An espresso with…
Alessandra Rasetti and Maurizio Zucca

Image Credits: Leonardo Schiavone

July 26, 2018

Jazz on the Alps

The architects Maurizio Zucca and Alessandra Rasetti reopened the old inn in Eclause, the “Cantina Alpina” (Alpine Inn), a project to make this almost abandoned village live again. Jazzespresso is partner of their new offer, Grangia Fest, a three-day event of jazz featuring artists such as Night Dreamers, Filippo Cosentino, Stefano Risso, Federico Marchesano, but also yoga, workshops, book presentations, food and wine and many more things. The event will be held from September 28 to 30.

When did your project in Eclause arise?
Maurizio Zucca / It arouse, as a research, many years ago; in this place specifically, in 2015.
Alessandra Rasetti / Actually, we were looking for a second home, in the mountains, which had precise features: at least 1,800 m altitude, in a wood, and instead, we arrived here which is 1,400 m above sea level, in the middle of the village, and therefore we always say that Eclause actually chose us.
Therefore, the first project was a house…
MZ / It already had features we still keep on cultivating; we wanted to look for something we were actually missing in the city; we have always loved the mountains as a natural and spiritual peaceful place, distant from city noises and density, but we were also looking for a place which was not so far from the city, in harmony with it and also well connected as far as transports were concerned.
AR / Mountain must be revived starting from small villages, with a new economy tied to culture; starting from short distribution chain food, as we are proposing in our inn, up to music, yoga, arts… we love to think that the mountain can be a support to the city.
MZ / A mutual relationship. To be easily reachable is fundamental, here we have the train which is very handy, but at the same time it’s a remote place, a refuge where you can escape, a spiritual place; as in the Bible you went into the desert, the mountain is the desert to the city, is the empty place; in Indian mythology Shiva goes to the mountain to meditate, and therefore this is the place where the city inhabitants come to find this exact dimension. From a cultural point of view, this becomes a place of creation.
AR / But this happens only in a place like Eclause and not in others, because it has remained intact, it has a huge biodiversity and personality.
MZ / We are also aware that this is not a city district: it used to have 300 inhabitants, now it has three, it kept all its original dimensions of autarchy and symbiosis with the surroundings.
After buying the house, you reopened the Cantina Alpina…
AR / In fact, the house seller actually imposed us to buy both; in places like this, houses are literally falling apart, and the old owners try to get rid of them in order not to pay taxes on property. The idea of reopening the inn came to us after, for different reasons, and the project was realised step by step. When we arrived here, we were fascinated and we gradually fulfilled it, and we are still developing it, day by day.
Which are the next steps?
MZ / The Grangia Fest, of course. Note that “grangia” is the local word for barn; we will reopen it with concerts and photography exhibitions, and many more activities; we originally thought to reopen the “Cantina Alpina” to general public to revive the village; there’s an architectural heritage which is abandoned and we’d love to bring back to life. We bought other houses and now we really feel involved.
AR / This morning, after receiving the electricity invoice, we thought it would be good to become independent as far as electric power is involved, and to transform Eclause in an eco-village. Another dream is to transform the barn near the church in a spa.
Which are the greatest difficulties?
MZ / There are many: economic, as the houses actually cost little money, but then if you want to turn them into an inhabited place with a minimum comfort standard you must work and spend a lot; we are therefore looking for sustainable reutilization modalities.
AR / To launch ourselves in a sector like food, we knew nothing about, was very difficult for me, and still is.
But… how much is it an advantage, I mean, in the sense of facing problems from a new perspective?
AR / That helped us a lot, we can see in our results the advantage of improvising ourselves; maybe we’re naïve, but this makes everything more human.
MZ / Before starting, we defined how we wanted to feed the persons; we chose quality for our products. Alessandra’s work started many years ago in our family, a research she now proposes to our customers, a work on food origin, a fight against “big food” and the diseases it carries. This is the quality characterizing us. For instance, the flour for “polenta” is made of an ancient corn from Piedmont, the red “pignoletto”, stone ground.
AR / We like to think that this way of working starts a revolution, because it is opposed to the American cob, which is a hybrid you can find anywhere, unfortunately grown with the roundup (glyphosate). We could maybe burn the stew, but we are really aware of our quality and creativity.
MZ / There’s activism, here, awareness.
Do public institutions help you?
AR / Not at all; it would be useful to reduce the electricity cost, as well as the taxes on property and waste disposal; as it is a cultural offer, we would like to have a small tax incentive, this could be enough.
MZ / We believe we are carrying on a pioneer work for the rebirth of the village, which is waiting for being brought back to life, and we will work until all these spaces will be inhabited with activities that still have to be invented.
Grangia Fest is the first cultural offer under implementation. What else do you imagine?
AR / I would like to organize a festival dedicated to children’s literature, with readings with the authors, writing and reading workshops dedicated to children… and then any workshops, yoga, music; we would also like to remind to institutions that in the mountain you move either by foot or by bike. Hence, we would like to open a bicycle repair shop, at our own expense, in order to give a signal and to promote bicycle use.
MZ / Agricultural land use… There’s a large agricultural land which is abandoned; all these terraces could host a comeback to agriculture, which is already spreading. Bees can live here wonderfully, without the diseases connected to pesticides.
Do you have a dream?
MZ / We would like to live in Eclause as in the city, but in this wonderful natural space.
AR / That Eclause is alive because it has become the meeting point of many inhabitants, with its local economy, revolutionary because not global.

Reservados todos los derechos – All rights reserved – 版權所有 – 版权所有;  An espresso with… Alessand ra Rasetti and Maurizio Zucca copyright Jazzespresso 2018.
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