The village of Zonca is at least 400 years old, if not more. In the last couple of decades homes have been left derelict and many have collapsed.
About 15 years ago, in the early 2000’s, a number of Swiss and German people began work to recover some houses. The beautiful interiors are beginning to shine again! Modern amenities like running water and electricity as well as insulation and rocket stoves are transforming the stone houses into quite comfortable dwellings.
The qualities of granite and chestnut wood become apparent when layers of dirt and soot are washed or scraped off. This is often the first step to reclaiming homes and transforming them into something a little more liveable than they used to be in the past when the are was known for the three "F's", "fame", "fumo" & "fredo" meaning hunger, smoke and cold. Farmers here lived off subsistence farming with at most a few cows, chickens and goats. Men would work burning charcoal. People would build their own houses with very little in the way of planning. This gives Zonca and the surrounding villages a distinct look and feel, however it is also frustrating as roofs and walls begin to subside and preventing this decline requires enormous effort.
Those who do manage to repair their homes and replaster walls, put in extra windows and support or replace broken doorframes are rewarded with oddly shaped but interesting spaces. Maintaining structural integrity is however more than a matter of replacing materials; often at night one hears woodworms munching away at beams! This is a reminder that the village is very much part of its natural surroundings as regards the materials used in its construction.