Igloos warm hearts in old ski town where migrants fill hotel

Igloos warm hearts in old ski town where migrants fill hotel
In this photo taken on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, Moussa Sissoko, of Mali, left, helps build an igloo with Davide Midali, owner of an igloo village in San Simone di Valleve, near Bergamo, northern Italy. The local hotel now houses about 80 African asylum-seekers who were assigned to live there, but those migrants have picked up the art of igloo making to help a local restaurant owner realize a project to lure tourists back to this dying mountain resort. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
Igloos warm hearts in old ski town where migrants fill hotel
In this photo taken on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018, Omar Kanteh, of Gambia, carries a block of ice as he builds an igloo at an igloo village in San Simone di Valleve, near Bergamo, northern Italy. The local hotel now houses about 80 African asylum-seekers who were assigned to live there, but those migrants have picked up the art of igloo making to help a local restaurant owner realize a project to lure tourists back to this dying mountain resort. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

SAN SIMONE DI VALLEVE, Italy (AP) — San Simone, a tiny village in the Italian Alps, once had a thriving ski trade. But financial issues kept the lifts closed this winter. A local hotel houses about 80 African asylum-seekers.

But restaurant owner Davide Midali saw promise in his struggling village and its new residents. To lure tourists, he decided to build igloos that could be rented overnight.

Several immigrants saw Midali working and offered to help. The six snow domes they built together have been fully booked on weekends since mid-January.

Midali also thinks he and the migrants understand each other better now and maybe have set a neighborly example.

Omar Kanteh, a Gambian citizen who came to Italy nine months ago, feels the same. He says he wants to stay in San Simone if Italy approves his asylum application.

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