Bella Ciao


Bella Ciao is a small one room cabin built in 1999 by a women’s building workshop. In a one week workshop a dozen women put up the walls and our interns completed the roof during that summer.

Bella Ciao is a load bearing straw bale house, which means the weight of the roof rests on the straw bales. There is no wooden frame in the structure. We call Bella Ciao a “cabin” because it is only a bedroom; it doesn’t have a kitchen or bath. Because it is small and well insulated Bella Ciao is easy to heat with a small wood stove.

Bella Ciao’s interior has an earthen plaster finish and an earth floor. Our exterior and interior plasters are made of clay from the foundations of our buildings, sand from our local quarry, and straw from our local farmers. Our earth floors are made of the same material and are oiled with linseed oil to produce a waterproof and durable finish. The floor can be swept and mopped, and has held up well after two years of traffic, but can get scratched when furniture is being moved.