An Entire Swiss Village Could Become One Beautiful ‘Scattered Hotel’

With some of the world’s most dramatic peaks, quaint villages clinging to lakefront mountain cliffs, and pristine green space as far as the eye can see, Switzerland’s countryside is impossibly beautiful. Still, some Swiss residents can’t resist the call of the city. That draw has threatened many of its rural towns and villages with economic ruin. Now, the town of Corippo — the country’s smallest municipality — is poised to do something about it.

albergo corippo scattered hotel switzerland fondazione 4
Fondazione Corippo

Tucked into the Verzasca Valley, the pint-sized village of Corippo feels plucked from a fairytale. It’s a cluster of several dozen centuries-old granite buildings perched on a lush green slope. It’s a town frozen in time, one that provides an authentic glimpse at 19th-century Swiss life. However, in spite of its natural beauty and the fact that it’s just 30 minutes from the thriving resort city of Locarno, it’s in real danger of becoming a ghost town. The economics of living in such a remote mountain hamlet are harsh. Many of the town’s youngest residents left long ago for better job opportunities and a cushier way of life in the big city. Fast-forward through 200 years of steady decline, and what remains is just 12 permanent residents, 11 of whom are over 65 years old. Only one of them still works.

Still, this “diligent dozen” is facing the challenge of their town’s imminent collapse head-on. A grassroots foundation called Fondazione Corippo 1975 has taken up the town’s cause and vowed to bring it back from the brink. They’re proposing a novel concept called albergo diffuso. It will turn Corippo into Albergo Corippo, Switzerland’s first “scattered hotel.” It’s a clever though not unprecedented idea inspired by similar small towns in Italy. At first, 30 of the village’s original 70 buildings will be converted into hotel rooms and rental cottages. Together, the entire village will function as a single, alpine hotel.

Plans are to convert the town through a three-stage process. First, the osteria (Corippo’s only restaurant and the basis for much of its economy) will be refurbished to serve as the hotel’s reception and dining space. The areas around the church and town hall will serve as communal, open-air gathering space for guests. The streets will become the de facto hotel corridors, and the town mill and bakery will also undergo a full renovation. Lastly, the entire village will be landscaped to plant hemp, chestnut, and rye trees. The goal is to retain as much of the original history, culture, and flavor as possible to provide hotel guests with a one-of-a-kind vacation to an authentic Swiss village that has changed little since the 1800s.

The project has struggled for years, although it appears there may be light at the end of the tunnel. In August 2018, The New York Times reported that coordinators had raised nearly $3 million through bank loans and public funding.

It’s still early days for the Corippo project, so it’s difficult to say whether that will be enough to save the town from extinction. The village is hoping to officially open for business as a hotel Easter 2020. For now, travelers can rent the single Casa Arcotti cottage for around $135 per night.

Food & Drink

The History of Jazz Brunch and the U.S. Restaurants That Do It Right

The jazz brunch has an interesting backstory that started with one family in New Orleans. Now, the trend has spread to restaurants all over the country. Here's where to find the best ones.
Travel

8 Cozy Cabin Rentals You Wish You Could Escape to This Winter

Snow outside, a roaring fire inside. These are our eight favorite cabins for a quiet winter weekend retreat.
Travel

The 5 Most Scenic Amtrak Train Routes for Unparalleled Views of the United States

One of the great advantages of American rail travel — what makes the length and expense worth it — is the opportunity to see the breathtaking beauty of the land as you pass through it.
Travel

A Comprehensive Guide to Amtrak’s Northeast Regional Train Stops

By far the busiest — and the most profitable — of Amtrak’s national trains, the stations along Northeast Regional offer more than just a break from your commute.
Outdoors

Kosovo’s New Via Ferrata Berim Is Among Europe’s Most Death-Defying Climbs

If you like unnecessarily dangerous hikes, North Kosovo awaits.
Travel

Iceland’s Upscale Hostel KEX to Bring Michelin-Star Swagger to Portland, Oregon

This ain't the loud, sketchy, soulless hostel of your European backpacking days.
Travel

An Introductory Guide to Train Travel in the United States

With a little bit of forethought and preparation, you can turn Amtrak into Glamtrak.
Travel

The Best Places to Travel in January 2019

Thinner crowds, cheap airfare, and beautiful weather make these destinations some of the best places to travel in January.
Travel

The Best Travel and Adventure Documentaries on Netflix Right Now

If you're reading this, you're staring at a screen. Wouldn't you rather be exploring a different part of the world than the Internet? So get inspired.
Travel

7 Most Over-the-Top New Year’s Eve Experiences to Ring in 2019

Champagne? Check. Music? Check. Over-the-top festivities? Check.
Culture

10 Fiction Podcasts You Should Totally Get Sucked Into

Sit back, relax, and prepare for intrigue and adventure with the best serialized fiction podcasts.
Travel

Noken Delivers Custom, Hyper-Personalized Travel Guides Specific to You

Forget printed guidebooks and guided tours. Noken promises a whole new way to travel.
Fashion & Style

Travel Without the Tangle With These Tech Accessory Travel Organizers

With one of a travel organizer, you'll never have to unknot a bundle of charging cords again.
Travel

Imagine Checking In and Boarding Your Next Flight With Zero Human Interaction

London’s Heathrow Airport is one step closer to realizing that utopian vision.