Home UrbexAbandoned Place The Lion Sleeps Tonight: Exploring the Abandoned Zoo in Turin

The Lion Sleeps Tonight: Exploring the Abandoned Zoo in Turin

17 November 2017

abandoned zoo TurinBack in the days when I lived in Turin, I went along to several parties. One particular one stood out. I don’t remember the name of the venue, only that everybody referred to it as “at the zoo”. From what I can see now by peeking through the rusty gate on Corso Casale, the alternative club where I partied is permanently closed, like all the other shacks dotting the 25,000 sqm area of Turin’s ex-zoo.

Unlike in Rome, warm autumn shades have already taken over Turin. We explored the long-forgotten area of the former zoo, walking on a carpet of crunchy leaves. We could hear the sound of the water rushing through a nearby dam, louder than the noise of the traffic.

abandoned zoo Turin

The air smelled of rotten leaves, with some pungent hints of fire from the nearby buildings that burned last summer, such as the beautiful reptile house.

abandoned zoo Turin

abandoned zoo Turin

Built in 1960 by Architect Venturelli, this building has an unique facade that plays with rhombus shapes like a snakeskin. Wandering inside its gutted belly, I couldn’t help thinking there could still be some snakes hiding among the rubble, waiting in ambush.

abandoned zoo Turin

abandoned zoo Turin abandoned zoo Turin abandoned zoo Turin

Shut down in 1987 after a massive protest by local environmentalists, the former zoo is now even more depressing than an actual zoo. We walked past an empty tank designed to hold sea creatures and a building topped with glass chimneys that was inhabited by felines.

abandoned zoo Turin

If it weren’t for those rusty maps – all pictures, symbols and arrows – directing to ‘the house of the tiger’ or ‘the house of the giraffe’, it would have been pretty difficult to guess that the place used to be a zoo.

abandoned zoo Turin

abandoned zoo Turin

Street Art by Orticanoodles

abandoned zoo Turin

Street Art by James Kalinda + Centin Centina

abandoned zoo Turin

Street Art by Tenente

Finally opened, the fences don’t look prison-like at all and it’s even tricky to spot them as your gaze is constantly attracted by the majestic street art scattered around the abandoned and disused zoo.

abandoned zoo Turin

Street Art by Vine

abandoned zoo Turin

Street Art by Giorgio Bartocci

abandoned zoo Turin

Street Art by Mr. Fijodor

abandoned zoo Turin

Street Art by Kraser Tres

abandoned zoo Turin

Street Art by Alice

Some pieces are spontaneous, while many others are from the ‘Street Art Museum’, a project curated by Border Land in 2012. For that event, well-known artists were invited to paint on the neglected shacks of the abandoned zoo, among which were Seacreative, Alice, Mr. Klevra, James Kalinda, Mr. Fijodor and Giorgio Bartocci.

abandoned zoo Turin

Street Art by Omino71

abandoned zoo Turin

Street Art by Mr. Klevra

abandoned zoo Turin

Street Art by Sam

abandoned zoo Turin

Street Art by Luca Ledda

abandoned zoo Turin

Street Art by UNO

Like the ferocious animals who, outside of their habitats, dozed and padded around their enclosures, the former zoo is a dormant area in a city bustling with people busy with their own lives.

abandoned zoo Turin

Street Art by: Rems182 + James Kalinda + Centin Centina

abandoned zoo Turin

Street Art by Seacreative

abandoned zoo Turin

Street Art by Refresh INK

abandoned zoo Turin

Under those melanchonic plane trees and their reddish shades, I just felt a deep sense of isolation and loneliness.

abandoned zoo Turin

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