Tourists looking for an authentic taste of Swiss mountain life may soon be able to find it in Corippo. The tiny, Italian-speaking village nestled in the Alps is working on repurposing many of its houses into rentable rooms, essentially transforming the centuries-old town into an albergo diffuso, or “scattered hotel.”
As CNN reports, the plan to draw tourists to Corippo is more than a money-making scheme: It’s a last-ditch effort to ensure the town’s survival. With just 12 full-time residents (11 of which are over 65), Corippo is the smallest municipality in Switzerland. The town’s economy is on its way to becoming nonexistent, with the local osteria serving as its only business.
But a local foundation called Fondazione Corippo 1975 believes that Corippo and its quaint, 19th-century cottages are worth saving. In order to do that, it’s trying to raise $6.5 million to convert it into a resort. That money will be used to open 30 of the village’s 70 buildings up to paying guests. If the plan is successful, visitors to the town would significantly outnumber permanent residents.
Converting a whole town into a hotel isn’t unprecedented. Albergo diffusos are a lucrative business in Italy, but Corippo would be Switzerland’s first. As of August 2018, Fondazione Corippo has raised $2.7 million for the project through public funding and bank loans. If you’d like to experience Corippo before it gets too touristy, the town’s first rentable cottage, which opened this summer, is available for $130 a night.
BY MICHELE DEBCZAK/Mentalfloss