During the second half of the last century, it was one of the most technologically advanced steel plants in Europe.
But back in the 1990s, Bagnoli, Naples, was sold to Chinese and Indian investors, before being dismantled, leaving behind a trail of unemployment and polluted land.
Now after much bureaucratic delay, the two million square meters in the west part of the city of Naples, surrounded by a beautiful backdrop of coastline and green hills, are to be restored to their former glory.
An almost impossible job
The first step is decontaminating the land.
“One of the fundamental strategic aspects from the technical point of view is the subdivision of the land into lots,” said Francesco Floro Flores, the government commissioner for decontamination.
"Practically, it is as if I had taken a difficult, almost impossible, job and subdivided it into many different and easy activities. A driving force has been created and that gives us much hope for the following years."
From an emblem of the end of an industrial era, Bagnoli has become the symbol of regeneration after the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A derelict industrial site that can become the sign of re-birth in this part of Europe.
Pole of attraction
The winning project will return the area to its original function: a place where nature, bio-diversity, agriculture and services to people all contribute to economic development.
"It is a whole range of places within this vegetation and landscape system that give new life to the city, not only in the Bagnoli area, but to the whole city," said Enrico Auletta, Architect at Bargone Associates. "Because it becomes the pole of attraction for a series of important activities."
"This project is just wonderful," says Flores. "We would restore the coastline as it was in the past and there is plenty of green. I was moved when I saw the project, its beauty is breath-taking and let’s hope it can be realised as soon as possible."
By reclaiming this area, the project organisers hope to usher in a new post-pandemic era.