Experiencing Rural Renewal: The Impact of Inesto's Community-Focused Approach

Witnessing first-hand how Inesto fosters impactful social change through holistic, grassroots collaboration in one Sicilian village


Imagine yourself immersed into a true Sicilian experience, local food, authentic people, a heartwarming training course, and friendship. Inesto’s finely picked people by Paola Balduzzi, are artisans at creating an authentic experience

By truly living by their values, Inesto delivered a training fully involved with the local community, they walk the talk!

A workshop about problem-solving methods

Firstly, the location. San Marco d’Alunzio was the perfect coulisse for our experience because it wrapped us into its arms and made us forget that the outside world exists. 

The local buildings, the griffons flying above our heads, the stunning church in which we had our training, the beautiful paved terrace in front from where our breaths were taken away by sunsets overlooking the northern coast of Sicily. 

The local people. Maria’s cakes, the Sicilian tarantella, the homemade pizza, tiramisu, the cafe owner who lent us his oven when we had no electricity to bake our lasagna, the oldest man (89) in the village who bought drinks, the family with whom we picked olives. 

And many more who were curious about our visit and who, with Inesto’s skillful guidance interacted, with us.

The Sunday lunch in the Church square 

The training itself was more than just a training on the topic of rural development through increasing the dimension of youth work. It was more than developing and integrating of good practices and new methodologies of non-formal education activities. We were put on the spot, to live the rural life! 

The most transforming day for everyone was the one when we were sent into the local surroundings without money, one phone with airplane mode turned on, an egg, and a list of tasks to accomplish. What a brilliant day we had! 

My group hitchhiked, picked olives with a Sicilian family, hugged trees, went up and downhill, had a picnic with a family, got homemade olive oil, sausages and cheese, almost adopted a dog, didn’t find a waterfall, visited a dairy farm and got a whole wheel of ricotta, met our Sicilian olive family again on our way back in the town, had a drink with them in the most popular local bar and walked back to our trainers to finish the task. Happy, with full bellies, and feeling closer to each other.

Placemaking workshop for Rural Areas

As Inesto is dedicated to bringing together artists, professionals, and changemakers to co-create unique and immersive experiences that foster social innovation, well-being, and cultural exchange, they invited an artist and a digital nomad to join us too. I can say in the name of all participants that we enjoyed the didgeridoo sessions and throat singing.

Preparation for the full day of outside activities

With all of this said before, what is it but truly living and delivering the values that stand behind Inesto. Through collective actions, open hearts, and our active personal involvement we created a tight-knit group of people that became intertwined into the local community

Achieving that is art. We were guided through the activities but with personal responsibility, teaching us exactly what we needed to take home. That we are the ones carrying the change in our own communities and that we will like that, guide others.

Connections and bonds in the group

What I went home with is how the simplest solutions are often the best ones. Meaning, connecting with people simply by just talking to them, saying hello, getting to know their stories and creating together. 

Be it a tiramisu or a song, making magic happen together is the most human and beautiful thing we can do. And exactly that, we took home with us.

This project became true thanks to the support of the European Union through Erasmus Plus and Comune di San Marco D'Alunzio with PNRR.

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