Alla Italia, Belgium
PG UE, Carl Hartley, Nick Whitworth & Scott Chadwick.
Entry is always through an open access point and not by forcing our way in….. We are explorers, not vandals.
Alla Italia is an abandoned health spa located in a wealthy Belgian town. The building was abandoned after a more modern spa was built close by, however, I cannot find a date as to when that was. It must have been recent as most of the interior is in very good condition.
Alla Italia for me was at the very top of the list for this trip and I am sure that was the case for most of the group. I had seen many photos of the decor inside of this building and I just had to see it for myself.
We knew this location was situated in a busy area but until we got to the building I don’t think we had realised just how risky an entry here was going to be due to the amount of people around. A couple of the group scouted out the entry point to check if it was still accessible and luckily it was. With that part done all we had to do now was pick our time carefully to slip inside without being seen by any passers-by. One at a time when the area was clear of locals we made the move, dashing to the entry and in.
Once we were all gathered together the two lads who scouted the entry headed off further into the building to find the way to the holy grail which is the entrance hall. After what seemed an eternity, but was more like 5 minutes, they returned and said they had found it!
We only had to walk for a few minutes to get to the hall and when we arrived this is what we saw…..
The decor in the entrance hall is stunning. Lots of carved stone, large pillars & beautiful murals with huge amounts of natural light streaming in through the large glass doors.
Now what happened next could have been something out of a comedy. Within seconds we had changed from urban explorers into what I could only describe as elite crack soldiers on a reconnaissance mission! The reason I say this is because while some people were lying on their backs pushing themselves along the floor to get the ceiling shot, others were on their fronts crawling, and others were crouched down dashing around from pillar to pillar like they was taking cover from enemy fire. We were doing everything we had to to stay out of sight from people on the opposite side of those huge glass doors whilst getting the images of this amazing entrance hall.
Here are the results…..
This place just screams money, money to have had it built, and money to have been a member here, and I am sure if the spa was still open I could not afford to come here.
Now that I had the photos I wanted from the lower part of the entrance hall I decided to go and have a look around the rest of the building.
There are three main floors in this location one of which is the ground floor, however, due to the way the building is laid out it feels more like a basement with very little light coming in through the windows. I am sure at one point it would have been used as part of the main spa but when we walked through it seems it was last used for storage. During the report I will refer to the floors as 1 (ground floor), 2 and 3.
Due to time I decided to concentrate on floors 2 and 3 and also locating the upper balcony that overlooks the entrance hall.
Now if you think of a rectangle shape this is how the building is laid out with corridors running around the inside with stairs connecting the floors at each end of the building. Connected to these long corridors are lots of side rooms for health treatments. There are also a few small rooms located in the centre of the building which if I remember correctly are toilets.
Here is a couple of photos, they are nothing special but I thought they were worth including in the report to try and help explain the layout.
The next couple of images are of the small rooms attached to the corridors, as you will see most had what looks like a bath in them but I am sure they are more than that, however, I have no idea what they should be called so I will stick with bath…..
Also on the floor you will see marks were other items/fittings would have been. When I was walking around I did see what looked like a stone bath tub, there is also a decorative metal tub in the window of the main entrance hall. Maybe items similar to these would have been in place but have been removed for scrap or re-used at the new spa.
At the front end of the building on the 2nd floor at the end of each corridor are two larger rooms, they are at either side of the entrance hall and if you look back at the photos of the hall you will see the doors that lead to them. I only took photos in one of them as I really liked the wooden ceiling and the blank middle area that was screaming out to be painted with a beautiful picture just like in the entrance hall.
So after checking most of the side rooms on floors 2 and 3 and seeing that they were all very similar apart from a few colour differences I decided now would be a good time to try and find the entry to the upper balcony.
I headed up the stairs to floor 3 and then headed straight for the front end of the building. The layout is the same as the lower floor with two larger rooms situated at the end of the corridors at either side, when you enter these rooms you will see another door that leads you to the balcony. These two larger rooms on the 3rd floor are very plain and bare no resemblance to the beauty of the two on the lower floor.
So not wanting to waste time I headed straight out on to the balcony and started to snap away like a mad man. The closer I got to the awesome decor the more in awe I felt, and in a way privileged to have seen it with my own eyes.
Shortly after taking the images on the balcony I moved out of the way whilst the rest of the group got what they needed before we decided it was time to leave and head to the next location.
10 minutes later we were all outside heading back to the car and in my head I bid farewell to this wonderful location.
More images available on flickr
The images above are just a small selection of the images I have edited. I will be adding lots more photos of Alla Italia on my Flickr page which can be found here, https://www.flickr.com/photos/119757413@N07/
The problem with running a tight schedule on these trips is that you can very easily miss rooms hidden away. I feel that if we had been able to spend another hour here I would have found more rooms tucked away out of site. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed it here and if I found the chance of a revisit on the cards I would snap it up.
Alla Italia really is a stunning building. I left here wondering why on earth this place is sat empty, surely the building can be re-used in some way? It is such a shame to have this building stood derelict and slowly deteriorating. Unless something is done it will no doubt end up like many buildings before it, a place long forgotten. Fingers crossed that I am wrong on that one.
To read more location reports of the places we visited on the tour please use the following link,http://www.alanduggan-photography.co...g/toursep2014/
Thanks for reading,