Abandoned Medieval Town of Balestrino, Italy

The origins and much of the history of this slow-built settlement in Tuscany remain unknown, constructed in pieces over many centuries. In the 1100s it was owned by the Benedictine abbey of San Pietro dei Monti. Today the beautiful small town-on-the-bluffs features a castle at the top and partially walled city sprawled on the olive-treed hillside around – but all are completely abandoned. Due to seismic instability the residents were moved out decades ago, leaving behind a perfectly preserved but piecemeal museum of modern and medieval history. Still, visit it soon: the next earthquake in the area may be the last this old town ever sees.