On Monday operations started to demolish the American Palace in Castel Volturno, in the province of Caserta in Campania, Italy. The building, which had been occupied for years by migrants in the area, had become a symbol of illegality and deterioration along the waterfront in Caserta.
The American Palace was built at the start of the 1980s without any construction permits. It was built to host American citizens from the nearby NATO base. In 1984 the prefect commissioner of Castel Volturno issued a demolition order, which was never carried out and instead completely ignored. In fact, three additional floors were added to the original two.
Over the years the city government issued two other demolition orders (in 2011 and 2017), but in the meantime, immigrants who had arrived in Castel Volturno starting in the 1990s began occupying the American Palace.
An ethnic food market sprung up in the ground-floor former bar of one of the building's two owners. Law enforcement managed numerous times to clear the building, which created controversy and complaints.
The most recent of these clearings took place at the start of 2021.
The demolition worksite was set up in February to carry out work such as removing interior fixtures in preparation for the actual demolition. Worksite foreman Massimiliano Lombardi said it will take two weeks to demolish everything and between 90 and 100 days to close the worksite.