buona fortuna documents italian chapels abandoned after the irpinia earthquake
all images courtesy of jorge manes rubio





‘buona fortuna’ is an ongoing project by jorge mañes rubio and gianluca tesauro, which began as a series of photographs taken in the summer of 2013 in salerno, italy, where several villages were destroyed after the irpinia’s earthquake in 1980. despite its ancient history, these sites have remained completely abandoned since evacuation and have fallen into total oblivion. these places have not only been deserted, but also been recently looted of their goods. many attempts to rebuild some of these villages have been made, but a lack of funding and corruption have proved fatal for these locations. the images document spaces that many have never seen before, symbolically reopening them to the public.  

jorge manes rubio buona fortunaabandoned chapels have been looted, leaving both a physical and spiritual void at the site




incredible chapels — some dating back to several centuries ago — can be found hidden amongst isolated villages on top of the mountains of the ‘parco nazionale del cilento’. most churches and chapels had been bricked up, waiting in vein for reconstruction. unfortunately, the baracades didn’t keep looters away and many of the precious relics have been stolen. given the great importance that these religious symbols have in southern italy, the absence of them leave behind a significant cultural void hard to replace. yet despite their poor condition, these places reveal themselves in all their glory.

jorge manes rubio buona fortunadespite their poor condition, the chapels reveal themselves in a state of glory




-these photographic series attempt to capture the great beauty and fragility of a heritage that is inevitably doomed to disappear.’ manes describes ‘buona fortuna is not asking for reconstruction nor restoration, but to preserve them as what they are today: truly works of art. the project will culminate in a collaboration with local craftsmen, creating a series of new artworks and installations that will replace these stolen icons with new fictional symbols, inspired by southern italian folklore. we call this project buona fortuna (good luck in italian), and it will reimagine these abandoned places as new cultural scenarios for both locals and visitors. 

jorge manes rubio buona fortunathe churches have been abandoned since the earthquake in 1980

jorge manes rubio buona fortunathe images demonstrate how the chapels have waited in vein for restoration 

jorge manes rubio buona fortunamany relics, figures and paintings have been stolen from the ancient sites 

jorge manes rubio buona fortunaa literal and symbolic void is left in the abandoned places 

jorge manes rubio buona fortunacolors peel away from the wall, bearing the mark of tragedy and isolation 

jorge manes rubio buona fortunathe abandoned village, photographed from the sky