From Glori, walking up the mountain, they came across the higher hamlets and abandoned terraces. “The owners of the only agriturismo (holiday farm) in the area suggested that we stay and cultivate the land. Luca immediately took up their suggestion, and they even helped him find a place”. The key encounter was with Glori’s inhabitants. “The elders let us in their cultural substrate of a peasant agriculture. After reclaiming the land, Luca began growing the local eyed-bean, known as Muneghetta, and saffron. Together, meanwhile, we cleaned the paths. Now, he is also creating his own lavender farm in Glori Superiore”.
The encounter between the two friends and this hamlet in the Valle Argentina took place in 2014. Federico, unlike Luca, never relocated to Glori. “In those years, I had begun to work in an olive mill, in Imperia, and spent summer 2015 and 2016 in California, pruning olive trees. In the meantime, the repopulation process had begun. A friend from Turin told me about ReStartAlp and I decided to apply, in 2017, with the Glori project”. Federico’s idea, at the time, was that of starting a community cooperative. As he was taking part in the course, the Facebook page ‘Glori: the place to Be’ was set up, obtaining immediate success. “Hundreds of people wrote to us: they wanted to come and find out more, come and live here. We acted as a filter, but many young people really did come and, in a matter of a few years, 5 children were born. When the owners decided to close their holiday farm, a couple moved from Milan and re-opened the business as a bar cum restaurant, which is what the village needed. Now, two people from Friuli have also relocated and I’ve lent them some land to begin farming”, says Federico.
“There isn’t much space left”, he adds. Many dwellings are only opened a few weeks a year, as they belong to foreign tourists, who bought them in the ‘70s or ‘80s. The local wealth, however, is a mixed community of native elders, immigrants and young people from all over Italy. Today «Glori: the place to Be» is an association, of which Federico is vice-president.
Glori: the place to be
The association – bringing together the old and new residents of Glori, an outlying hamlet in the municipality of Molini di Triora (in the province of Imperia) – was formed to accompany the local repopulation process. In 2020, it was assigned the Legambiente ‘Voler bene all’Italia’ (Loving Italy) award, as part of the association’s initiative that has been giving a voice to small Italian municipalities for twenty years. Along with nine other entrants, «Glori: the place to Be» was given recognition for its efforts “to pull the local territory out of marginality”. The association – of which Federico Guadalupi is vice-president – is regarded as one of many examples across the smaller Italian villages that are not giving up, despite the heavy consequences of the Coronavirus emergency.