The Sassi Turchini Project
The Sassi Turchini project was created and developed by AVGE (Elba’s Group Volunteers Association) from Bagno a Ripoli, founded by Don Andrea Faberi in 1977. The association’s members, who have been working for years on the Elba’s territory, have as their goal to organize community life experience between teenagers and disabled people, reconfirm over time the dedication that brings them each summer to that stretch of the coast. Since the goal is to create opportunities for interaction between teenagers, the association gradually required sedentary approach. From here the idea, sprouted in 2001, of a holiday home in Sassi Turchini.
Thanks to a professional volunteer teenager group’s effort and thanks to the important local institution involvement like municipalities of Porto Azzurro and Bagno a Ripoli, Tuscany Region, the project succeeded and the facility was finally inaugurated. The Isola d’Elba, the association’s island since 1990, became fully accessible with its own building dedicated to the special need’s tourism. Since 2011 the tourism and the people who come to Sassi Turchini have joined hands together and they convert this diversity into resources.
The basic idea of the entire structure of Sassi Turchini is to benefit from a community experience on the island. The Elba island and the accommodation become the symbol of a bigger project, that is to involve either people with special needs or people with social disadvantage in a significant context and, moreover, allow hosted teenagers of Sassi Turchini to develop new forms of interaction, among themselves, influenced by astonishing landscapes and contemporary buildings. The choices made by the Elba Group Volunteer Association, therefore, have always sought consistency with the principle of full accessibility, which should not be misunderstood as a simple assistance for the architectural barriers that the specially abled, face, but rather as something broader.
At Sassi Turchini, the barriers of prejudice and indifference are torn down, as well as those of the traditional tourism, which considered it impossible to create, in the heart of the Tuscan archipelago, a receptive structure so innovative and entirely dedicated to social tourism.
Sassi Turchini was born with the idea of hosting all kinds of tourists, without architectural barriers, but also without the exclusivity of social tourism. At Sassi Turchini different realities mix up and complete each other, giving a chance at living together and sharing original experiences.
We host association holidays, group homes, social cooperatives, self managed groups and any other type of congregation that needs a careful and inclusive hospitality.
We work in collaboration with marine biologists, scuba diving instructors and environmental guides on the island. We can therefore offer activities suitable for any type of user, always linked to the nature available on the island.
Sassi Turchini works for the environment as a concern for global ecological ethic, and also as a responsibility of the environment in which it is situated: the island. At Sassi Turchini it is possible to organize holidays with environmental objectives such as the redevelopment of the CAI paths, the cleaning of the beaches and any other activity that concerns the conservation of the environment.
Furthermore, the entire Sassi Turchini project addresses to specific environmental sustainability and thermal insulation characteristics, due to which it is recognized as “class A”: it has solar panels, a passive cooling system and a rainwater reuse system.
For several years Sassi Turchini has not only been the ideal destination for school trips from Italy, but also from abroad. The structure lends itself particularly well both for the conformation of the rooms, and for the common areas dedicated to meals and activities.
We work in collaboration with marine biologists, diving instructors and environmental guides on the island, we can therefore propose activities suitable for any age group, always linked to the peculiar naturalistic variety of the island, in addition to the guided tours to the mines and their museums. The island also offers points of historical interest, such as routes linked to the history of Napoleon, who stayed there from May 1814 to March of the following year.
Setting a school trip to Sassi Turchini also means familiarizing young people with the principles of inclusion and support of the weaker sections of society and with the good standards for greater environmental sustainability.