Il popolo degli elfi, storia di un ecovillaggio storico italiano

The people of the elves, history of a historical Italian ecovillage

Is it possible to live in tune with the surrounding environment? The people of the elves is one of the most famous self-sustaining communities in Italy, let's find out.

Ecovillages are self-managed communities under the banner of sustainable living. But what are sustainable communities like and how do they work? Among the most important Italian ecovillages we remember Il popolo degli elfi. Let's find out more about this lifestyle through this historic community in Italy. Let's see how they are organized, what lifestyle they lead, how they manage different aspects of daily life.


Born in 1980 near Sambuca Pistoiese what is now known as the people of the elves. It is a community composed of more than 150 individuals who, since the 1980s, have occupied abandoned lands and ruins to give them new life. The population is divided into four villages and fourteen farms where they practice a lifestyle as sustainable as possible. For example, some houses do not have electricity and try to be self-sufficient. The houses can only be reached on foot even though they may be up to an hour's walk apart.


The goal of the elf people is to live as sustainably as possible. Therefore, within the ecovillage some practices are implemented such as:

  • Cultivation and self-production of food

In the ecovillage, herbs and fruit are gathered that grow spontaneously; cereals, olives, chestnuts and various vegetables are cultivated. All goods are shared and distributed among the villages.

  • Autonomous breeding

People raise livestock to meet only their subsistence needs and to live in total harmony with nature. Products are divided according to the needs of the villages.

  • Common fund

The ecovillage is equipped with a common fund for the purchase of those goods that are not self-produced and that serve to meet the needs of all. The inspiration is that of sharing, only in this way does this tool work.

  • Barter

As much as possible we try to avoid buying goods and, therefore, both among the villages of the community and with other realities we practice bartering.


The watchwords in the ecovillage of the Elf People are: self-management and community life. In order to live in harmony with nature, it is necessary to untie oneself from the system of consumption typical of contemporary society and try to follow the rhythms of the earth. Community life is the only way to get out of pre-established schemes. To make a way of life work towards means sharing, living together, supporting each other. Even very important aspects, such as education, in the ecovillage are carried out on a self-managed basis with the collaboration of teachers.

self-management with the collaboration of external teachers and implementing differentiated educational projects, but recognized as an equal school. The self-managed school is a very interesting pedagogical project.


The goal of the people of the elves is to harmoniously organize individual and community spaces. Work is done both individually and collectively, in relationship. An important event is the harvest festival that helps to unite people: every full moon the villages implement sharing practices in a circle. The feasts dedicated to sowing and harvesting are also fundamental, on these occasions the work done is celebrated and fellowship increases. In addition, all outsiders who wish to do so can discover the community up close by visiting it and contributing to their organization.

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