The Project – EpiHub


EpiHub is the physical center and incubator of ideas for the Foundation, located in Valmorel, in the province of Belluno, within a 600 square meter building complex. “It is a complex project due to the mix of functions it contains,” declares architect Manlio Olivotto, a supporting member of the Foundation.

The inn, restaurant, and suites thus continue the territorial mission of a building complex that for a century has always served as a small hotel and restaurant for the valley. Through a radical refurbishment, the vocation for welcoming guests and acting as a social meeting hub is interpreted, aiming to preserve and enhance the culinary and cultural traditions of the area.

The architectural character recalls the “poor” building logic of the area, constructed through continuous additions and aggregations based on contingent necessity. The perimeter walls of the ground floor, the headquarters of the Foundation, are treated with a rustic coating of river pebbles embedded within a cage structure and with the addition of a U-shaped pavilion that alters the building’s geometry, deviating from the main scheme.

The first floor opens onto the valley with a large panoramic terrace intended for the restaurant, whose cladding is in natural larch wood, while the second floor houses the suites equipped with private saunas and all amenities.

The work is realized with advanced plant equipment: satellite connectivity to ensure the possibility of hosting digital nomads and with particular attention to environmental sustainability. Regarding this, architect Olivotto comments, “the thermal energy generation system is a biomass plant, with 20 kW of photovoltaic panels with a storage battery installed on the roof, and the professional kitchen has a 13 kW heat recovery system”.

An important building restoration within which EpiHub is located, where “Epi” derives from a nickname that colleagues used to call Piol. Here is documentation of his life enriched with objects from the era and an interactive version of his cultural heritage. The partnership with Dune is the heart of this artificial intelligence project aimed at enhancing and keeping his story alive.
This headquarters plays a central role in supporting and catalyzing the Foundation’s activities, for this reason, the project includes several areas: in addition to the already mentioned permanent exhibition on Elserino Piol, there will be a coworking space, a library, and an experimental space. The Foundation will also manage a space that will serve as a local Information Point for tourism but will be enriched with digital information supports.

Within EpiHub, there are also equipped spaces dedicated to training young people and professionals involved in the Foundation’s initiatives. These spaces are designed to prepare future generations to compete in the field of ICT and advanced technologies.

The Foundation’s headquarters is not just a place of collection and preservation, but also a dynamic space for periodic events that will highlight the activities and results achieved over time.

In summary, the restructuring of the Elserino Piol Foundation’s headquarters is a project aimed at creating a dynamic and innovative reference point that integrates past and present. It is a reference center and a catalyst for activities related to ICT and technological innovation, contributing to the revitalization of the area and the promotion of its cultural and technological heritage.




Valmorel is a hamlet of the municipality of Limana, in the province of Belluno and the birthplace of Elserino Piol (December 8, 1931). Evacuated during the war and later moved to Ivrea and Milan for work, Piol remained attached to his hometown where he used to spend a few weeks in the summer and a few winter days at Christmas at the family home.

Located about 800 meters above sea level, this hamlet, like many other mountain communities, faces economic and social difficulties due to depopulation, aging population, dwindling services, and economic activities.

The initiatives of the Elserino Piol Foundation are aimed at reversing this trend.

Valmorel has the right characteristics to constitute the operational starting point of the Foundation. The Foundation has a national scope, but the idea of using technology as a tool to repopulate rural and mountain areas finds an ideal ground in Valmorel to be a “laboratory of ideas” that can then be applied in other similar areas across the country.