In this fabulous video from well-known “off-grid lifestyle” reporter Kirsten Dirksen, we see a stunning ancient village, “Ghesc”, in Italy. It’s a beautiful example of one of the many abandoned medieval ghost towns scattered through the alpine regions. You can see a stone on one building with the date 1561.
We learn that the property was purchased for a song – just 25,000 euros (part of the village is owned by the Canova Association). However the purchase process of an abandoned building in Italy can be complex: The original owners must be traced as the property would belong to their descendants, if such persons exist. They might have left in the 1800s and possibly emigrated to the USA.
It amazes me to see that these wonderful places were abandoned, but the truth is that it was often done for economic reasons. What often happened is that people would leave the poor villages in old times in search of a better life in a more densely populated area, and gradually the population dwindled to zero.
However the modern lifestyle has opened up new possibilities in terms of location. It’s completely possible now to make a living online from “anywhere there is a reliable internet connection” – meaning that those who have this figured out, now have the option to go wherever they wish. Can you understand why someone would want such a place as a retreat or to start a new life? Of course! It’s absolutely beautiful there.
There’s an incredible amount of work needed to restore ancient buildings such as these – and if the buildings are registered as historic buildings, it adds an extra layer of difficulty and expense – however in this case it seems that they permit process was not terribly difficult. In Italy overall there has been much encouragement from the authorities for people to take on these projects and breathe new life into these majestic ancient ruins.
The owners have not only undertaken much restoration – it looks incredible – but host workshops where they share their knowledge and teach historical construction techniques to others who are following the same path. They have named it “The village laboratory” and they teach stone carving as well as other traditional techniques such as arch construction.
Some of the techniques required historical research, for example pulling techniques from a book from the 1800’s. However they are also using some experimental techniques, in collaboration with the Turin Polytechnic – such as using hemp-based concrete instead of the traditional lime.
Super inspiring. Surrounded by those mountains, with that beautiful ancient stonework… this seems like a idyllic, romantic dream lifestyle; but it’s essential to understand the level of commitment, learning and expertise required to pull this off. It’s a project that cannot be undertaken frivolously and a deep appreciation of the history and culture is vital.
Family Fixes Home In Italian Ghost Town & Tells Others To Follow – Graphic © off-grid.info. Images: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB3e8xwu_Do
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