This article originally appeared on VICE Italy.
Taking a smoke break and exchanging unspeakable confessions with strangers you’ll never see again. Shouting into other people’s ears as you queue up for a drink. Promising to never get this drunk again, only to forget all about it by the next weekend. Ah, the good ol’ days of clubbing: experiences that were inaccessible for most of us over the last two years of the pandemic or came with a very high risk.
All these bittersweet feelings of nostalgia are perfectly encapsulated in the pictures from the photo book DISCO MUTE - Le Discoteche Abbandonate d'Italia (“Muted Discos: Italy’s Abandoned Clubs”), which looks back at the golden age of Italian discotheques. The book features pictures taken by different photographers united by a common passion for urban exploration – the hobby and art form of visiting abandoned structures to capture the essence of times gone by.
The book also retells the stories of the spots that made history in the Italian club scene. Places like the Cocoricò on the Italian riviera, ranked one of the best dance venues in the world in 2015; or the Babaloo, a stunning club built on an artificial lake near the beachside town of Porto Recanati on Italy’s northeastern coast; or smaller clubs which enjoyed incredible success in the 80s and 90s, like the Tana, the Domina and the Majorca.
Some of these clubs went down due to drugs or financial problems, others because they peaked in the heydays of Italian clubbing, before the 2010s. Now they’re all still there, lying in ruins, their walls forever ringing with these echoes of euphoria.
"Do you remember what it was like when you happened to see a club in daylight?” wrote the book editors Alessandro Tesei and Davide Calloni. “The feeling is more or less the same.”
Scroll down to see more pictures from the book: