On the Scrap Heap?

Car scrap-yards may not be the most beautiful sights in Lucca’s hinterland but I find them fascinating and sometimes moving. Interestingly, there are some good pictures of scrapped cars in the photographic section of the Bagni di Lucca arts festival and a ruined car has become an almost clichéd metaphor for today’s “usa e getti”(“use and throw away”) society. Yet vehicle demolition plants can offer a fine example of a way through this devastating contemporary societal phenomenon by recycling.

I had to visit a scrap yard near Picciorana in order to retrieve a part from my rottamatto Scarabeo (Aprilia) scooter which, sadly, gave up the ghost through a fused cylinder about a month ago.

It was a very hot afternoon and the temperature bouncing off the often weirdly dented bodywork of cars condemned to be disembowelled made it even hotter. I eventually found my old scooter and the sight of it abandoned to its undignified end almost brought me to tears.

A Moroccan assisted me in obtaining the part (which consisted of a support for the luggage rack) and I also managed to interview the owner of the establishment. He delivered a tale of woe and depression and misery regarding the present times – not too surprising considering the environment in which he worked!

All around me was a brilliant array of used car parts – doors, bumpers, bonnets and so forth.

In two sheds there were some almost shrine-like collections of the more intimate parts of an automobile’s anatomy, like wipers and gearboxes.

Recycling is, of course, the only answer to the problem of the planet being swamped by tons of rubbish. Italy may not go to the length of Bangla Desh, which has miles of coastline lined with derelict steamers and cruise-ships waiting to be recycled under the most perilous of non-safety-and-health regulations, but I did notice a few customers coming into the scrap yard (or “auto demolizioni” to give it its more respectful title in Italy) with pictures or examples of the spare parts they wanted for their Puntos and, in one case, a Lancia Delta.

I am sure that some of you may find this account highly boring but that others may be dying to reach this hallowed “Cimitero delle macchine”. So I will give you the details which are summed up in this shot below.

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This is of course not the only autodemolizioni around Lucca but it is certainly one of the best, in my estimation of such matters.

Italian art cities don’t just consist of fine churches and rich museums and picturesque streets – and you might find yourself happy to land here, rather than in some mediaeval cloister, and track down that elusive car part for your Cinquina or Giulietta or even Corolla.

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