Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Not so lovely now

This is the view from our terrace of Paliano, a nice little town with a pretty medieval centre and narrow cobbled streets leading to the church and square at the top.  

However this year our view has changed and not in a good way.  The large white mass you can see central beyond the town is a new distribution centre for Amazon.  The whole area we look into is the Sacco valley, once home to heavy industry, infamous for corrupt dealings and major industrial pollution.  Now the factories mostly lie empty though the pollution from previous illegal waste dumping and chemical plants up river continues. 
Amazon are reputed to be bringing 500 much needed jobs to the area, most I imagine low skilled, part time ones, nonetheless welcome in a country where youth unemployment runs at almost 30%.  There will be more traffic on the roads, currently the quiet local one is being upgraded with a large new roundabout to access the site.  The warehouse is very close to the autostrada but then so are most locations in the valley.    
I don’t usually discuss politics here, I am a guest, but I think it’s a shame to have used a greenfield site, albeit beside a massive and ugly landfill site, when there are so many existing industrial areas going to waste.  Of course it all boils down to money, Amazon don’t want the cost or hassle of clearing and possibly decontaminating an existing site. They want a quick easy build and certainly in the way of budget supermarkets and Scandi hyper furniture stores they want to whack up a basic functioning building that contributes nothing to the vernacular architecture.
The construction work isn’t finished yet, we can hope that there will be some creative landscaping to hide this monstrosity.  We can hope for that in the same way we hope Amazon might pay some taxes here, I don’t hold out much hope for either.  Bear this in mind next time you are tempted order from Amazon, something I rarely do and will be reminded not to every time I look at the view.


  1. Shame about the blot on the landscape. The same company have just built a huge depot here, too, on the outskirts of Darlington. It's so big, I swear you could see it with your eyes closed. Our own council is allowing lots of building on green spaces, most of it very close by, most of it houses people don't want/can't afford to buy. Then there are the skyscrapers complete with helipad for the centre of Boro.

  2. It is, as you say, in the end all down to money. Also there is this eternaL fight between sites like this being used and that fact that there is so much youth unemployment. But I agree it is so sad when there are so many industrial sites still empty and becoming eyesores. 'Twas ever thus I suspect.

  3. Do the locals also see it as an eyesore? Sometimes people take their surrounding for granted and don't see things in the same way.
    When we had our little house in the village, our neighbour had an enormous white gas tank parked on her back terrace. From the ramparts of the château with its lovely view over the rooftops of the pretty medieval village, the one thing that stood out was her gas tank! Had it been ours, we would have disguised it somehow, grown bushes in front of it, or built a bamboo screen around it. I have to chuckle sometimes about how many thousands of photos taken by tourists from all around the world have Mme André's gas tank shining out from the centre!
    I agree with you about Amazon, feeding off people's need for "stuff", making a few people very rich while barely paying enough to make a living. One of the many unwelcome outcomes of the internet.