This church was in far better condition, as authorities excavated it to see if they could find centuries-old relics. They didn't find anything, and the church has now been closed for decades. Mañes Rubio hopes to open the space as a deconsecrated cultural venue.

If your home was destroyed, what would you do? Chances are, you’d rebuild, perhaps bigger and better than before. But in Salerno, in the south of Italy, tucked deep in the Cilento Natural Park, several villages remain completely abandoned after a series of earthquakes and landslides in the 1980s and ’90s.

Spanish photographer Jorge Mañes Rubio, a TED Fellow, and partner Gianluca Tesauro have documented these abandoned villages as a way to pay homage to a culture that has all but vanished. Says Mañes Rubio, “a number of attempts to rebuild some of these villages have been made, but the lack of funding, corruption, and an apparent disregard for their own heritage have proven fatal.” He’s now working on a project to replace many of the icons and artworks stolen from these villages with new pieces that give a fresh spin on local lore. Here, take a look at some of the images from a project the pair call “Buona Fortuna” — “Good Luck.”

Photographs courtesy of  Jorge Mañes Rubio.

About Emily Pidgeon

Emily Pidgeon is a person, not a pigeon. As TED's design project manager, she thinks about how images can communicate ideas.

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Gallery, TED Fellows

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