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An insider tip in Piedmont

December 12, 2020 Hotel Feature No Comments

High up in the mountains of the Valle Maira lies Piedmont and the Sagna Rotonda, an ecovillage and a secret tip for nature lovers.

The village belongs to the hamlet of Marmora, in the Maira Valley (Cuneo), and sits at an altitude of 1,644m. A steep forest road about two kilometers long leads up to the small village.

It was brought to life by Teresina and Giovanni, who discovered the old hamlet, abandoned for decades, and bought it at the beginning of the 2000s. This was not an easy undertaking, as they had to convince 20 owners to sell them all of the buildings.

A village comes back to life

Teresina and Giovanni’s dream was to build an ecovillage here within the old walls. Their love for untouched nature and their attachment to the valley fed their desire to create a retreat for families, nature lovers, and sports enthusiasts.

After the purchase, they began planning the restoration of the very dilapidated structures. Giovanni’s experience as a craftsman in engineering and construction was of great help. Together with Valter Marchisio of Prazzo, in just four years they renovated the small hamlet, which now has been restored to its former glory with the latest sustainable techniques.

The result is 13 residential units, common areas for all guests, and a restaurant.

All the buildings are thermally insulated using the latest technology, without altering the historical and traditional style of the old mountain houses. The photovoltaic system generates an average of 8 kilowatts and covers the entire energy consumption of the buildings. When the hotel is closed, the energy is fed into the local power supply system. Only natural materials were used, mostly larch wood from the “Larice” forest and stone.

The whole valley benefits

By rehabilitating the old hamlet, Teresina and Giovanni are also helping to revitalize the local community and economy. Twice a week free guided trekking tours are offered to explore the surroundings of the Valle Maira.

The hosts are very active in the association for the promotion of ecologically sustainable tourism in Valle Maira.

Of course, the Sagna Rotonda was also affected by the lockdown in spring-summer caused by COVID-19. After reopening in June, many people gratefully took advantage of the offer of socially-distanced relaxation in pristine nature.

In order to protect their guests, Teresina and Giovanni decided to close the restaurant during summer, as too many people from outside the hotel also visited the restaurant. It is now used exclusively for groups staying at the Sagna Rotonda and in combination with activities such as trekking and yoga. In the small shop with local Piedmontese products, guests can stock up on everything they need to cater for themselves. In the organic garden, they can help themselves to their heart’s content.

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