Banti Sanatorium

As recounted in the last post, I approached recently at urbex (if you do not know what is read this post: Urbex). I decided to throw me in this world and do immediately an adventure. I did some research on the Internet and saw that there are some interesting places to explore here in Tuscany. One in particular have took me because it’s near to Florence (the city where I live). I’m talking about Banti.

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Although many think is an old insane asylum, actually this complex is the former sanatorium.

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In 1934, the provincial government decided to set up a sanatorium institution in Pratolino, a place that has clean air and many woods.  Plus the distance from the city seems the ideal venue for the treatment of tuberculosis. The work, due to a number of problems are delayed and are concluded in the fall of 1939. The Sanatorium of Pratolino was inaugurated on October 28, 1939. After the end of the war and with the significant reduction of tuberculous disease, the building is transformed into a standard hospital, function that continues to play until 1989. Finished the hospital function, after hosting a community of Kurds and Albanians, the hospital is now completely unused and in parts denotes severe degradation and neglect.

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The Banti Sanatorium is located at the foot of the hill system of Monte Morello and Monte Senario. The 500 meters above sea level and the 8 km away from Florence, allow an enchanting view both on the plain and on the town and on the surrounding hills.

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With my sister and her husband we headed to the former sanatorium Banti. The first impact of course transmits a bit of excitement but also concern (since we’re going to explore an abandoned place where you never know what you can find).

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Not being able to enter by the main gate, we are forced to go into the woods and passing from a side opening. Even before to enter into the structure, you can see the damage caused by vandals. The decline of the complex surprise us. All the windows are broken, there are tiles disintegrated, destroyed televisions and graffiti all over the walls. Some of the graffiti are works of art, others are beautiful representations, but others are written in very bad taste.

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Walking over the rubble we enter into the building and we are close to what once was the acceptance and the waiting room.

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From here we see the stairs with the elevator leading to the upper floors, but in the distance we see also the stairs that go down into the basement.

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I had read the experiences of those who came before me, and one was telling that he had found in the basement of the body of a slaughtered deer.

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We decide to go check and walking in the dark, using a flashlight, indeed we find the remains of animal bones. We return to the surface and we hear some noises. Begin the hypotheses on the origin of the sounds: will be ghosts? Humanoids in search of brains? Or maybe vandals intent on finishing the job begun by others?

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We take courage and go up the stairs. We are faced boys intent on making a new graffiti on the wall. With lighter hearts we continue our exploration.

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We walk along the corridors and enter into the rooms. Finished a floor, we pass to the next. Among broken glasses, broken doors and medical records, we climb to the top floor.

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From this floor leads to the terrace from which you can enjoy the breathtaking view of valleys that surround the complex. Took a little break we begin the descent to go home.

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It certainly has been an exhilarating experience, a kind of adventures that are determined to continue. Clearly with proper respect because they are actions that go against the law and invading a property that is not ours. But I am convinced that if we behave politely (without breaking anything, and without stealing anything) the urbex is not a practice to be condemned. Also because they are numerous shooting opportunities for us photographers but also for those who want to document the state of neglect of old buildings.

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But I want to give you some advice. As mentioned previously, in addition to behave with respect, be careful because you never know who may be present in these places. We, for example going away we found vandals who were throwing glasses from the windows (apparently there are so many stupid who enjoy destroying). So be vigilant.

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Good light to everyone.

Carlo

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