Torri Superiore (Northern Italy)
April 14- April 28th
When I think about Torri Superiore now, three months later, I think of the frog symphony that sang us to sleep every night for two weeks. I think of the criss-crossing stairways and secret passages that evoked another world in another century. I think of the incredible food we ate twice a day, sitting on the patio overlooking the valley of colorful houses and terraced hillsides blooming for spring... I think about a lot of laughing and a lot of dancing and a lot of pasta and fava beans... I think of the sound of the overdue rain, clinking on the roof of the giant porch where we shared so many conversations and boxed wine, and I remember gasping in awe when a bolt of lightning illuminated the whole village below, allowing us to see the flash of a wild boar in the distance. Those walls were filled with so much life and so much wonder. The place itself and the people we met made a very strong and lasting impression on both of us, and we felt very lucky to exist in those moments.
We heard so much about Torri Superiore in the months leading up to this journey that our visit was a high priority for both of us from the beginning. It was one of the first communities in all of Italy, and one of the few that still exists today from the original movement in the 1970’s.
Torri is located right on the border of France and Italy, perched on a hillside at the base of the Alps, just inland of the Italian Riviera and Monaco. A resident community of 17 people live together in an ancient Medieval village, which they spent 20 years restoring– building back collapsed roofs, destroyed streets, and fallen walls day in and day out until it was completed in 2017.
“Magical” is an understatement in this labyrinth-like compound brought back from ruin, which now contains 22 apartments and a guesthouse with 15 rooms. It is located right next to a small town, but at the end of the road with nothing but nature on the other side– terraces cascading down into a snow-melt-fed river as the Alps shoot up in the distance.
We spent two weeks in this community along with several other volunteers helping cook in their kitchen for the community and all of the guests. We celebrated many occasions, had many dance parties, and tended to the gardens and greenhouses. We spent easter weekend in the blossoming olive grove, sharing picnics with people from all over Europe with full hearts and bellies.
The most impressive thing about Torri Superiore is that they’ve managed to stay together so long and still seem to enjoy each other’s company. They worked most of their adult lives on saving this place, and it's truly unlike anywhere I've ever been or will likely ever be again. What a unique privilege to live somewhere like this for a few weeks!
I will let the video speak more than my own words in this post, as it really is worth feasting your eyes on all that is this slice of paradise.
As much as we loved Torri Superiore, it is unlikely to be the community we will join, as they unfortunately have very limited space to continue to grow. They also were not doing as much permaculture as we would like, and the general entry process and finances are more expensive than we believe in. However, we were very grateful for our time there and hope to stay close to this lovely group of people in the years to come. They showed us what is possible when a big group commits to a common goal, and proved to us that if you really want it badly enough, you CAN actually live in a castle in the mountains by the sea surrounded by lemons and grapevines and olives and music and friends.
La dolce vita, indeed.