Dulcis Domus by Mirna Pavlovic

Mirna Pavlovic is a photographer and writer. A storyteller with a severe case of restlessness. Her quest for the abandoned, the forgotten and the derelict has led her all over Europe – fuelled by the desire and a desperate yearning to break out of prescribed norms of moving through an urban environment. But most of all, that same quest is one of identity, tirelessly seeking to find out the reasons behind the urge to explore, in places where the past, the present and the future collide, merge and form a reality of their own.

Dulcis Domus is an ongoing project that documents the many abandoned villas, palaces and castles found across the urban and rural areas of Europe. Theirs is a different reality than our own. They are never truly dead, yet never really alive. The Second World War left many scars, but in terms of abandoned villas of wealthy families, most of them are concentrated in Italy, due to its precarious political position in the war. Most of these homes were abandoned, appropriated by the regime and then reappropriated by the surviving members of the families after the conflict ended, only to once again be abandoned when the world entered post-war economic fluctuations. A staggering number of them now stand abandoned and overgrown, often very difficult to reach. I wanted to preserve the memory of the places as well as the families who once lived there, by documenting and retelling the hidden histories of these spatial and temporal incongruities that were once called home.

All photos by Mirna Pavlovic