Really liked it in here, the main hall is stunning and there are a few medical rooms upstairs. Perhaps a bit staged in one or two of them but interesting all the same. The building next door had some nice bits as well. Unfortunately we got off to a bad start by bumping into Jonny the security guard. He seemed like a really nice guy but it was difficult to communicate with him. Luckily @Miss.Anthropewas on hand with her mystical ability to understand everything a foreigner says in a language she doesn't speak. He wanted 20 Euros off each of us to let us inside, and that's why he was being so nice. Now I'm not really into paying for explores so we told him we had no money on us. He didn't like this predicament much so we eventually reached a settlement of 5 Euros for the both of us. A sum we could happily live with!
Nice one bruvva
At first glance, the huge psychiatry campus with its historical buildings reminds you of certain pieces of literature or films. The early morning haze lies over the hospital grounds and really adds to that somewhat uncanny atmosphere. It´s still pretty early in the morning. Thus, we almost don´t meet any people. A situation, that changed completely on our way back, when we had to keep as insconspicious as possible among patients, nursing stuff and "normal" visitors. Yet, everything´s still pretty calm and we can enjoy the morning silence as we walk across the park-like grounds of the hospital, walking on paths which are bordered by beautiful flowers. Here and there, beautiful buildings appear. Everything occurs to be peaceful and neat. Almost a place for your well-being, at least form the perspective of a non-patient. Not before we pass by a building, fenced up by thick bars, reality sets in. As if by command, we can suddenly hear screams coming out of the building.
The hospital is largely still active. Only a small part has been disused out of unknown reasons. It seems like time´s been standing still here for a pretty long time. Old benches would´ve been disappeared in a jungle-like thicket entirely, if it wasn´t for their bright red colours. Across an architectural more than beautiful patio we enter the building in front of us. Inside, particularly striking are the numerous toys scattred around the building. What exact purpose the old building served remains a mystery.
Château D’ah was constructed at some point in the mid-nineteenth century. For many years, it was owned by an aristocratic family, before it became, for a short time at least, a small apostolic school (part of the Apostolic Church). The school closed shortly after the outbreak of World War Two, leaving the house abandoned for a period of time. Somehow, it survived the heavy bombardment of the German invasion, while the town around it crumbled. It is not known who purchased or occupied the château after the war ended.
By the later 1950s, the château was purchased by Rémy Magermans, a famous printer and photographer. Magermans founded his company in the late 1940s and moved into the property as his business expanded. As the château comprised a large amount of land, he was able to construct a printing workshop next door to the manor. Magermans owned the building until he passed away in 2009. Since becoming vacant, many people, including photographers, artists and vandals, have visited the site and it has gradually deteriorated.
Our Version of Events
After a good session in Brussels, sampling the fine beer of Belgium, we set off in the direction of Luxembourg. Our grand aim was to find an incredibly large underground fortress, but since that entailed a fair bit of driving we figured we might as well check out a few abandoned châteaus along the way. Château D’ah took our fancy because we’d seen some shots of the main downstairs corridor and a very striking staircase. In hindsight, though, if we’d known how fucked the place was going to be, we probably would have given this place a miss and checked out a couple of other locations we had on our list.
In terms of gaining access to the site, it was incredibly easy. Vandals have seen to it that anyone can waltz inside these days. Once inside then, we were initially very disappointed. All of the decorative wall paper was ruined, the staircase has been trashed and is rapidly becoming heavily decayed, and everything else around us has been smashed to pieces. Upstairs, things were even worse. Our advice to anyone planning a visit here would be to skip these floors. Other than the reasonably good view from the roof, it’s a complete waste of time going up there. However, there was one really good part to this explore, and it was the reason we decided to post the report.
To be perfectly honest, we stumbled across the basement by accident. It turns out that a group of sleep-deprived explorers with severe hangovers aren’t the most observant, so it’s a wonder one of us actually discovered it. Anyway, after noticing it we staggered our way down the stone steps to the bottom. Having only expected to find one room down there, we were pleasantly surprised that there were several rooms and a strange brick corridor. In the end, we spent longer down there than the château itself. We found it was quite photogenic.
Explored with Ford Mayhem, MKD, Rizla Rider, The Hurricane and Husky.