Experiencing the Ces community ?
Ces is a small village in the southern Swiss Alps. It is situated on a wild wide plain on 1450 m., high above the Leventina Valley, one of the main traffic connections between Northern and Southern Europe. The village has about 25 houses and stables, some of them in ruins, others already rebuilt. As there is no road leading to Ces, the only way to reach this spot is by walking up the mountain. This takes about two hours, depending on your physical condition.
In the early 70’s, some young people discovered Ces as an almost abandoned place. They began to reconstruct houses, started their first garden experiences and got into farming work. To provide these activities with a legal base, the “Foundation for the renewal of Ces” was founded.
Today the “Fondazione” owns one third of the Ces buildings, including five houses, some gardens and plenty of agricultural land. In the summertime there are up to fifty and more persons living in Ces, together with the core group of 5 to 8 persons. This core group keeps the place going in the wintertime.
The activities of the Ces community do not follow a special political or spiritual ideology beyond a strong relation to nature and ecology, as well as to community life and social autonomy.
Ces is a remote place, but not isolated: The project aims to have some influence on the “outer world” and demonstrate alternative lifestyles. As we often get visitors from many nations, we are supplied with plenty of new inspiration.
Working in Ces
The main working season is from June to September, with a peak in June / July due to the hay gathering work. Our different work branches are: Gardening, agriculture, constructing work, wood chopping and keeping contact with our visitors in the guest house. As we do not use many machines, some of the work is physically strenuous. Working time may be irregular, depending on weather conditions, but takes about eight hours a day. We expect from all participants some efforts in the daily cooking and house work. Officially this is seen as holidays or doing voluntary work.
Usually we offer living and sleeping facilities in one or two of our houses. As we are sleeping in common sleeping rooms with two to ten beds, there is not much privacy inside the houses. Although we built our own small hydro power plant, we decided not to lead electricity wires into every house. Our life is simple: We’re cooking on a wood fire stove, and discussions and games are shared by candle light. Organic food is partly produced in our own gardens, partly provided by other suppliers. Although we are not all strictly vegetarians, we do not eat much meat.
The local language is Italian. The members of the “Fondazione“ and most of our guests usually speak Swiss German, but some of us are also able to speak English, Italian, French, Dutch or Spanish.
For full time work, we normally provide free food and accommodation. But we appreciate contributions to these costs. For part time work, visitors pay for the food (about CHF 12 a day); just for holidays, CHF 10 in addition for accommodation. We can not pay travelling fee or any other contributions.
Please ensure your accident insurance includes incidents in Switzerland.
To take with you:
Warm clothes and good protection against rain (we do have some Wellingtons), good, strong shoes, a good sleeping bag and a torch. No dogs or other animals.
To get in contact
We invite you to share our community life for one or two weeks. Extension is possible if you fit in. Please, contact us before you arrive to ensure that there is space. Telephone +41.91.865.14.14.
To get there…
By train from the North: Coming from Basel or Zürich, passing Arth-Goldau and the Gotthard tunnel, leaving the train at Airolo or Faido. From there take a PTT-Bus to Lavorgo.
By train from the South: Coming from Milano, Chiasso, Lugano or Locarno, leaving the train at Bellinzona or Biasca. From there take a PTT-Bus to Lavorgo.
In Lavorgo take a smaller PTT-Bus to Chironico-Posta. From there you have to walk up the hill, following the yellow signs marked “Ces”.