The man who bought an entire village in Italy

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(CNN) – In recent years, Italy has sold hundreds of damaged homes for nothing, thanks to plans to attract new residents to stimulate a wave of reconstruction for the poor. community.

For one person, buying a house is not enough. He bought an entire village.

Cesidio Di Ciacca, a Scottish businessman, completed the reconstruction of Borgo I Ciacca, a rural town around 1500 and named after his family.

It is located in the wild country of Ciociaria, between Rome and Naples, at the foot of the city of Picinisco.

“At the end of the 20th century, my grandparents Cesidio and Marietta left the village to look for a future,” Di Ciacca told CNN. “They moved to Scotland, and left their homeland that had fallen into oblivion for half a century.

“It was a ghostly place. I started bringing it back over 10 years ago. It was a big deal but now it’s alive again.”

Out of nostalgia for the land of his ancestors, and after building his money as a lawyer and counselor, Di Ciacca decided to return to breathe new life into the country. village which his family had left and reorganized his local business.

"It is a spiritual place," said Cesidio Di Ciacca of the village of his ancestors.

“It’s a spiritual place,” said Cesidio Di Ciacca of his ancestral village.

Silvia Marchetti

Formerly a pile of dilapidated farm stone houses, restaurants and barns with no windows with cracked windows and unreliable staircases, the village is now featured in redesigned pastel -colored buildings. With a circular panoramic path overlooking the green hills.

There is a wine restaurant, conference room, library and two suites to accommodate guests who want an unplugged bucolic residence. The country’s vineyards are growing Maturano grapes, a species that was lost before it has been found.

Di Ciacca was born in the fishing village of Cockenzie, outside Edinburgh, but says he still has a deep love for his homeland.

“My family is not lost with his teacher,” he said. “Every summer, when I was a child, my parents would bring me here to visit our families. When I was growing up, I visited often until I decided to start somewhere. living missionary to fully connect with my roots and return from our grave.borgo family [village]. ”

140 former owners

Di Ciacca’s family moved out of the village at the end of the last century.

Di Ciacca’s family moved out of the village at the end of the last century.

Cesidio di Ciacca

The first step was to find the owners of 140 properties on 30 acres of land – a long and arduous process made even more difficult by scattering them around the world.

“The village is divided and divided between many heirs who have a corner of the same house, a place to eat, a forest or farmland, or just an olive tree,” he said. where Di Ciacca.

According to Italian law since Napoleon’s time, property was not given to the first heir, but to each child. Between many generations, he could divide the wealth among many families.

The last village, according to Di Ciacca, was a very distant aunt who passed away in 1969. Over the next 50 years, the yard again fell into disrepair – plants like the woods creeping over the walls and doors.

Remains of his early life can be seen everywhere, with wine bottles and nails stuck in the caps used to keep the sausages to dry. When digging for reconstruction began, old springs, pieces of silver and religious objects were dug up.

Di Ciacca said he had to get to the whole village to start the restoration process because of the jigsaw puzzle complexity of the drunk.

“I have a sub-unit of my family,” he said. “It took me several years to repurchase all the parcels, giving every little one the value of the sale of the land, even if the parcel was not suitable. lands, therefore, they shall have one portion. “

The list of the land and the church helped identify many of the owners, but Di Ciacca’s genealogy could be traced, he said, because the communities in the area are always close. with family and neighbors.

“So one first sibling saw another sibling and so on, like a chain. The community in Edinburgh, where a lot of people moved, also helped me with the search.”

Di Ciaccia must work hard to persuade families to donate their parts of the village. Although they had no use for goods, they refused to sell for ideological reasons.

Although he did not disclose details of how much he had invested, Di Ciaccia admitted that he had spent a large amount of money to dedicate the village, with most of the money going to be reworked.

“Yeah! I don’t want to think about it,” he said. “Really, it’s a crazy job. The sub units aren’t expensive, the refurbishment is the most expensive.”

Second life

Di Ciacca tried to preserve the true beauty of the village houses.

Di Ciacca tried to preserve the true beauty of the village houses.

Cesidio di Ciacca

Before its decline, Borgo Di Ciacca was a thriving microcosm where 60 people lived in small 50 -square -foot houses – about six total families.

As a result of the renovations, the old houses were remodeled with their high stoves and fireplaces. They are used for pizza parties and summer parties. Antique furnishings adorn each room.

Borgo Di Ciacca pays homage to local traditions. During seminars and events, dinners and lectures, guests are served delicious foods such as pecorino lamb cheese, black pork (the animals only run around the country). , goat ricotta cheese and slices of fried ham.

“It started out as a lot of fun, and then I realized I had to make this dream I had a continuing career,” Di Ciacca said. “When my daughter Sofia decided to quit her business and take care of the vineyards, I turned the borgo into a rural farmer producing honey, jams, wine and virgin olive oil. , and initiating eco-conscious activities. “

The 2,500-square-meter village now hosts a small cultural center and a conference room for educational meetings, food and agrarian studies. There is a restaurant with wine cellars and a kitchen for cooking lessons. The entire borgo has underfloor heating and strong Wi-Fi.

Since its first harvest in 2017, its wine has won three world cash prizes and is currently being exported.

Bucolic marathons are held at the fountain, with people running up and down the vineyards and then relaxing in the small piazza where locals gather to talk in the evenings after performing rituals. garden.

A “community park” with fresh produce has been set up, bringing together groups of children for lessons about rural life, while a gastronomy school is starting this year.

“I didn’t change the rooms inside, I kept the original decor and rustic vibe with black stone walls and old thick wooden doors with metal bolts,” says Di Ciaccia. “The different colors of the buildings are the same as the way they were first painted, each color represents a different time.”

However, finding 140 families is a piece of cake compared to the Italian industry, Di Ciacca said, admitting the paper is difficult. He employed local youth to run his business while in Scotland.

When the disease broke out, Di Ciacca found himself in the village and said that his air was not polluted and the place under the radar was a god. With his wife, son, daughter and grandchildren, he now spends most of the year at his grandparents ’home.

It’s kind of mysterious

Cesdio Di Ciacca lives in the village with his family.

Cesdio Di Ciacca lives in the village with his family.

Cesidio di Ciacca

The land around the village is lined with abbeys, monasteries and pilgrimage sites famous for the visions of the Virgin Mary.

“It’s been a physical destination for millennia with clean water, fresh air and lush gardens,” Di Ciacca said. “Prehistoric people chose him as their home and many devotees came to this valley of faith, from St. Thomas of Aquina to St. Benedict. He was a magician.”

In the Middle Ages, Ciociaria was a bridge of shepherds, hermits, and saints. In the 1800s it was the home of Italy’s most wanted criminal, Domenico Fuoco. As a result, there was less migration and more natural disasters for the local population. Today it is one of Italy’s best kept secrets.

Di Ciacca’s father, Johnny, was born in the village before his mother and father took him north to Scotland, where they started an ice industry.

For more than 500 years with their family, and the only living heir who truly wants to live again, Di Ciacca wants to take care of her future.

“I want this village to be an important center for Italian-Scottish people abroad who want to come back and reconnect with their teachers, or help their homeland by initiating activities and opportunities to grow, “he said.

There are plans to open an agri-food school in the village, but now the disease has slowed down, and to start collaborating with European universities on care and following rural traditions.

Because it’s dedicated to persuading 140 people to give up their small chunk of wealth to do a big project, it’s not going to be too difficult.

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