The Contemporary Remains of Abandoned European Villas

The sublime beauty of time.

Italian photographer Nicola Bertellotti documents the contemporary remains of great European villas. Steeped in Romantic conceptions of the transient nature of beauty, Bertellotti’s project, shown in galleries across the world and compiled in a volume entitled Fenomenologia della fine, captures the nostalgia, sublimity, and precarious auras that emanate from crumbling structures. Less about architecture and the past than time, perception, and the present, the photography reminds us that no matter how grand the present is, everything we create is destined to fade. The present is a letter to the future, and the contents of that letter are always co-authored by the ravages of the environment. Taken in natural light, these photographs are heavy with time and longing, summoning up the grand ghosts of the past in peeling plaster and shattered glass.


The remains of a manor in Tuscany.

The glory of the painted vaulted ceilings remains in this abandoned castle in Piedmont.

Objects left behind give hints at past lives in this villa in Tuscany.

New green inhabitants move into a villa in Friuli Venezia Giulia.