This abandoned and never finished “City of Toys” in Consonno was almost Italy’s own Las Vegas
Consonno was a little medieval village with a population of roughly 300 people until 1962, and while being just an hour from Milan, its position in the hills of Brianza was secluded and serene. Residents had made a living by cultivating and gathering leeks, celery, and notably chestnuts from the many trees that flourished on the steep slope.
Italian industrialist and enigmatic entrepreneur Count Mario Bagno, who during the era of the Italian economic boom with his firm was developing highways and airports throughout the national territory, spotted Consonno and had a vision: “City of Toys”. He hoped to attract tourists from Milan, which was only an hour distant.
He envisioned a glamorous resort town reminiscent of Las Vegas, complete with casinos, restaurants, clubs, shopping arcades, and hotels. The overall cost was around 22.5 million lire in 1962, during Italy’s economic boom, and when historical significance frequently slipped behind the push for future trade.
However, in order to execute this proposal, all of the structures in the historic hamlet would have to be demolished. To have a better perspective of the Alps, a neighboring hill was flattened using explosives. The only buildings that survived were the thirteenth-century church, the rectory, and the cemetery. This was not an issue for the locals.
Those who had elected to stay in Consono regarded the count’s efforts favorably, believing that Consono would become a farm holiday hub, bringing jobs and the ability to directly market their products.
Buildings have taken the place of the original dwellings. One of the Count’s most ambitious initiatives would have been to construct a racetrack. In an interview with Swiss television, he stated that he was working on a documentary on Consonno and that the track would be short, but one of the most beautiful in Europe in terms of aesthetics: little but extremely lovely.
The new Consonno had a brief run in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but it wasn’t finished. Even while work was still going on, people came to the paradise of pleasure to be married, see famous artists perform on stage, and enjoy the restaurants and nightlife.
The residents who had previously assisted him in the destruction halted when they understood what was going to happen. Many inhabitants left the area, and the few who remained were forced to live in prefabricated huts. These locals, however, quickly disappeared in the 1970s, along with the inflow of paying customers.
However, while many of the structures were nearly completed, the major road to Consonno was washed away a few years after work began, removing the site’s main customer flow and thus terminating the project. The weird, half-finished hamlet of kitschy structures is now abandoned and collapsing as a result of decades of neglect and graffiti.