Zonca regularly attracts volunteers. We are soliciting volunteers through websites like Workaway.info. You can find our announcement here.
My grandfather used to say; "Never volunteer for anything!" I am happy to say he was wrong. But volunteering can be challenging and it is an absolute must to know what you are volunteering for and under what conditions. As a volunteer visitor in Zonca I have always felt that my work was appreciated and that I was supported and not being exploited. Having said that, I am also very happy to do some hard work to compensate for food and lodgings in this fantastically beautiful place. If you are visiting on a woofing trip or just as a casual volunteer, make sure you have a clear agreement on what kinds of volunteer work you would like to do, how much time you are prepared to invest and so on.
As a volunteer I also learned a great deal about the village and its surroundings, acquired new skills and insights into caring for the land and gardens, gathering and drying firewood, repairing or completely rebuilding walls and clearing wells and a thousand other useful skills.
If you plan to volunteer in Zonca it is worthwhile getting insurance as simply being in the village already entails some potential risks (falling down steps or off a terrace). Make sure you have discussed this with your host so that it is clear whether you are insured for any work-related mishaps. And contact your health insurer to ask whether your coverage includes things like hiking, climbing, camping and volunteer work, typically activities where accidents might happen.
As stated in the “about” section, Zonca is currently in a dilapidated state due to its gradual abandonment by the original population who have either left, or moved down the valley to villages with direct access to roads and to places where there is work.
The village is said to be at least 400 years old though it may be considerably older. It consists entirely of buildings constructed from materials from the mountain itself, oak, chestnut and walnut woods and rock, much of it infused with silica that reflect the light and shine silver on full moon. Walls and lintels are constructed with large blocks of this rock but most of the stone has not been shaped and was originally fixed in place with a mortar of sand and lime.
Roofs are constructed from sturdy wooden beams, a-frames with crossbeams on which flat stones are placed overlapping to prevent water entering. Floor beams are allowed to traverse walls to provide support for balconies. Consequently they can only be replaced with some difficulty after bracing walls to prevent them from shifting.
It stands to reason that much of the work needed to repair damaged walls, restore roofs and clear paths requires more than one person. Volunteers are needed and welcome. Please see the contact page for details.