Oasi Verde the green oasis of peace.
The mood is growing for a place we can call home. At first glance it might not seem the ideal property because of its being an hotel designed for agri-tourism and a restaurant for food service. And for this it is well equipped with not one but two kitchens on an industrial basis. Also there is so much land and forest some people are scared of the enormity of the tasks of managing and or maintaining the land. But in our humble opinions we see these things as pluses, advantages rather than a disadvantage because these things will be the future expansion requirements of our community. Initially we may have a lot of clearing and tidying and cleaning and maybe re-painting to do, because the property has been left uncared for in several years since the covid-pandemic. However we see this as little more than a chance of unifying the community in a shared task at the beginning of the co-housing project. You do not have to do any heavy work if you cannot or would rather attempt something else, but we feel the work of co-creating an ideal living space will be of great assitance to us all.
What this property does have that others do not have in such abundance, is space and room to expand our self sufficiency, our creativity and our potential to create worthwhile projects for the community members who need a little extra revenue to be on this journey with us. A cafe will need staff, cakes and other produce to sell, a chef and possibly a team of food growers to serve the kitchens. An Atellier will be a place to sell art and crafts that members have created. A shop near the road can be a great place to sell organic produce that we lovingly grow, fruits and vegetables that we produce, as too with jams, honey and other beautiful things. A workshop, already equipped with tooling could be an ideal furniture restoration space for many items. A large amount of fields could be the ideal spot for local carboot sales at the weekend, weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Being close to a main road is maybe not such a bad thing when access to the community by others is considered. And ten minutes by car, to the local town for outings, sightseeing and or shopping is also beneficial for the members of Share-It Community to be involved with the local people as well.
Below is a re-worded text, from the original visit we did on a cold and dark November day last year. I will add a quick-link to the original so that you can see that little has changed since our first visit until now, in my opinion. It has proved to be the only place that we can see has the size of space adequate for the community as a largish one with enough possibilities to be able to achieve all of our original aims and all of the ones you who came along to join Share-It wanted to include. We hope that you will take this time to consider being a member of our community and helping us make this the world beating example of what sharing can do in cooperative co-housing. As you will see, we believe that making a move for this property at this time will yield the best results for our chance to do this and much, much more.
New pitures are added to this blog post which you can compare with the older post for a comparison between the seasonal differences.
Old post re-vamp below –
The property today, Oasi Verde is near to a town called Gubbio in northern Umbria, close to Perugia. It is a large property standing on 102ha (1.020.000m2) (252Acres) of land. Again I liked the property, Manuela now very much on-board with the value of it in resource terms, as it has in our opinion so much future potential. By this we mean it offers a massive potential for expansion of the project ideas, has an enormous amount of living spaces, (some that will need adapting) and external building space, large woodlands and plenty of sources of water. The property has obviously been left unused for a number of years and has some signs of water damage from a leaking roof, dampness from lack of the heating being on in the winter and almost no grounds maintenance. The swimming pool and patio around it needs some serious repairs and some of the outer buildings do show evidence of subsidence. But in the main we felt it was in very sound condition for a building of the past millenium, (1100’s, some parts late 1800’s) that has been added to. There is a private chapel that is consecrated (still belongs to the catholic church and is accessible to the passing general public) and lots of bathrooms on many levels that mean that as a community we wouldn’t be short of services. The main building is very characterful, inside there are many twisty turns leading to almost hidden rooms and nooks. It has not one but two industrial kitchens as it was serving up to 110 covers daily in the restaurant until 2018. There are a number of dining rooms, both large for our community and also smaller ones for more intimate eating and recreation. There is also a bar and breakfast serving area, each with patio doors leading directly into the gardens and patios for outdoor dining. The main dining room has a feature central fireplace which gave the room a nice romantic and warm feeling to it. The repairs to the floor (caused by the leaking roof) are in our opinion not a major repair that would cost enormous amounts of money, but a repair that could be done during use of other dinning areas. The repair to the roof is of course an essential, but again would not take much expense as most of the cost would be labour. As Peaceful is competent and willing to do this as part of his role as maintenance coordinator, all costs would simply be for materials.
Alongside the main building is a separate entrance to the upper floors that contain at least six very large bedrooms, some with two bedrooms and a private en-suite bathroom. These would be the prime area we consider to adapt for those members that really do not want simply a bedroom and bathroom but an apartment. (We hope that some of you do consider the former as it is better catered for here) Note in the photos the four poster beds, that some of the rooms are spacious and have wonderful views across the property towards the lake, and from a number of these bedroom suites the views across the estate are quite stunning. These rooms were uniquely spacious and in the majority we considered the decor was good and the bathrooms ready to use perhaps with a small amount of repairs. Though the access was by a wide staircase to these spaces-apartments, it would easily be possible to retro fit a lift for less active members.
The owner and the estate agents again showed us to a series of very large and well equipped industrial buildings. One had large cold storage fridges and even a lasagne rolling machine. There was equipment for grain harvesting and storage, and lots of machinery for the production of honey from the 52 hives, and much preserve (jam) capacity. Though we aren’t at this stage deeply considering the food production route, there is certainly possibility for that at some later time. Next was a large almost complete structure that was intended to be a wellness centre for the Agro-tourism part of the original business. On top of the adjacent straw storage facility and wellness centre were a series of photo-voltaic solar panels amounting to 60kwh. Depending upon the time of day and year and the cleanliness of the surfaces, we understood that a revenue of at least 2.000€ per month, was possible based on the yearly average. This in itself excited our ideas about self sufficiency and potential revenue to keep the overall costs as low as possible for each member. No other property offered anything like this potential.
Next we went to a separate structure, a series of bungalows, set below the main house accessible by a small road and sloped pathways. These ten separate one bedroom-apartments with en-suite bathrooms, served by a central washing/laundry room. Each small apartment had its own heating controls, wi-fi internet connection, patios both sides, and access to the grounds via beatifully shrub and flower lined paths. The last one of these apartments was the one that had clearly been damaged by subsidence. We believe it could be easily repaired as it is on the end of the structures. A process called underpinning could be done, access for machinery here is not an issue and would not seriously disrupt the rest of the bungalows. Following the drilling proceedures relatively simple reconstructions could add the last bungalow back into usage. Again each of the apartments had certain individual character and great views of nature out across the valley and property fields.
The swimming pool was quite large (12m x 6m) and had separate changing rooms and a toilet/external showers as we expected. The usage issue was with the pool itself, showing some evidence of a land moving experience. The region is in a risk area for earthquakes though we were assured that the recent earth tremours were not a factor in this matter. We understand that actually because of trees being removed from the nearby bank an unusually high load of soil had slipped into the retaining wall during heavy storms in 2019. In real terms the pool was repairable (at a cost of approximately 20,000€) and would be an amazing asset for the Share-It Community with almost total privacy from the surrounding property. There was yet another large building adjacent, that housed all the farm equipment, the pool pumps filters etc, and could almost certainly be the community tool room and Peacefuls’ ‘Mr fixit shop’. Overall we felt that this property had the hallmarks of a real value for money purchase, having been valued only a few short years ago for between 3.500.000€ and 4.000.000€. Currently this property is at about one third of that price. We also discovered that on the property at a distance from the main structures, there is a ruin that has permission to be reconstructed at a later date which would be quite a considerable size, somewhere in the region of 500m2. If the ruin was left untouched, then almost certainly it could be decided to allow us to use this amount for other new structures, such as log cabins and yurts, obviously with planning approval from the local commune. This ruin and the land around it was served by another road access and hidden from view of the main house by approximately 43ha of forest. There were at least 14 separate accesses to the estate, being crossed by two local roads. Many fields and useful spaces are to be found across the property which could be home for the various alternative dwellings you might want. On the last three visits we became fully aware that the property also has its own private lake, of some 0.5ha that is as deep as 10m in winter. The lake is home to many large fish, frogs and beautiful insects creating an oasis of colour and variety. A permaculturists dream for water supply and pollinators all in one place. Near to the lake is a place I spied as a potential space for the poly-tunnels and main agriculture food growing. A past survey of the lake found it to be an unique environment for some very rare insects. And during other years where near drought conditions hampered nearby farms and homes, the lake became a resource for the sharing of water. During our recent visit we all swam in the lake and found it to be most restful and rewarding from the summer heat. A drop of level by only approximately 1m in this summer we are experiencing, was a great indicator of its future potential for resilience in hard times.
Manuela and other members, now totally agree that this property does in fact have all of the basic and sustainable aspects we will need for a long term project, as well as many of the luxury spaces for a combined activity complex and living community. My estimate for the repairs and initial maintenance issues is, that we can delay many of the structural items in favour of getting this place cleaned and back to a habitable dwelling in approximately 8 weeks, depending upon how many volunteers we have of course. Further to that another month for the repairs to the roofs, by me and helpers, two or three months for the more structural repairs (engineers and Me) and repairs to the pool. In our opinion this property does have a value for money ratio much higher than all of the others we have viewed over the past 9 months. It is still not an instant move in option for an entire community, but we would have so much space we could work around this easily before everyone who becomes a member arrives. Though Oasi Verde can easily home at least 30 people in modest luxury now, some spaces are not instantly serviceable as private dwellings with en-suite. They could however, be adapted to such in a fairly speedy fashion, depending upon the design and style choices of the relevant members.
I have always had this as my No.1 choice because of the spacious feel to it and the potential for expansion and guest accommodation and value for money. Manuela was previosuly holding it at her No.2 behind the one near to Amelia based on instant comfort and affordability, but has now fully committed to helping to secure this as the first home of the Share-It Community in 2022. We look forward to your committments towards this property and the aims we have as a community in developing our shared goals. We cannot do this without you, and we know that essentially this property can give us all the space, peace and privacy we would ever need. It may not give us all the instant luxury appeal like a holiday resort, but it will give us a place to call home, with no shortage of resources to share together.
Original Viewing on 18/11/21—– Recent Viewing on 18-07-22 (8 months apart)
Please get intouch very soon if you would like to join our ever growing community of pioneers. We have regular zoom meeting planned for the near future, so please email us and we shall make a special effort to include you in those events.
It just leaves us to wish you all good fortune in whatever plans you make, as we hope you will also do for us. Namaste.