Do you know the Moustache Man?
Patrick Waldo, 27, moved to the city in 2006, and—like so many before him—worked jobs in media and relegated his creative expression to the nocturnal hours. Such expression had two outlets. The first consisted of improv classes and performances at the UCB Theatre, the city’s proving ground for up-and-coming comedians. The second involved writing the word “moustache” in cursive, with markers, on the upper lips of models in hundreds upon hundreds of subway advertisements.

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Italy's Abandoned Towns Pt 2: Civita di Bagnoreggio

Our next destination was across Umbria and into Lazio.  Originally founded by Etruscans, Cività di Bagnoregio (pop <15), lies on top of a wide spire of land that emerges from the countryside about 2km from its former suburb, Bagnoregio (pop 3,600), and about 60 miles north of Rome.  It is known as the dying town (la città che muore). 

Cività’s demise has been due to an earthquake in the 17th century that led many residents to move to Bagnoregio, eroding land that threatens the stability of houses on the edges and a general attraction to larger nearby cities, such as Rome.   Today it remains as an off the beaten path tourist attraction for those willing to take the journey.

To arrive you must walk about a 1km on a small foot bridge that winds into the 12th century gate.  The buildings with their exposed brick and creeping vines all give the sense of a perfectly preserved time.  It is quite a romantic setup.

Yet, compared to Castelnuovo dei Sabbioni, Cività is not dying.  It may be economically weak or losing its residents in larger population trends towards the city.  It’s soil may even be eroding.  But the town is preserved for what it is as a tourist attraction, come who may. 

Cività is perfectly preserved and post-card ready.  The signs are there, whether it is directions for the nearest trattoria or a summer theater festival.  The town, at least, continues to inspire future generations with its beauty and safe abandon.  Is it dying or is it just another quaint town to see outside of Rome?

I still wonder what makes a town die.  Castelnuovo is falling apart and the flies indicate no sign of life.  No one, aside from the oddity enthusiast, is interested in going.  Cività is preserved in its historical state with romantic ideals of an abandoned Italian town ready for exploring.  Yet with 200 tourists arriving each day, one would hardly be alone. 

And then I think about the locks, designed by Leonardo da Vinci, in Bologna’s intricate canal system that allowed trade to Venice and was functioning from the 15th century into the 1950s.  Today with 60 years neglect, none of the lock mechanisms work despite 500 years of good service and maintenance. 

Italy’s record on preserving its cultural heritage, such as Pompeii, does not bode well for the country that rests its laurels on its own history and cultural achievements. 

Furthermore with minimal management of abandoned spaces amidst all this beauty, it makes sense that an artist group would want to squat and occupy it, such as Bussana Vecchia. 

Will these beautiful and unique places truly die?  Or will they become preserved?  Or will someone come around and try and breathe new life into them?


The first photo is from March 2011, New York City, a scribble on a commercial poster. I kind of liked it, so took that pic. Few days ago, I read on yahoo site that the artist is suing Zara for ripping off his design and using it on T-shirt (on the right). The article can be seen here There is a further article with an interview with him

The interesting question is, is he right?

I mean, can you claim a design to be yours when you leave it around in the city, basically scribbling over other companies property, their posters?

But fair play to the guy, he got arrested and did pay some legal fees so there is a proven track about his authoring.

I think Zara should offer him money and also the Movember charity …

Nina Ricci (Fall-Winter 2014) R-T-W collection at Paris Fashion Week