Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Communards of Urupia

One day you wake up, you realize the world suffers a lot from egoism, selfishness and materialism and you decide to change your life. Well, people now and then do these things and some of them create communes, exchanging their personal possessions for a common property.

In the picturesque area of Puglia, South Italy, we found the lively commune Urupia. Between old, abandoned houses, whine fields, olive trees, palms and cactuses a white stone house rises up on the horizon. On the right time one can find the communards under a long veranda with rounded bows, discussing and chatting, eating their lovely meals, drinking their own produced wine, laughing or just in silence enjoying the last sunshine. On all the other times one will wonder where everyone is. At least we did until we found out that there is a lot of whine yards and lands where the people of Urupia work on. And working they do! The moment we visited there was a lot of work to do and too less hands, and the work is done with dedication and care. After the work there waits a good Italian meal and nothing is more rewarding after working in the whine fields than drinking a glass of their own whine!
Living in such a commune sounds like a romantic dream and for guests it can quite be like that, but for the communards it is not an easy live. We have great respect for these people, dedicating themselves to this dream, living it in daily life. And off course if you want to find clichés you can find them, but to be honest we did not find any flower power but normal people searching for a good way to live together. In this time of self centered behavior it is interesting to see a different perspective being practiced.

Urupia has Berlin vibes. Starting as an initiative of German and Italian anarchists, many traces lead to Berlin and back. We got to know about Urupia drinking their whine in the restaurant where we had our wedding party, and that is not only a coincidence. Berliners come to here as guests, communards go to Berlin with wine and olive oil.
It is amazing to see how much different projects are done by people on Urupia. They produce whine with their own whine yards and whine laboratory. They produce grains and bake breads in a olive wood oven. They produce olive oil from their own trees. They grow herbs, fruits and vegetables and mainly live from their own production. A few communards work outside the commune, but most people work on these things daily. And not to forget they cook twice a day a respectable dish for everyone.
Frans worked in the whine yard and learned a little bit about it. He had to bind up the whine strings piece by piece in a large field of waving whine strings, a never ending job what has to be done every year. The binding has to be done because they need to be able to keep away the grass with machines in order to prevent the plants from illnesses. Conventional farmers use pesticides and such instead which saves a lot of work. Here they work according to ecological principles, though their products are not labeled as such. They had done this earlier, but stopped it because getting the label costs money and time so for ‘small’ projects this is not always an option.
One week is definitely too short to get a good impression of this place. We felt more and more at home and it was hard to choose a moment to leave. Sometimes they have forty guests and that would be definitely a different atmosphere. But we happened to experience the Urupia struggling for it’s survival, see the daily life of the communards, and enjoy the special, serene atmosphere of this place. Maybe not Utopia as the name suggests, but at least the practice of people realizing their dreams.


Emilia said...
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Emilia said...

Happy Birthday for tomorrow Gaya!!! Have a great first birthday in Italy.
Emilia xxx

Anonymous said...

Hipp hipp hurraaa för Gaya på ettårsdagen! Vi vill se våran Gaya!!! I väntan på bilder, kramar från mormor o morfar