The villages Cheggio, Bordo, Zonca and Montescheno seem energetically connected by the presence of a large number of people, many of them foreigners, who have come to the mountain in search of a simple life, in touch with the elements and natural surroundings. They form a loose knit and distinct community, from the rest of the inhabitants of the valley most of whom are Italians and people who are born and bred here.
The creation of a natural reserve encompassing much of the higher mountain areas and part of the valley opens up the potential for a more extensive community, but the realisation of such a project depends to a large degree on the ability of newcomers not only to “fit in” but to bring something of value to more traditionally minded locals.
When thinking about the creation of a viable, vibrant, long term community project it is important to map local resources, not just materials, but also skills, knowledge, marketplaces, places where different populations can meet and get to know each other.
It is important to keep in mind that a sudden influx of foreigners or outsiders with money, leisure time and “funny ideas” often results in all kinds of problem for local populations. While tourism, even eco-tourism, can be profitable and healthy for a deprived region, bringing jobs and money, it can also drive up real-estate prices, displace locals who cannot afford housing anymore, and thoroughly alter the character of a place for the worse.
That said, the Antrona Schieranco region has already much to offer for tourism, including lake-side restaurants and cafe’s, mountain trails and refuges for hikers and relatively good roads.
The rest of this page is reserved for the presentation of information, addresses, people, companies and local resources that could be coopted into a wider community plan for the region. Such a plan has yet to be realised and remains speculative, however it seems reasonable to start thinking about the viability of ecological communities, permaculture and self-sustaining off the grid lifestyles, not only as alternatives to city living and as refuges for the summer, but as things that can develop and coexist with more conventional lifestyles as we all gradually evolve towards more sustainable ways of living and sharing with each other.
Who currently lives in Zonca & who owns the houses / land ?
For reasons of privacy we refer to people by initials only until further notice.
SW from Switzerland owns the largest house and several buildings around the higher part of Zonca, together with his companion A (also Swiss).
KTW, his brother also owns various buildings or parts of buildings and land in various areas in and around Zonca, including a large ‘stable’ verging on the central garden in the higher area.
SF from Denmark owns several buildings, including two houses verging on the central garden.
J is renting a property in the lower part of Zonca, on the path to the parking place.
HR, a German artist lives part time in Zonca where he makes sculptures of wood. His companion, H, works as a shepherd in the Swiss Alps.
M and his wife and kids are German. They own the building with the roof that is being rebuilt just below and to the side of the Church. They have a beautiful garden and seem to produce quite a lot of their own food.
Altogether, it seems there are about 10-12 people in Zonca including at least 3 young children. I have heard that the village once housed 250 in all.