4281 - Gisbert's Grotto

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Gisbert Lippett first came to the remote island of Filicudi, off Sicily, in 1972. He had just left the German navy and was looking for a new way of life. He bought some land with an abandoned cave high up on a hill with stunning views, and decided to settle here; but instead of building a house be chose to dig deeper into the cave. Following ancient practices, Gisbert realized he could create for himself a self-sufficient existence. Decades later, he is still here, living almost like a hermit, but having re-started a way of life that others were soon to follow – currently there are several other “cave dwellers” living nearby on this beautiful island! Gisbert lives without electricity or mains water – and sells his paintings to the many curious passer-bys who come to visit his unique style of life. His grotto home is remarkably comfortable and spacious – having several separate spaces, many niches, various shelves built into the walls and two entrances allowing light and air to flood in. The roughly hewn walls are limewashed, but the floor is smoothly cemented – outside there is a bio compost toilet and a large oven fuelled by the endless supply of wood and branches nearby; Gisbert also grows as much of his food as he can. An amazing and inspirational way of living! Writer Adam Butler

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