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They were given the opportunity to take classes at an on-site sale and trade school; their lunchtime hours would be filled with speeches or performances from visiting dignitaries actors, musicians, poets ; and they would receive a substantial pension upon retirement. They would be housed, if they liked, in Olivetti-constructed modern homes and apartments. Their children would receive free day care, and expecting mothers would be granted 10 months maternity leave.

July would be a time of holiday, so that workers with homes in the surrounding countryside could tend to small farms — it was important to the company that workers not feel a division between city and country. It would be a model for the nation, and for the world. All of this was the initiative of Adriano Olivetti, who had inherited the company from his father, Camillo, who founded it in the early 20th century. Adriano, born in , was a businessman of unusually wide learning, with strong inclinations toward humanism. He was a self-taught student of city planning, and he read extensively the architectural and urbanist literature of the day.


He hired famous designers to work on his products, making some of them, such as the Lettera 22 typewriter and the Elea mainframe computer, into icons of design. Olivetti was a devout Christian and a socialist, but he was distant from the two main political parties, the Christian Democrats and the Communists, that occupied these poles in midcentury Italy. Though it was a failure, his ideas of increased welfare provision became more common and acceptable in Italian politics. In America, company towns first arose as a result of low-wage workers lacking both rights and basic amenities like transportation.

This era of company towns in America was effectively ushered out by modernity, as labor rights increased thanks to New Deal domestic policies — and also because, in some instances, workers began striking when employers attempted to evict them from company housing. The rise of mass transport also made proximity to the workplace less of an essential need.

In Europe, however, the company town had its roots in the model estates of the Victorian era, where wealthy landowners housed workers and caretakers in paltry accommodations. At the dawn of the 20th century, and in a rapidly industrializing Italy especially, the fortunes of various small towns were, and for the most part remain, inextricably linked to private companies. The main draw of Rosignano Solvay, established in in southern Tuscany, for instance, is its beautiful white sand beaches, the blanching of the sand a result of toxic chemical waste from the still-operational Solvay plant, which gave the town its name.

Colleferro, a dreary town just outside of Rome built around a munitions factory that closed in , has been plagued for the last 70 years by occasional explosions. But many of the best-known towns that orbit around a single industry or company can seem decidedly un-Italian: There is no ancient architecture or grand cultural tradition because much of what remains of their history is contained almost exclusively within the 20th century.

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The people who still live in these towns are often descendants of the original company workers that inhabited them, even though the company has long since packed up and left. In , Adriano died, and the company — already saddled with its ill-advised acquisition of the American typewriter company Underwood — went into a crisis. Twenty-eight years later, Carlo De Benedetti, a figure imbued with the ethos of a corporate raider, began to streamline Olivetti, shedding its socialist impulses in a bid to compete in the computer age.

His efforts failed. By the s, Olivetti had become subject to the same global headwinds as many manufacturers, and the company foundered. In the early s, it was merged with a telecom giant. At its peak in the s, the company had 73, workers worldwide; today, it has around Ivrea today has a population of 24,, having lost a quarter of its residents since the s. The average age is An eerie spellbound nothingness prevails.


Only one of the office buildings is still in use. A former factory has been converted into a gym. Many of the remaining dozen or so structures are empty, speechless monuments to an aborted utopia. The northern side is the historic center, with the usual array of squeezed cobblestoned streets issuing into breathable piazzas. Via Jervis is the chief artery. To walk it, as I did from my guest home in an adjoining town, is to experience the desolation of an idea that has gone to seed. An office building from the s looks faded and unremarkable without the hum of activity that must have once surrounded it.

Tennis courts are covered with weeds. Ivrea had been a settlement since the fifth century B.

But it came into greater prominence during the Renaissance, when it fell under the sway of the Turin -based House of Savoy. A sterling example of this past lingers in the convent of San Bernardino, with its excellent frescoes of the life of Christ completed around by the minor Italian artist Giovanni Martino Spanzotti. It was to this convent that Camillo Olivetti, born and raised in the surrounding Alpine foothills that are visible from nearly anywhere in the town, moved his family when he established his typewriter company in a still-standing brick building.

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If you stand in front of the tan stucco of San Bernardino, you stare directly at the once-modern exteriors of Olivetti, whose glass exteriors were meant to exude the future and reflect the past. In contemporary Ivrea, however, it is hard to imagine the bustle of the recent past. A former employee, Enrico Capellaro, who had started in manufacturing in the s before working his way up to management, described his daily routine as fairly relaxed: Renowned Italian actors like Vittorio Gassman and comedians came through at lunchtime.

New books and magazines could be consulted at the 30,volume library which was open to all Ivreans. A Pullman bus would drive through town at midday, carrying workers home for lunch, if they wanted. More Definitions for abandoned. Spanish Central: Translation of abandoned. Nglish: Translation of abandoned for Spanish Speakers. Britannica English: Translation of abandoned for Arabic Speakers.

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How to use a word that literally drives some people nuts. The awkward case of 'his or her'. Which of these things doesn't belong? Test your vocabulary with our question quiz! Build a city of skyscrapers—one synonym at a time. Definition of abandoned. Synonyms for abandoned Synonyms derelict , deserted , desolate , disused , forgotten , forsaken , rejected , vacant , vacated , void Visit the Thesaurus for More.

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Examples of abandoned in a Sentence He led a reckless and abandoned life and died young.