For his Forgotten Palaces series, Paris-based photographer Thomas Jorion toured the decaying grandeur of abandoned mansions in Italy, Switzerland and Germany. While the photos spotlight peeling paint, crumbling moulding, and empty fireplaces, each photo is clearly a portrait of the settings unseen: the chromatic entryways, the lustrous iron stairwells, and the ballrooms and banquet halls of an alternate, aristocratic universe. It's all too clear that the homes were once pretty damn majestic, so why did this bunch of old-money Europeans just up and leave? According to Messy Nessy Chic, some castles were forsaken due to bankruptcy and threat of landslide. One Italian villa was abandoned because a nuclear base was being constructed nearby. Below: crackled frescoes, deteriorating cornices, and a porticoed ballroom.