Tuscany’s Abandoned Asylum for the Criminally Insane

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Image: Romina Margherita A Diaz

The bars across the window in this decaying room tell a story.

Outside the deserted building, darkened branches reach out like claws, making the already spooky scene even more ominous. And inside, it’s worse still. There are cracks in the walls, and the paint is peeling all down the long, creepy corridors; steel bed frames are stripped of all bedding except a few moldering pillows; and broken windowpanes reflect strange shadows. In one room, a bathtub full of mysterious burnt remains lies abandoned.

This derelict institution is a grim place with a grim past. According to Italian photographer Romina Diaz, it once housed prisoners deemed criminally insane.


Image: Romina Margherita A Diaz

Are you sure you want to look inside?

When Diaz and her friend explore the Tuscan countryside, they’re not looking for quaint villas or idyllic landscapes. They’re after eerie abandoned institutions, like this one. “We search for ruins that are not of Roman times,” says Diaz. “Where traces of memory can still be found, where paint chips from all sides as if unmasking a face that should have been looked at long ago. Where testimonies are still written on walls.”

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Image: Romina Margherita A Diaz

This long spooky corridor looks like something straight out of a horror movie.

“Finding a place like this is like reading a book filled with painful poetry,” continues Diaz. “Stories no one cared to listen to, where you know that hope was last to go. Where the sane became insane, because people who thought they knew everything deemed them crazy.” It’s a depressing idea, but then these photographs don’t really impart many happy vibes.

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