Once upon a time there was an abandoned village, like many in Romania. This village is in the west of the country, in Arad County. Its story had not always been sad, but now the 5 villagers left out of the 500 that used to live there lived a life outside of time.
Then an Italian entrepreneur fell in love with the area. Osvaldo Martinelli came to set up there the culmination of his project Agro Village.
Paulo Zanetti, who works with Osvaldo, told us about it:
“Agro Village is a project with three main components: tourism, real estate, and farming. Right now only the first component, the tourism one, is operative, because in Labasint, in Arad County, there is a resort made up of a few elements: a 4-star hotel, a hostel, a disco, a pool, and a restaurant. There are there several structures spread over 4 ha, in a superb location, surrounded by forests, pastures, completely isolated from the civilized world.”
This year they plan to build homes for people who love country life. The third component, farming, outside the village, will consist of niche crops, in order to develop the agro-tourism side, as we were told about by our interlocutor:
“The idea is to involve elements that already exist in the area. We have small producers of dairy and honey, with a view to developing a network from already available elements, in order to develop the entire area for tourism. The idea came out of love of nature, for authentic places, for beautiful things. In addition, I must say nowadays there is a great need to get closer to nature once again. There are studies in Japan and the US which proved the fundamental importance of contact with nature, with forests, with trees, open spaces, far away from screens and smartphones. This has a major positive effect on the mind and the body.”
Paulo Zanetti told us that they want to offer all that, to bring people closer to nature:
“Our modern way of life has a lot of limitations, many of which emerged because of the pandemic, we saw the limits and shortcomings of our system. We should take a step back and get back in touch with nature, with simple and authentic things.”
We found out that Osvaldo Martinelli started the Agro Village project in 2007, but that it began with a house for his family and guests. They have started working on several buildings, up to the point when he opened them to the public, which was back in 2016.
Paulo Zanetti, Osvaldo's partner, told us about how a typical day is there:
“There is no one formula, because we avoided any formula, pattern, or schedule. Everyone makes their own day. There are many activities available. We have bicycles and ATVs, which we use for guided tours around the Agro Village, because around the place we have hundreds of hectares of forest, with hundreds of kilometers of trails and forest paths. This year we want to try something different: to organize motorized paragliding events, allowing people to fly low above the valleys and the forests. We have mountain biking, and many other activities, such as Nordic Walking. If you love wild mushrooms, this is the perfect period. If you don't necessarily enjoy such activities, you can catch some sunshine by the pool, which is heated using solar panels, where you can swim until late into the night, or you can just sit down for a beer with friends.”
This bucolic and relaxing place, with its forests and pastures, is now open to anyone who enjoys spending time in nature.