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Our history

An existential journey born on a windy night

It was a dark and stormy night…

It is not the beginning of a novel but the beginning of the story that we want to tell you.

It was really a dark and stormy night – or, at least, a very windy one On board a rented Beneteau OcĂ©anis, we were awake because we feared that the anchor would not hold up, with the risk that our boat would collide with some other unfortunate yachtsman.

It was the summer of 2017 and we still didn’t know that that night of wind, sea, bright stars and chatter would change everything. But let’s go in order.

Who among us hasn’t tasted the freedom of summer and hasn’t fantasized, at least once, about changing their life? We too started browsing online and looking if there were open tenders to obtain some abandoned property in concession and radically transform our existence, made up of work commitments, hectic life, a lot of satisfaction but also a lot of stress.

Yes, there was an open tender for the management of splendid lighthouses, but the economic conditions were prohibitive for us. “We will try again” was the promise we made that night. We had already felt the need to completely revolutionize the pivot around which our days revolved for 350 days a year and it was becoming more and more pressing.

So, when we returned to Milan we kept that promise and continued to search, until we came across the “Cammini e Percorsi” notice.

We began to browse among the available buildings (the call was aimed at the redevelopment of disused public structures) and in front of Lot 25 our heart began to beat.

Roll up your sleeves to give your dreams wings

On paper, it was love at first sight: a splendid place, surrounded by nature and very close to a tourist city already known and appreciated as Alghero. In the following months we organized an inspection and the live viewing of the former SR 413 battery multiplied our enthusiasm. By now it was decided: we would have organized to participate in the announcement of the State Property Agency.

Together with some friends who immediately shared the spirit of our project, at the end of 2017 we set up a cooperative (Il Quinto Elemento).

Perché una Cooperativa?

The call was aimed at companies, cooperatives and associations made up mostly of under 40s. Our choice fell on a cooperative because our intent was not only to change our lives, but to make a social contribution to the community. We imagined an accommodation facility that, with a view to seasonal adjustment and inclusion, was open almost all year round and could offer stays at a controlled price to associations and organizations with which we have entered into partnerships.

Che significato ha il nome della Cooperativa Il Quinto Elemento?

We all know that the natural elements, understood as states of aggregation of matter, are four: fire, burning state; air, gaseous state; water, liquid state; earth, solid state. Each of us relates to the surrounding world, each of us is immersed in the elements. But at the same time we too, as people, can make a difference. The Fifth Element is represented by people and their actions in the world around them.

It was time to roll up our sleeves: after having founded the Cooperative, it was necessary to go deeply into the study of the announcement and present a coherent proposal. We have been thinking about it for months, even if the call has made it easier for us: in fact, the promotion of slow tourism, the focus on environmental sustainability and the recovery of collective assets were fully part of the type of planning we wanted to develop. We then worked a lot on the networks, contacting Bodies and Associations to create a support network for our initiative.

When the call for the opening of the envelopes and the award of the concession finally arrived, we told ourselves that we had done our best and that, whatever the verdict, we had no regrets.

From the victory to the approval of the project

Yes, we won: overwhelmed by joy and incredulity, for a moment we thought that most was done … but of course we were wrong.

IIn fact, until the end of 2020 we were engaged in a complex authorization process that made us reshape the project on the basis of the requirements of the bodies involved. The path was long and more complex than we expected, but in the end, thanks to the contribution of some interlocutors – first and foremost the Superintendency and the Porto Conte Regional Natural Park – our vision on the reuse of the former SR413 battery became more deeply integrated in the historical and naturalistic context.

In the meantime, we were busy on another front: recovering the economic resources to be able to carry out the restoration work. Thanks to a crowdfunding at our round of contacts and with the fundamental support of Banca Etica, which immediately believed in our project, we have recovered the necessary sum.

And now?

A few weeks separate us from the opening of The Sea Retreat Yes, it’s true, we don’t really know howwe will be able to open it, because – the icing on the cake – our whole story has crossed nothing less than a global pandemic. But after years of perseverance, we have learned one thing: when you truly commit to a goal and believe in it, any obstacle can be overcome.

We are waiting for you in Punta Giglio!

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