Argentiera. Tucked away in a cove on Sardinia's remote North West corner, reached only by a crazy series of hair pin bends that killed a bus right in front of us, Argentiera is in every way Yesterday's Village. The village sat on a rich seam of silver ore that excited, more than two millennia ago, the Phonecians and the Romans, and wasn't mined out until 1963. In the intervening 50 or so years the village has declined into a tidy, but largely derelict, coma.
One or two neat houses and a sleepy cafe nestle amongst a muddle of gutted mine workings and derelict outbuildings with shattered windows. A vacant apartment building, seemingly prestigious by way of its prominent location on a low bluff overlooking the cove - perhaps it was home for management or important visitors - has had its balconies removed so that upper floor exterior doors open into thin air.
Argentiera's beach of slate grey grit curves smartly between two attractively craggy headlands that frame the cove and there's a whiff of renaissance in the air. The beach-side promenade is being renovated and a mining museum may yet be built. Until then, Argentiera sleeps on.