Cascina Simonetto is a special place.
Above all owing to its geographical position.
Situated about twenty kilometres from Turin, on a rise in the morainic hills of Rivoli and Villarbasse, bordering on the Susa and Sangone valleys, it dominates the area and commands views of its most symbolic features: the Basilica of Superga to the east, Mount Musinè to the north, Mount San Giorgio near Piossasco to the south and the Sacra di San Michele to the west, against the picturesque backdrop of the Alps.
Because of its closeness to the morainic hills, with their walks, cycle paths, woodlands and distinctive erratic boulders, the natural environment of the area where Cascina Simonetto stands has been protected.
The original “phalanstère”-type structure has been preserved, a single yet complex building, ideal for hosting separate though synergistic activities and courses.
This is the impression you get when you visit Cascina Simonetto for the first time: of a place made up of lots of places.
And the eight hectares of land surrounding the building create the sensation of a large protected space, full of nature and brimming with potential.
Cascina Simonetto is a special place for its history.
In its three centuries of life it has witnessed an extraordinary alternation of cycles, of lives, of energies.
It has been a forward-thinking farm, it has generated wealth and wellbeing in different periods thanks to the generosity of its land and hard work of its inhabitants. It has been a place of shelter and care. It has celebrated births and marriages. Children have grown up here and never forgotten the magic of their childhood in this place.
It has known death, as a natural and cyclic phenomenon and as an unjust and violent event.
It has seen a great variety of people pass through its doors, not least the renowned sensitive Gustavo Rol.
So what is there to say about the genius loci of Cascina Simonetto? That it is linked to the land, the landscape, the nature, its beauty and abundance: ancient features of this place, that can be traced back through its history.
But this is also a place where new ideas have been experimented with and innovative projects have flourished.
In the 1930s it was the passion and foresight of Massimo Gianoli that transformed Cascina Simonetto into a farm that was innovative in every way.
It was instead the tragic events of 1945 that cast a gloomy shadow over this place.
Nonetheless, it soon attracted new stories, new lives and has resisted various attempts to alter and redefine its nature.
Though broken and mortally wounded, Cascina Simonetto still demonstrated, as it were, a resilient spirit, true to its deepest nature.
After a long period of immobility and purification, today this place has acquired new talents and strengths, as a direct result of that terrible wound.
The talent for creative transformation, for instance, for healing, reflection and spirituality.
Now Cascina Simonetto is looking to the future and reflecting on its mission.