The paper applies the community resilience approach to the post‐disaster case of Pescomaggiore, an Italian village affected by the L'Aquila earthquake in 2009. A group of residents refused to accept the housing recovery solutions proposed by the government, opting for autonomous recovery. They developed a housing project in the form of a self‐built ecovillage, characterised by earthquake‐proof buildings made of straw and wood. The project is a paradigmatic example of a community‐based response to an external shock. It illustrates the concept of ‘community resilience’, which is widely explored in the scientific debate but still vaguely defined. Based on qualitative methodologies, the paper seeks to understand how the community resilience process can be enacted in alternative social practices such as ecovillages. The goal is to see under which conditions natural disasters can be considered windows of opportunity for sustainability.