In his recent book, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, Douglas Rushkoff points to a brief period in Medieval times as a model for the Commons economy.  What began as a restoration project a quarter century ago, Torri Superiore aims to recreate some of the constructive practices of a Medieval European village. Their approach is a positive model for any of us who aim to participate in the Commons economy.

Assimilation seems to be a theme of their project. They integrate work and daily life. They bring together practitioners, fans, and supporters. They involve their extended communities, including local government. Their most recent innovation, a network of companies called the Borderland, aims to integrate their ecovillage with the economies of  those of the surrounding valleys.


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Who we are

Torri Superiore Cultural Association was founded in 1989 with the social aim to restore and repopulate the medieval village in a state of neglect, to support the creation of a living community, and to contribute to the creation of an Ecovillage and an open cultural center to the public

L ‘Association has about 30 members, both resident and non-resident, and follows principles of sustainability, cooperation and solidarity. The Association has no political positions, ideological or religious.

The general objectives of the ‘Association and ecovillage, including ecotourism programs, are decided by the members, which meets twice a year (April and November). The Executive Council, composed of nine members elected every two years between residents and non-residents, normally meets every two or three months.

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The Village Restoration

During the twentieth century, the medieval village of Torri Superiore was gradually abandoned by all the inhabitants, falling prey to decay and slowly turning into a ghost town.

Over the following years, a detailed study of the structure of buildings has led to the development of a restoration project that balances the complex for public use parts and those for private use.

For the management of construction sites they have been used small local companies with the constant support of the Association members and residents, and with the generous contribution of volunteer groups from around the world.

The restoration began in 1997, and in 2012 work on the accommodation and 21 private housing units of 22 solar panels were also installed to produce hot water and electricity have been completed.

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Sustainability in practice

Torri Superiore and ecovillage are one: the eco-village includes all members of residents and non-residents and guests of the accommodation are invited to follow the principles. From the beginning, the idea of restoring the village was based on ecological principles. Participation in the networks of ecovillages GEN RIVE and movement of Permaculture has spurred the group to focus and achieve their goals in an increasingly sustainable.

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Establishing the Network of Companies “The Borderlands.

The fledgling network consists of six companies. It in fact come within the Cooperative Ture Nirvane (which manages the Ecovillage Torri Superiore), the Cooperative Spes, the company Bees of Airole, and farms Cristina Doctors, Wilna Benso di Gianni Ballestra and Estates San Gregorio Patrizia Basso. The Ortinsieme Association acts as the supervisory body.

At the official presentation of the network, which took place in the Council Chamber of the City of Ventimiglia, was attended, among others, the mayors of the municipalities, being to close to the border with France, fall in the territory in which they operate, ie the towns of Ventimiglia, Airole, Olivetta San Michele, Dolceacqua, Rocchetta Nervina, Pigna and Triora.

The network, in fact, aims to operate and support the revitalization of the whole area that, in the four valleys Bevera, Roja, Nervia and Argentina, extends to the border with France.Leitmotif is the sharing among the parties belonging, of sharing a common desire to support and implement a strong impetus to social recovery, economic and territorial environment, based on essential values such as sustainability and solidarity.

“The network – he said the president Gianni Ballestra – has as its main purpose a holistic view of work, understood as a recomposition of knowledge, humanization of assistance and action on lifestyles. Piecing together the knowledge and integrate them with new knowledge, such as organic farming, permaculture, renewable energies, closed cycles and integration, it means creating a new world of work representation seen as a single entity composed of several elements (companies, associations, cooperatives) but above by people. An organism, ultimately, in which each change the state of things, every crisis, every change is processed and cured in a common activity. The idea of a network was established almost two years ago, driven by the need and desire to bring together under one project friends who share a certain type of path related to experimentation, knowledge, dissemination and monitoring of the territory. ”

Photo by hans s

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