Guidelines for Visitors
This page is intended to help volunteers enjoy and get the most out of a stay in Zonca.
Every volunteer is assigned a host during his/her stay in Zonca. Hosts are accountable for you during your stay. You acquire a host when you apply for a volunteer position. Each position is run by a host who is accountable for providing work, accommodation and food, unless explicitly agreed otherwise. Plan to arrive early, so as to acclimatise, get to know your host(s), meet other people in the village and get to know your way around.
Make sure you have proper travel insurance with coverage for medical costs, accidents, private liability and so on. As a visitor, you are accountable for your own safety and any damages resulting from your actions. Your host(s) will take all necessary precautions to ensure your safety and wellbeing in Zonca. However, there are ruins and a high mountain, and whether you are in Zonca as a guest or volunteer you need to be aware of conditions in the village and its surroundings. We also rely on you to report any dissatisfaction or concerns, so please do not wait with that!
We prefer to avoid use of products that are not biodegradable unless there is no alternative. Anything you bring that you do not take home with you needs to be biodegradable. Please speak to your host about anything that you are not sure about (washing-up liquid, shampoo, batteries). We kindly request that visitors remove non-biodegradable goods when they leave. Additionally, when walking in and around the village and on the mountain, please do not leave trash anywhere and if by chance you find something that does not belong in nature, please pick it up and bring it with you for disposal.
Getting your Stuff here:
In order come to Zonca, you will need to carry everything you bring up the mountain. Suitcases are not suitable to be dragged along the narrow and steep mountain paths to the village. Zonca is extremely rustic and rural - it's part of the Magic of this place.
You will need a torch or headlamp to get around because the village and surroundings are very dark at night. Unfortunately, batteries are highly toxic! Please make sure to dispose of your batteries responsibly (local supermarkets have recycling bins).
Recycling & Trash
Trash can be sorted into the following categories:
Chicken/Goat/Dog & Cat-Food (contact Locals)
Compost (contact Locals)
Plastics (bins at Seppiana/Barboniga)
Paper/TetraPacks (bins at Seppiana/Barboniga)
Glass/Aluminium (bins at Seppiana/Barboniga)
Non-recycling stuff (bins at Seppiana/Barboniga)
Batteries (all supermarkets)
Checklist for Zonca stay
Torch/Headlamp & Batteries
Rucksack & small carrier bag
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Medication (if needed)
Food & Accommodation
You are accountable for discussing the terms of your accommodation and your food arrangements with your host before you arrive. Your first 24 hours are always free for you to arrive in peace and orient yourself.
We have different categories of visitors, (private guests, volunteers, people who plan to buy a house or are here for a long-term stay). Please make sure you and your host are clear on the conditions of your stay. Volunteers are expected to work ± four (4) hours a day, with weekends off and to have free accommodation including;
Using the public gas cooker (outside kitchen)
Wood for heating and cooking
Working Guests are required to work ± four (4) hours a day to be welcome to join the meals three times a day. Make sure you know where to go for which meal - speak with your host when you don't know.
There are various facilities for showers; outside solar-powered showers & private bathrooms - usually rustic. Heating and hot water are available but the solar boiler and panels are not always operational. Be advised that it is a good idea to help cutting, gathering and storing wood for the heaters, fireplaces and so on.
Be aware that Zonca is a rustic place. There are not many Water-Toilets (all of them private). We prefer using compost toilets. Please ask locals where you can relieve yourself.
There are various locations with WiFi in the village and if you would like to use it, arrange it with your host. Mobile reception is patchy - usually in front of the houses facing the other side of the valley.
While visiting the village, and surroundings, please respect people’s privacy and refrain from taking photos of dwellings, inside houses or posting photo’s of people without their explicit consent! Also, please do not post any photo's of people online without prior consent.
When approaching any dwelling on the mountain, make your presence known by clapping or calling.
Please do not enter houses especially when they look deserted and keep an eye open for land that has been cultivated so you don't accidentaly destroy a garden.
Zonca is generally a very quiet place and we respect the silence. Please keep the volume down unless the occasion merits it (like when we are in the music room...).
There are cable lifts on the mountain that can only be operated from above. Communication is necessary to ensure there is someone to operate a cable lift. Please be aware that the lifts use a lot of electricity and the one cable lift that reaches the valley road costs about €5 per run. Cable lifts are privately owned so do not mess with them without prior agreement!
All land in Zonca is privately owned. Owners expect to be asked about use of their land. There are a few good spaces for camping but best to make prior arrangements with hosts.
If you are traveling with a dog, please make this known to your host straight away. Visitor’s dogs are to be kept on a leash until all residents of the village agree the dog can go free.
Zonca hosts a number of working dogs whose job it is to guard the goats and sheep against wolves. Please maintain your distance, especially when they are working with goats and sheep, give them wide berth and go around them if you are passing them in the Alps. Working dogs like our Sila's are not for cuddling. If they come over and want to sniff you, don't worry, they are just checking you out and getting to know you, but please do not stroke or cuddle them.
Getting here and about:
There is a road up to a car parking space just about 50 meters below Zonca. You need a four-wheel drive to get all the way up. The road is private and it is necessary to arrange use before arriving!
There are basically two footpaths leading to Zonca, one from behind the church in Seppiana and one from Barboniga. The Seppiana path is shorter and quite steep, the Barboniga path is longer but an easier walk. There are maps on our website.
Paths in and around the village are public and you are welcome to walk wherever you like. Please close gates to prevent animals from getting into gardens.
If you come across any tools and equipment, please leave them where they are so those to whom they belong can find them back! If you use tools make sure they get back to where they belong, or where you found them! If you don’t know: ask!
Snakes, Scorpions and other Crawlers
When walking or climbing on the mountain be on the lookout for snakes and scorpions - give them time to hide. Bites are rare but best to avoid! And yes, some snakes are poisonous ...
Be aware there are ticks. Make sure you have pincers and check regularly, especially after working with firewood and brushwood, playing with dogs and cats etc.
The fire hazard is significant anytime of the year and open fires should only be started in places allocated for that purpose and in outspoken agreement with your host. At no time should fires be left unattended!
We work with accountability - so if a job is given to you, it is up to you to see it done, or to communicate with your host if you are having difficulty or don’t understand what to do. In addition, we want and expect you to enjoy and benefit from working with us! If you are not enjoying your work, please communicate this to your host or the person who gave you the work. We encourage you to try various types of work and to find a way to do the work that is enjoyable and meaningful to you! That does not exclude hard work but you may need company or assistance or prefer doing other type of work. And we do not want you doing work you are not physically or mentally able to do! Any work entails preparation, doing the job and clearing up! Regardless whether working on your own or with others it is very much appreciated if you make sure everything is done and cleared away afterwards. Please assist people in being accountable for getting their jobs done.
In general, your willingness to participate in work, to clear and clean-up, to leave this place as pristine as when you found it, if not more so, will be greatly appreciated by all, including all who come after you!