Ostana is an Occitan multi-centric settlement in the north-western Alps, in the Po valley, facing the Monviso mountain in Italy. In 1921 there were 1 200 inhabitants. At the end of the 20th century only six were left with a depopulation rate of 99,5%.
Nowadays, the inhabitants count 50 permanent ones, while in the summer and high season this number grows to 500 tourists and second-home owners in total. The rebirth of the village began in the late 80s of the 20th century when a group of former Ostana inhabitants returned from Turin with the idea of a high-quality architectural renovation based on very strict rules and the protection and promotion of alpine landscape.
Over the years, Ostana was able to attract a network of qualified supporters and build a system of competences and alliances from outside the valley. A small and tough community created the conditions for a better life, including work around architectural renovation, providing services to the inhabitants, developing cultural projects, and taking care of the deployment of renewable energy, agriculture and forest management.
Ostana is a collective project and a recognised model of alpine regeneration. In order to strengthen its vocation and avoid any real estate and touristic speculations, it now needs to face new challenges by attracting new qualified working inhabitants and easing the creation of entrepreneurships. It is therefore in the process of developing a smart village strategy.
(Photo creadit: Laura Cantarella)