Consonno – Italy’s long-lost toy town
When people say, “Everything will eventually die,” Count Mario Bagno, the entrepreneur who spun Consonna, missed the sign. Consonno, located in the hills of Brianza, not far from Lecco and just an hour from Milan, witnessed the boom of industrialization and was one of the most glamorous tourist destinations. However, at present, this town is just a ghost town.
Bagno entered the quaint town with a vision to transform it into the lovely Italian Las Vegas. In 1960 he bought the town and forced people to move to other destinations. He wanted to turn the city into an elite holiday trip to Milan and also welcome several tourists from all over the world. To achieve this, Bango ravaged the whole town leaving a few houses, a presbytery, a small cemetery and the 13e century San Maurizio church.
Keeping in mind that change is the only constant, Bango has built The Citta Dei Balocchi or ‘City of Toys’ with extraordinary malls, luxurious restaurants and ballrooms, and filled it with the finest architecture from different parts of the world. According to a report, the malls were designed with Arabic arches, a Muslim minaret, Chinese pagodas and a medieval sans castle guarded by warriors. He also built several children’s playgrounds, theme parks, lakes, adventure rides, and a zoo, making it nothing short of Disney land. The city was a collection of random architecture and aesthetic sites. The city had a living influence on Bagno’s architectural quest.
Soon, The Citta Dei Balocchi was teeming with tourists from all over the world. The city’s banners read: “Consonno is the smallest city in the world, but the most beautiful”. While the other read: “At Consonno, the sky is bluer! However, nature had other plans for the city.
The first landslide occurred in 1967. The road that connected Consonno was washed away. Bagno did everything possible to repair the town, but it was damaged beyond repair. In 1981, Bango tries to revive the atmosphere but access to the city becomes difficult. He tried to turn the grand hotel into a retirement home, but in vain.
In another attempt to revive the city, from June 29 to July 1, 2007, a lavish rave party known as Summer Alliance was held in the city. The report suggests that 1,000 people attended the party. Later the town was left with many graffiti and ruined buildings.
However, access to Consonno became possible in 2018 as the roads have been repaired and there are no security guards. Roads leading into town are usually blocked by cars and access to a direct route is difficult. One of the best ways to explore the ghost town is on foot. There is no direct access to the minaret ladder as the building is very old and modernizing which may lead to further damage. Properties are private. The city, however, is still in ruins.