In a recent interview with Italian daily newspaper “la Repubblica”, Giuseppe Suriano – one of the seven young entrepreneurs who have brought back to life Belmonte Calabro, in the province of Cosenza – explained:
“There cannot be hospitality without passion; you can welcome someone, give them a place to stay. But without passion you cannot see through the eyes of your audience, or understand their world. Without passion you cannot create a network of professionals because you cannot inspire others, or give them the enthusiasm to work together even when they are competitors.”
His interview speaks volumes about the remarkable project carried out by Suriano and his colleagues in their town, a village founded at the end of the 13th century by the House of Anjou, nestled on a hill that faces a wide stretch of the Tyrrhenian Sea, with a population of only 2,000 inhabitants and a handful of houses built one right next to the other, with steep stairs, minuscule squares and Arab-inspired arches.
To make their dream come true, they used the “A Praca” association as a tool to move swiftly around the complex bureaucratic processes required to open “Ecobelmonte”, the only virtual hotel in all of Calabria. They invented it out of nowhere, “simply” renovating fourteen small houses in the town’s center according to the innovative principles of bioarchitecture. Some of the buildings had been sitting untouched and forgotten for over one hundred years.
Thanks to these seven friends, with no need for funding from the Italian government or European institutions, Belmonte Calabro is now a charming and attractive destination. And it all began with passion, and with love for this region’s history.