It began with dense fog. (Part 2)

(Click here to read part 1.)

The name of the picnic area – Musolino – reminded me too much of Italy’s erstwhile dictator, but we had just left the zone of the fog, and after the disappointment at the peak of Mount Dinnammare we were happy for any opportunity to stretch our legs and go for a walk in the forest.

We left the car behind and took the first path that we saw. No destination. Dense forest, birds, a cloudy day, not exactly warm, trees that had fallen over, a little wilderness, and all of this only a few minutes away from Messina. Good that the mountain is so steep, otherwise it would be completely built over already.

But then I spot something through the bushes. What is this, in the middle of the thicket?

house in jungle

A house, but a deserted one. I can’t detect any path that would lead to the house, so it must have been left a few years ago already. Windows and doors are open. I am filled with curiosity, but I don’t even try to convince my mother and my sister that a closer inspection of this mysterious home is a good idea.

Fortunately, as it shall turn out soon.

Because after another 15-minute march we find more relics of a bygone civilization. These are not only more accessible, they are directly next to the path, but they are also considerably more interesting than a simple residential building.


A chapel. Nothing much left of the interior decoration. Only a simple wooden cross and two frames which once adorned valuable icons. In symmetry they stand behind the altar, like a signal to posterity.

chapel2We are getting curios. What used to be here? Why isn’t it anymore? What else are we going to find? There are no signs, no plaques, no hints, nothing. It’s not marked on the map.

Then, this appears.

burg1Now I don’t have to convince anyone. We are all on fire. We have to go over there! We find a very large, not too old building, ornamented with merlons and classical arches. With its terraces, its large windows and the pond, it appears to me like it used to be a restaurant.

But now everything is empty, destroyed, left behind.


burg3burg4When windows and doors stand open like this, one is almost compelled to accept the invitation thus expressed. To be on the safe side, we listen attentively for a while. Nothing. No voices, no other sounds, no chainsaws.

We step inside. Carefully, we move through the long corridors and along the crumbly stairs into the higher levels, floor by floor.

burg inside 1burg inside 2burg inside 3

Except for a few graffiti, which were obviously added later, we find no written or other indicators of the former use or the year of construction, let alone the story of this village, which mainly consisted of a chapel and this pompous building.

burg inside 4The internet allows me to have hope that someone from Messina will come forward who is able to shed light on the story behind these ruins. – UPDATE: My Sicilian landlord, who showed me Mount Dinnammare in the first place, was really quick in answering my question. Please see Alessio’s detailed comment below.

(Zur deutschen Version.)

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Italy, Photography, Sicily, Travel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to It began with dense fog. (Part 2)

  1. Pingback: It began with dense fog. (Part 1) | The Happy Hermit

  2. Pingback: Es begann mit dichtem Nebel. (Teil 2) | Der reisende Reporter

  3. vidavidav says:

    No chainsaws :D :D :D looks like it used to be a very beautiful building! With my Lithuanian property ownership genes (we are all like that hahahahahaha) it should be forbidden to have adventures like that cause I would be tempted to settle in in such a beautiful building and rebuild it!… until I see another one :D

    • Yes, it still looked very grand. Oh, and the views over the valley and the forests!

      I always think: If I can turn up with my sleeping bag and spend a night there, why should I buy it? :-)

    • vidavidav says:

      I guess I have a decoration obsession :) and such a potentially beautiful house is provoking it :)

    • It also gets me dreaming, about having a large library again and sitting on the balcony with a cigar. But then I think of all the expenses, and I take my cigar and a book to the summit of a mountain instead.

    • vidavidav says:

      Buy you a kindle and a portable shelf then ;) :-D yes costs are the making us stick to that once a dream library for ever…

    • I don’t believe in electronic books.

      A library is not really expensive, I had one in Germany, but it’s just impracticable to carry it around the world. So now I always give away books whenever I move.

  4. Alessio says:

    Andreas, if you were one of my boy-scouts, I would award you an explorer badge! :)

    You bumped into Villa Rodriquez, a villa built in the first decade of 20th century and owned by the Rodriquez family, one of the richest in Messina, founders of a shipyard who still holds their family name and builders of the first hydrofoils that connected Sicily and Calabria.
    The property is made up of the villa, the chapel, the domestic workers residence, the stable and a pool (someone says an artificial lake) that they say is shaped as the keel of an hydrofoil, I can’t really tell if this is true since, as it is always full of leaves, as you can see in the last picture in this page:
    They say that Leopoldo Rodriquez wanted a residence in this remote place because he was so overwhelmed by city life (but honestly, I really can’t imagine a frantic life in Messina back in 1900-1905) that he needed a place where no one could annoy him. Actually, I think that the house was not even so quiet or empty back in the days, imagine how many domestic workers were needed to keep everything in place!

    It is one of my favourite places on the hills near Messina, I bring there almost everybody to visit it. Unfortunately, in only one day together, I had to leave it out of our tour, but I am extremely happy that you found it, and if you will ever come back to Messina, I promise I will show you another abandoned villa! ;)

    This is the location of the estate:,15.4822394,290m

    • Well, I used to be a scout when I was a teenager, and luckily I have never lost the adventure/exploration spirit. But if I could, I would award you a PhD in Sicilian history. – To be honest, when I put up the question, I already had you and your vast knowledge in mind.

      Thank you for this very detailed explanation! I remember the pool now, as well.
      I am surprised how old the villa is. It still looks in quite good shape overall and the electric light switches and fire alarms led me to believe that it must have been used until not too long ago.
      Do you know when and why it was left?

      But I understand signor Rodriquez: At the time he had the villa built, almost nobody had a car, so it would have taken people a few hours to ride or walk up from the city to visit him. That’s almost a guarantee for being left alone. With a box of cigars and a library and the views over the valley from the terrace, this is a perfect place.

      And thank you very much again for bringing me to Dinnammare in the first place!

    • Alessio says:

      I don’t really know at what time and why it was abandoned, but a friend of mine says he visited it in 2001 and conditions were not bad at all, so I think it must have gone through some renovation in 1980s or ’90s.

  5. becstock says:

    wow thats sad to see it look like that but it is so cool

  6. Jim says:

    There were no ghosts? No special feeling on entry? I would love to restore this property, if they gave it to me for free, of course and no property taxes for the next 50 years.

  7. Dany Sobeida says:

    Una narración muy estimulante del ascenso! Esas puertas en la capilla…y la residencia Rodriguez, las personas construyen junto a sus historias y luego las dejan en el pasado.

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