It’s not just Rome’s ageing monuments that Italy’s Corporate Medicis are rushing to save. A partnership between the Fondo Ambiente Italiano (FAI), the national Italian Trust, and Ermenegildo Zegna’s Fondazione Zegna has resulted in the renewal of Punta Mesco, a former agricultural settlement within the Unesco-listed, Cinque Terre National Park in Liguria.
After 20 years of abandonment, the 45-ha territory has seen farming operations and traditional biodynamic agricultural practices reinstated, including more than 5,000sqm of olive groves and a 250sqm vegetable garden and orchard. As part of the settlement known as Podere Case Lovara, two buildings, one of which dates to the 18th century, have also been renovated to support the farm and to welcome day-trippers to the area.
With its first phase of restorative work completed, it is hoped that Punta Mesco will serve as a model for sustainable management in similar areas. The second phase of works will see the completion of a small farm-holiday complex in 2017 to boost agritourism.
“The rebirth of Punta Mesco is a pioneering model of collaboration between the private and public sectors, at both national and local level. I’m convinced that for a project to fully succeed today there has to be collaboration between public and private. Know-how is shared like this but above all it engages the citizens, whose voluntary work is a fundamental resource for our country,” said Anna Zegna, president of Fondazione Zegna, which funded the project.
“What I see for the Cinque Terre is sustainable development based on the promotion and guidance of a style of responsible tourism capable of generating the resources needed to keep the territory in a good state of health. We should never forget that the planet is like a big garden in which we are the gardeners. A lot of foreigners are already coming to this place. The important thing now is to get Italians too, and especially the young, to fall in love with this corner of paradise perched between sea and sky.”
The inauguration of Punta Mesca is the latest in a string of long-term CSR initiatives undertaken by Fondazione Zegna which supports environmental, social, educational and cultural causes. Over the last decade it has worked with the FAI on projects all across the country, including the restoration of Villa Della Porta Bozzolo in Varese and Castello di Masino and its park near Turin.