The yurts of Autosufficienza
When the Autosufficienza project was born in 2009, the place had not been inhabited for fifty years and the land had not been cultivated for twenty years.
There was no usable covered space. In 2010, in order to have a minimum base of support, we built a compost toilet (dry toilet) and ordered a yurt directly from Mongolia through Silent Breeze (a company that is no longer operational).
The yurt is the typical dwelling of the Mongolians but also of other neighbouring countries that are nomads by nature and usually move every 6 months. It is an easily assembled and disassembled structure comparable to a tent but with the advantage of having excellent insulation, which is traditionally made of felt (sheep, goat, camel, yak, etc.).
The first yurt, made self-sufficient thanks to a photovoltaic panel, a micro-wind turbine, a gel battery and a small wood stove, was initially a multifunctional space where we slept, ate and held classes, then became the woofers’ (volunteers’) dormitory and finally today a guest room for the camp’s guests.
In 2021, a new yurt, this time made in Italy, arrived in the agricamping for guests (laleggera140.wixsite.com/my-site). Compared to the original yurts, it is taller, sturdier and brighter. As insulation instead of felt, hemp was used, which is better suited to our climate, especially winter humidity.
Unlike traditional yurts where the fabrics are several overlapping pieces and held in place by ropes pulled tightly around the circumference, the outer fabric is a single piece and is screwed to the top of the hoop, the platform and all the edges of the frames. This ensures greater safety in the event of strong winds. Furthermore, externally there are no ropes that wear out the fabric a lot, the only structural holding rope is a stainless steel cable that holds the wooden structure and runs inside.
The yurts on the farm have basic furnishings, with untreated wooden floors, LED lighting and 4 and 6 beds respectively. They do not have a bathroom, which is in a separate structure.
What permits are needed to install a yurt?
The same as for putting up a tent if no foundations, masonry work or permanent connections are made.
Each municipality has different legislation on the possibility of placing tents in private, agricultural, etc. areas.
Where is it possible to buy a yurt?
The ever-growing demand has meant that the supply has also grown in Italy. On the internet you can find various sellers, some produce others import.
We got on very well with Diego Carletti (laleggera140.wixsite.com/my-site). He also helped us renovate the old yurt, which after 10 years needed a bit of maintenance.
How much does a yurt cost?
The price varies depending on the diameter, origin, number of frames, finish, etc.
To give an indication, the first yurt we bought in 2010 with a diameter of 6.5 metres cost 5,000 euro. The second purchased in 2021 with a diameter of 5 metres cost 7,500 euros. Over the past year, prices have risen further.
Then there is always the need to make a platform on which to place the yurt. We have always self-built it from chestnut and larch wood with an approximate cost of 1,000 euro.
What maintenance work is needed?
During the winter it would be good to light the stove from time to time, especially when it is cold because the felt suffers a lot from moisture.
Every 3-4 years, the outer UV protection sheet should be replaced.