Exploration #055 Oculus Tower. Oculus Tower is the name of the former Eridania distillery in the city of Ferrara derived from the large roof window that illuminated a particular circular tower structure. The history of this large industrial complex, built on an area of almost 120,000 square metres, began in the middle of the last century and, after several changes of ownership, ended in 2007. Raw spirits, rectified raw spirits and denatured alcohols were produced here, products for both the food sector (liqueurs) and the industrial sector (perfumery, cosmetics, pharmacy and chemistry). The best alcohol in Italy is said to be produced here. Regardless of the type of alcohol to be produced, the raw material mainly used in the distillery was beet molasses since, as waste from the sugar industry, it was present in large quantities in the area.

The photos of this exploration date back to the year 2014: even though it had been a few years since the closure, the area was easily accessible and was in total abandonment, a victim of vandalism and looting by gangs of thieves. The complex was very extensive and any lover of industrial archaeology could have spent several days exploring each different building and capturing the many interesting glimpses that the area, immersed in a silent and solemn atmosphere and increasingly encroaching vegetation, offered.

The most interesting structure of all the plant of the Eridania distillery in Ferrara was certainly the large circular tower, the Oculus Tower, the heart of the plant. Visible from the outside, it was a fine example of rationalist architecture. It consisted of seven floors that could be perceived from the as many loggias around the inner perimeter and which described, in the centre, a full-height void that in the past contained the distillation equipment, no longer present during our visit. Instead, the large bridge crane, put into service in 1951, was still present. The tower was topped by a glass skylight and had many windows arranged in pairs that alternated with the primary structure of reinforced concrete pillars. A place that could be likened to a modern Colosseum, it has thrilled and amazed every urban explorer fortunate enough to visit.

Various demolition and reclamation works have taken place since 2014 and to date the area is almost completely cleared. Only the Oculus Tower remains in place, aimed at the perpetual and absolute control of the entire surrounding area, with the hope of a future redevelopment and enhancement project.