Borgo di Leri Cavour
THE ABANDONED VILLA IN ITALY
Borgo di Leri Cavour is an abandoned village hidden between the Italian rice fields. It was once an agricultural estate of the Benso family, today it’s left to nature, vandals, and silence.
The small abandoned farm village has stables, a school, a church and several houses. In fact, it was the country residences of Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, one of the main architects of the Unification of Italy. Managed by Cistercian monks since ancient times, the farm, and village of Leri were purchased by Michele Benso di Cavour, Camillo’s father, in 1822. The Cavour family transformed the property into a state-of-the-art agricultural estate.
Camillo Benso di Cavour
Camillo Benso has written important pages of Italian history. In the mid-nineteenth century he was minister of the Kingdom of Sardinia and twice proclaimed president of the Council of Ministers. He managed some influential political events that led to the formation of the Kingdom of Italy.
The fate of Leri Cavour was marked by decadence. Around the seventies, in the second half of the twentieth century, the inhabitants had to abandon the village as well as the hope of returning. Around the eighties, the huge property passed into the hands of energy company Enel. A power plant was built close to the site. For a decade, Leri Cavour was occupied by the offices of the plant and inhabited by its employees. The villa was abandoned again after work was completed in 1996. The property remained with Enel for many years until the Municipality of Trino bought back the village for a symbolic amount of one thousand euros, leaving the adjacent land to Enel.
Today, its historical value has lost much of its charm. Most of the structures have been looted and damaged. There have been many attempts to recover the site, but no one has actually wanted to return it to its former glory. I visited the abandoned village during my road trip through Switzerland and Italy in 2021.