The tiny village of San Simone in the Italian Alps is now home to numerous Igloos that have begun to attract tourists. San Simone, near Bergamo in northern Italy, was once a thriving ski spot. However, financial constraints have prevented the slopes from being opened to tourists this past winter.
It is also home to over 80 African asylum seekers and refugees. They were assigned to the small Alpine village upon arrival in Italy. In an attempt to lure back tourists, A local restaurant owner, Davide Midali, decided to build Igloos that could be rented overnight. Inspired by those in Sweden, Midali set out to build six igloos, each taking four to five days. The African newcomers, despite being unaccustomed to the cold, volunteered to pitch in.
The San Simone Igloos
The igloos, which for a sort of mini village, house 18 visitors in total. Their popularity has meant that they have been fully booked on weekends since mid-January. Nearby schools even bring students up to see these fascinating structures on field-trips.
The project has helped San Simone recover some of the lost revenue from the tourists that otherwise come there to ski. It has also helped the African migrants better integrate into the community. The cost of spending a night in one of these igloos is approximately 100 euros, though this includes both dinner and breakfast at Midali’s restaurant.
While this small innovative idea may not bring back the same amount of tourists and revenue as the ski slopes, it has nonetheless been a breath of life for the struggling Italian village of San Simone.