Corippo: The Village That Wants to Become a Hotel

The tiny mountain village of Corippo, perched on the Swiss Alps, is much more than a village. It is an autonomous municipality with its own coat of arms and a mayor who leads the town council consisting of only three local citizens. With only twelve residents, Corippo is the smallest municipality in Switzerland. And its population is progressively shrinking—just two years ago it had fourteen.

When Corippo became a fully independent municipality in the mid-19th century, it had a population of nearly three hundred. But like many Alpine communities, Corippo has experienced depopulation for the past several decades with the younger generation moving out to the towns and cities for work and education and an overall better life. Only the very old and the very weak remained behind. Out of the twelve residents, only the mayor is employed; the rest are pensioners. The average age is 75. Soon, the residents fear, Corippo will have no one left.

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Tambako The Jaguar/Flickr

To prevent Corippo from becoming a ghost town, a local nonprofit foundation called “Fondazione Corippo 1975”, has come up with a plan—turn the entire village into a tourist resort.

Corippo has about 60 empty houses built from the local Ticino granite with dry stone roofs and chestnut wood floors. Some of these houses have remained untouched for more than sixty years. The idea is to turn some of these houses into vacation cottages. The village restaurant will become the reception, the village square the lobby, the streets will be like corridors and the houses will be the hotel rooms.

This concept is known as albergo diffuso or “scattered hotel”, and was first tried in northeastern Italy to revive villages that had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1976. It has never been tried in Switzerland.

The first cottage, the two-bedroom Casa Arcotti, opened to guests in late July 2018. The rest of the cottages are currently being refurbished, and the hotel proper is scheduled to open in 2020.

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Photo credit: mbeo/Flickr

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Photo credit: Benediktv/Flickr

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Photo credit: Ziegler175/Wikimedia

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Photo credit: vorFilm Renatus Mauderli GmbH for HotellerieSuisse

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Photo credit: Ticino Turismo

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Photo credit: Ticino Turismo

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