When people say, “Everything will die eventually,” Count Mario Bagno, the entrepreneur who gave Consonna a spin, missed the sign. Consonno, located in the hills of Brianza, not far from Lecco and just an hour away from Milan, witnessed the boom of industrialisation and enjoyed the spot of one of the glamourous tourist destinations. However, at present, this city is just a ghost town.
Bagno entered the quaint town with a vision to convert it into ravishing Italy’s Las Vegas. In 1960, he bought the town and forced people to relocate to other destinations. He wanted to convert the town into Milan’s elite vacation trip and also welcome several tourists from across the globe. In order to achieve that, Bango ravaged the entire town leaving a few houses, a rectory, a small cemetery and the 13th century San Maurizio church.
Keeping in mind that change’s the only constant, Bango built La Citta Dei Balocchi or ‘City of Toys’ with extraordinary shopping malls, luxurious restaurants, and ballrooms, and filled it with the finest architecture from different parts of the world. As per a report, the shopping malls were designed with Arabic arches, Muslim minaret, Chinese pagodas and a sans medieval castle guarded by warriors. He also built several playgrounds for children, theme-based parks, lakes, adventure rides, and a zoo – making it nothing less than a Disney land. The city was a collection of random architecture and aesthetically pleasing sights. The town was a living influence on Bagno’s architectural pursuit.
Soon, La Citta Dei Balocchi was bustling with tourists from all across the world. The banners of the town read, ‘Consonno is the smallest town in the world, but the most beautiful’. While the other one read, ‘In Consonno, the skies are more blue!’ However, nature had some other plans for the town.
The first landslide took place in 1967. The road that connected Consonno got washed away. Bagno went way out of his way to mend the town but it was damaged beyond repairs. In 1981, Bango tried to revive the vibe but accessing the town became difficult. He tried converting the grand hotel into a retirement home but in vain.
In another attempt to revive the town, from 29 June to 1 July 2007, a lavish rave party known as Summer Alliance took place in the town. The report suggests 1,000 people took part in the party. Later, the town was left with galore graffiti and ruined buildings.
However, access to enter Consonno became possible in 2018 as the roads were mended and there aren’t any security guards. The roads leading to the city are usually blocked by cars and accessing a direct route is difficult. One of the best ways to explore the ghost town is by walking. There is no direct access to the minaret ladder as the building is very old and modernising that can lead to further damage. The properties are private. The city is, however, still in shambles.