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By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Etruria, the ancient area in Central Italy located between the regions of Lazio, Tuscany and Umbria, has always been a trendsetter. For example, in ancient times the Greeks imported their Olympian Gods, Latin alphabet, agricultural practices, and architectural features such as arches and sewage systems from the region. Today, Etruria is still on the vanguard, but this time, in promoting sustainability.
The Etruria Eco Festival is set in the enchanting landscape of Parco della Leganara, in Cerveteri, the UNESCO World Heritage Site for the Etruscan Necropolis of the Banditaccia. Any trip here is worthwhile for the traditional food, wine and historical sites alone, but if you love music and care about the planet, you really can’t miss this event.
This unique festival was launched seven years ago by few young environmentalists from Cerveteri, who used music to support their battle for nature’s preservation against coal mining in the nearby town of Civitavecchia. Since then, the event has grown and was dubbed the ‘Best Italian Festival’ by MEI (Meeting of the Independent Labels and Festival Network), in 2011.
If in the past the Etrurian landscape was praised by writers such as D.H. Lawrence, today the artists that perform at Etruria Eco Festival in the name of sustainability are established actors and singers. 2013’s programme, which runs from August 8th until the 18th, stars Italian legends like Gino Paoli along with fledgeling talents too.
It seems the festival organisers have thought of everything, including eco-hotel options. Featuring mainly small, sustainably minded B&Bs, our favourite of their picks in the organic olive farm. Set in a centuries-old olive grove, staying in this small guesthouse could easily give you an idea of what life was like back in the time of the Medicis.
Sound really travels in this open part of Italy, and so to ensure visitors to the region get a good night’s sleep, noise pollution has been diminished, due to the structure of the performing space focusing sound to those immediately near it. A special device designed by the University of Tor Vergata has equipped the stage with solar panels to supply the lighting system.
The Music Art Village boasts a 100% Eco structure: the food area offers genuine organic products; the eco-bazaar is the ideal spot for some green summer shopping; the recycling point ensures that all waste gets eliminated according to sustainable criteria. Conferences, workshops, and many more events embody this year’s “Listen, eat and drink sustainably” theme. There are lectures on renewable energies, environmental and the Zero Waste concept.
Music and sustainability, in an idyllic Italian setting? Something to celebrate, indeed.
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