13 October 2009
Un Bella Casa?
A beautiful stone villa perched on a hillside surrounded by olive trees and grape vines makes for a picture perfect Italian home. This however is not the reality for the majority of housing in Italy post World War II. That easy to use building product, concrete that was so widely used by the Romans, is frequently the preferred building material for new residential and commercial construction. Even newer houses that look like they are built of stone may have a concrete skeleton beneath that charming stone or brick façade.
In some parts of Italy you will find unfinished shells of houses dotting the landscape, many times obviously abandoned for many years. These unsightly skeletons will be an eyesore to those who are expecting an idyllic Italian view and there are regions and provinces where they proliferate more than others.
Just as any society that wants cheaper, newer and more convenient housing, so do Italians, and for many building with concrete can make this possible. There are areas of Italy where preservation of old houses and architectural styles is driven by the market selling to foreigners, those who want the view of Italy taken from movies and magazines. Unfortunately for many financially struggling Italians this is not a reality.