Abandoned by God?

Italian churches turned into banks, bars, shops

italy-churchesWith the Italian economy crippled by recession, more and more churches are being deconsecrated and sold to private buyers, who repurpose these former houses of God into banks, theaters, night clubs and even car repair shops.

Several thousand churches have recently found new owners, indicating the hard times experienced by the Catholic Church and Italy’s general switch towards secularity.

“I loved all of them. I like places, which have irony in them. And that was the feeling I experienced in all of those churches,” says local photographer, Andrea Di Martino, who visited and took pictures of 70 former churches.

Madonna della Neve church in Como was among the first such churches he visited, inspiring the whole project.

It was deconsecrated in the late 1950s and turned into a successful car repair shop by the building’s new owners.

“When I left it, I realized that I want to learn what’s happened to the rest of those churches,” the photographer said.

Churches in Italy are deconsecrated when the condition of the building makes it dangerous, or when attendance drastically decreases. read more