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Family fixes home in ghost-town lab & tells others to follow

With 25,000 euros and 1,000 hours of work, Maurizio Cesprini and his partner Paola Gardin rebuilt a ruined home in the medieval village of Ghesc, Italy. They hope other young families will consider their example in a market of rising housing costs and a plentiful supply of medieval ghost towns. They also feel drawn to save the rich architectural heritage of artisanal stonework dotting villages throughout the Alps and beyond.

Called “The Village Laboratory,” Ghesc is part-owned by the Canova Association and hosts workshops so college students worldwide can come to learn historical stone construction techniques. The public half of the village includes a communal kitchen, pizza oven, and concert spaces.

Right now, Ghesc (in local dialect; “Ghesio” in Italian) in the commune of Montecrestese near the Swiss border has just 3 inhabitants (Maurizio, Paola, and their son Emil), but the four homes that comprise the private side of town are at various stages of being rebuilt.