Paraloup: La montagna che rinasce (the reborn mountain)

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Project Status: April 2007 – June 2013; ongoing
Location: Italy

Paraloup is a wonderful village located at 1360m in the Alps near Cuneo, Italy. It has a fascinating history. In 1943-44, Paraloup was involved in the resistance fight against nazi-fascism: famous historical people like Nuto Revelli, Duccio Galimberti and Giorgio Bocca fought in the “Italia libera” band that was based in the village.

In 2007 the Nuto Revelli Foundation decided to restore this village, one which once contributed to changing the destiny of Italy and the foundation of a democratic Republic, into a unique centre of political and democratic education for over 200 young people. In 2010 the first “cultural” lot was ready and in 2013 the second “touristic” one too. Now Paraloup is a project of rebirth for mountain cultural and economic life and is well known across Europe: it has been mentioned at the Konstruktive prize for the best sustainable alpine architecture; in 2012 it won the Premio Gubbio for the Landscape assigned by the Association for the Italian Historical centers (ANCSA) and in 2017 it won the AAA Prize (Architetti Arco Alpino). It is a model project for the restart of economic and touristic life in Alps.

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Paraloup has been restored following the principles of the Athens Chart: the architects fixed the ruins as they were – symbols of the severe depopulation of Alpine valleys during the second half of the XX century – and introduced light wooden volumes that gave the huts new life. The energy used for the huts is sustainable and it comes from solar panels. Everything in the project takes care of the landscape and of the environment. The economic development of the site involves local people: the touristic lot (refuge and restaurant) is lead by three young people of the valley and in summer 2017 the Nuto Revelli Foundation (in partnership with the University of Turin, Disafa) will start in Paraloup the first “School for young mountain farmers” to help young people who want to return living in the mountains (and there are many). This latter project is financed by the EU in the Interreg Alcotra 2014-2020 program in the field of the “MigrAction” project: a project that aims to tell the story of when people from Piedmont (Italy) emigrated towards France.

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The first cooperation between the Nuto Revelli Foundation and the local community in Rittana is the leadership of Rifugio Paraloup: the touristic part of the village (all property of the Foundation) which has been outsourced to a local company comprised of two young ladies who come from the valley. The local administration in Rittana (the municipality of Paraloup) helped from the very beginning in 2007 towards the good result of the restoration project, one which the locals immediately felt an attachment to as their own. The mayor of Rittana in 2007 was the son of the couple who actually saved Duccio Galimberti after he has been wounded during a fight against nazis in 1944: so the first hut that was restored was dedicated to him.

In 2017 the Foundation signed a convention with Unione montana Valle Stura (the Union of the municipalities of the Valley) to promote the cultural and touristic valorisation of the project for the economic wellbeing of the valley. In the summer of 2016 the Foundation led an artistic sound project of a local tale (“Camamia”) that people could listen to through headphones when walking around the village. The recording of the tale was made in Rittana and performed by a local lady.

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The project is entirely led by the Nuto Revelli Foundation who manage the aspects of project writing, fund raising, building commitment, accounting and financial reporting. The group of Architects is composed of Valeria Cottino, Daniele Regis, Dario Castellino and Giovanni Barberis who created the architectural plan and follow the aspects of building management and security.

The project of Paraloup works closely with CIPRA ITALIA and Disafa – University of Turin (led by Andrea Cavallero) to promote sustainable agriculture projects such as the Associazione Fondiaria project and the School for young farmers to help young people returning to live and to work in  mountain areas.

In 2012 Paraloup won the “Bandiera Verde” of Legambiente (Carovana delle Alpi) for the sustainability in the Alps.


In 2013, Paraloup hosted an International Legambiente Camp: 30 young volounteers coming from all over the world stayed in Paraloup for two weeks to clean the paths around the village.

In the summer of 2016, Paraloup also hosted a camp for 20 students coming from overseas (with a project led in partnership with the Politecnico di Torino) who experienced the planning and building of wooden manufacts: these objects (kind of panoramic benches) have been placed all around the village and contain information panels that guide visitors around the village and explain its unique history.