Rebuilds $8K remote ruin by hand alone: best water/solar so far

Luca Ventrella was living in a dense city in Northern Italy, when, on one of his weekend hikes in the Alps, he stumbled upon a rundown stone cabin. He bought it for 8,000 euros. Since the roof and walls were intact, he could move in and begin to turn it into a home. The dry stone cabin was originally built as a shepherd’s hut, “baita,” where shepherds would spend months at a time here while their flock grazed during the summer months.

Given the home’s distance from the electrical grid, solar power was the only option. Ventrella first put in a simple system and later upgraded to something more powerful with lithium batteries and very potent and reliable inverters. Because power tools are expensive, but mostly because Ventrella likes the feel of hand tools, he built an outdoor shower, toilet, furniture, and stairs out of hand-hewn wood from the surrounding forests. “Hand tools are cheap. They always work. And they are very rewarding to use.”

His water comes from a stream located several hundred meters from the home. The pipeline was installed back when the mountain pasture was used for grazing, and the water was used for the animals. Ventrella has improved on the gravity flow system by installing cisterns that filter and store water for periods of drought.

The home is very rustic and minimal, both an aesthetic choice of Ventrella’s, but also because any building material had to be carried on foot up the mountain path. The isolation that the cabin affords allows Ventrella time to find a new rhythm, one more attuned to the cycles of nature. When not building, he spends his time here beekeeping (a potential income source), mushroom picking, and cooking elaborate meals.

“Time changes here completely. I adapt to the rhythms of nature. I go to sleep earlier. I wake up earlier. The day can be very short when I work or expand when I also relax because the distractions are few.”

For full-length videos on Luca Ventrella’s build and life at the cabin:

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25 Replies to “Rebuilds $8K remote ruin by hand alone: best water/solar so far”

  1. Pollice sù per Luca Ventrella! … and thumb up also for Kirsten!. Beautifull work, beautifull video. Ciao from Milan.

  2. Your videos never cease to amaze Kirsten. How do you find out about these people? How does this man bring up the mountain the supplies and the household things he needs to survive? What does he eat to stay alive while he is building in such a remote area? Please share more of the everyday life necessities these people access to survive and have energy to do all this work!!! I marvel at what patient and calm folks these are!!!!

  3. Very nice video. Beautifully shot, and I liked the fact that you let him talk in Italian at his own pace instead of it being an interview. Sometimes it works best like this, and the pictures spoke for themselves.

  4. Seen the fresh mountain honey and i am thinking hot homemade biscuits, lol… Buddhaful place…

  5. That's a great power system he has. must have been a lot of work carrying it up there! My romanticism would have me finding a similar place but alas I am too old and arthritic so I live vicariously via your videos. Thank you Kirsten!

  6. Thanks for posting and sharing. Loved seeing how Luca is coping with this living situation. Best of luck to him and thanks for the beautiful video. I did not want it to end.

  7. Llevo un par de años siguiendoles , y siempre me sorprenden con los videos , que amo !! Gracias … Les deseo un 23 cargado de nuevos proyectos . I come following you for a couple of years , and always surprise me with your videos , that I love . Thanks . I wish you a 23 full of new projects !

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