Would you buy an apartment or an entire farmhouse in Alcatraz Solar Ecovillage?
by Jacopo Fo
Today, many people are rethinking the future.
Nowadays new technologies allow more and more families to leave the city to live in the midst of nature.
I made this choice 40 years ago and it has definitely been a fortunate turn in my life.
I didn’t find paradise on earth, it didn’t mark the birth of a large eco-friendly family, all wasn’t perfect, there were many difficulties.
But today, in the valley surroundings Alcatraz, live more than 200 people, half of which are immigrants like me. This is not a community in the literal sense of the term, but I found solid friendships and when there were problems, all the inhabitants came together to find a solution. For instance, many years ago, when the authorities tried to build an incinerator here, and we all gathered ad dawn to block the road, and I mean literally all, even the newborns and the elderlies.
We won that battle, and today these hills are protected as Site of Community Interest (SCI) and as Valuable Agricultural Area, where industrial agriculture is forbidden.
A working relationship among a dozen of holidays and educational farms, as well as art schools has developed here, proving that there is space for co-working, and the fact that professionals, farmers, artisans, webmasters, journalists and artists live here, surely makes this area like no other. Moving anywhere to the countryside is one thing, choosing an area where there is, shall we say, a vibrant population that is interested in improvement, culture, cooperation and ecology, is another. And that is saying a lot.
First of all, I want to make it clear that our idea of Ecovillage does not impose cohabitation or involvement in specific behaviours, faith or ideologies.
Our idea is that today it is possible and even necessary to develop new housing standards, new ways of living, a life more in harmony with nature, and possibly some experimentations with circular economy. Instead of building each their own pool, they could build one collective pool. Maybe.
We can’t guarantee a job to those who move here, but the enterprises active in this territory can offer great opportunities with the liveliness of their initiatives.
Another advantage is the cost of living, that is cheaper than in a big city. If you have a passion for gardening or for DIY, your costs will decrease further, and if you want you can supplement your income by trading goods as many do here, or by participating to the itinerant market that gathers many of the hundreds of people who live among Gubbio, Assisi and Perugia (we are right in the middle of these three towns).
Than there is the quality of public services, a well-functioning public health system, the lack of queue in public offices, and excellent public transport, that includes the minibus that takes children to school.
Although we are surrounded by the Umbrian woodlands, we are not far from the city: 20 minutes from Perugia airport and train station, 12 minutes from the nearest post office, pharmacy, bank and supermarket, 30 minutes from the closest emergency room.
So if you are planning to leave the city and you are looking for a place that could be right for you, you could consider buying a house in the Ecovillage located in the Alcatraz park (you can also move here and rent a house, we don’t offer this alternative, but there are vacant apartments in the area).
What’s our idea?
First of all, by ‘Ecovillage’, we mean hills covered with woodland and olive groves and a four and a half million of square meters park, that are far from busy streets and industrial activities. We’ve been living in this valley for 40 years and we created the Libera Università di Alcatraz.
Then, we restored or built 4 farmhouses. There are a dozen ruined buildings and the authorisation to build new houses, small buildings that harmoniously blend in the green surroundings.
We don’t want to tell people how they might live, but we want to be at the disposal of those who have plans and dreams.
You can buy a ruined building and restore it the way you like it (in compliance with current regulations, of course); or you could buy a house yet to be finished, or an apartment made of ecological materials, in energy class A, ready to be lived in. Together with your house, you could also buy a portion of woods and olive groves. If you prefer, you can join in the collective ownership of some green areas and social structures.
You can buy 60 square meter apartments or larger ones, from 100, 200 up to 1000 or more square meters.
Prices range from 600 euros per square meter for ruined buildings to 1200 euros per square meter for houses in energy class F, whose energy efficiency can be improved by the buyer with subsequent interventions, and between 2500 and 3000 euros per square meter for apartments in energy class A.
Land price depends on the typologies: grazing land, young forest, forest, olive grove. It ranges from 5000 up to 10000 euros per hectare (ten thousand square meters).
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