Cortemilia: Italy’s Sustainable Village and Ecomuseum

Taste Truffles - Cortemilia

Terraces of Cortemilia, Cuneo

A half hour drive from Alba is Cortemilia, nestled in the heart of the Upper Langhe. Cortemilia is designated as one of Italy’s Sustainable Village, and Ecomuseum because of its community-lead approach to conservation, interpretation, and management of local heritage for sustainable development.

This charming medieval town of about 2,500 residents is built using local sandstone stone in a terraced-hill landscape — the thematic framework for the ecomuseum initiatives. The terraces tell a remarkable story of human coexistence with the land and communities that developed in these valleys

In her article on the Cortemilia ecomuseum project, Donatella Murtas said, “The terraces and landscapes give a sense of continuity in time and space; they link people and place; they are inclusive and not exclusive; they are a good example of a sustainable approach towards local and available resources; they were built by the community and not by an architect or an engineer; they have no signature; they are in harmony with nature, following its laws and not forcing them. In many ways the terraces are like a territorial skeleton, supporting human activities and dreams.”

Taste Truffles - Cortemilia: Italy’s Sustainable Village and Ecomuseum

Delicious Cuneo Gourmet Products (ENIT)

The ‘Community Hospitable’ program is one of the sustainable tourism projects developed by the locals in which, the village and its community are the attractions — and visitors are welcomed as temporary citizens. Similar to a theme park concept, except the characters are real people leading real lives in a natural setting that is centuries old.

Other innovative sustainable initiatives include utilizing hazelnut shells to generate biomass power — adopting selective door-to-door waste collection lessening landfills — and reforestation along the Bormida riverbanks. Cortemilia is accessible by road from Turin (104 km), Genoa (106 km) on the Ligurian Coast or Milan (172 km).

CycleItalia offers an exciting 8-day Best of Piedmont itinerary. The tour includes an interesting ride through the wine regions of Piedmont, and savouring exquisite cuisine deliciously prepared by Chef Carlo Zarri at Villa San Carlo.

For tour information, click on CycleItalia.