A tiny Swiss village on the verge of becoming a ghost town will instead be saved by converting its buildings into a giant hotel.
Tucked away in the steep inclines of Switzerland’s Verzasca valley is the absurdly picturesque hamlet of Corippo. The tiny town, incorporated in 1822 but known to have existed since at least the year 1224, has remained virtually untouched for centuries. Original slate rooves mined from local granite still adorn all 70 of Corippo’s structures and make the entire town look like it came straight out of a fairy tale.
Today, the town is nearly deserted. What used to be a farming village of 300 has been reduced to only a dozen residents with nearly all of them over the age of 65. The only local business is a single dilapidated restaurant. If things were to remain as they are, the town would be deserted in just a few decades.
But all hope is not lost for Corippo. The problem of its decline was foreseen as early as 1975 when the Swiss government saw the quaint historical town as something worthy of being saved. The Fondazione Corippo (Italian for Corippo Foundation) was created to investigate ways of rejuvenating and preserving the town, with their latest idea finally coming close to fruition.
Back in the mid-‘90s, Fondazione Corippo president Fabio Giacomazzi had the idea of turning Corippo into an "albergo diffuso," or a scattered hotel. The model had been used in various Italian villages before with great success, and it’s believed that Corippo’s breathtaking vistas and historical architecture could do the same in Switzerland.
Thirty unoccupied buildings were designated to be renovated and turned into hotel rooms. The first room opened last July and can already be rented for a rate of $133 per night. The rest of the hotel isn’t slated to open until spring of 2020.
However, there are still problems for Corippo to overcome, with water supply issues being chief among them. Access is also a problem, with only a single road leading to the village and no building having road access but for the town square.
Still, Corippo offers a unique and exciting alternative to the usual resorts of Europe. If you want to get away from it all, and even many of the niceties of 21st-century living, Corippo might just be the spot for you.