Corippo, an 800-year-old hamlet overlooking the Verzasca Valley in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking Ticino region, is making a comeback with the opening of an albergo diffuso (scattered hotel), the first inn of its kind in the country and the cornerstone of efforts to preserve and revitalize the village. Originating in Italy, scattered hotels aren’t confined to one building; the one in Corippo, for example, features 10 en-suite guest rooms across five renovated, hand-built stone homes with artfully preserved wood-beam ceilings, picture windows, and cozy dimensions. Here are four reasons to stay at this fascinating year-round escape.
At its peak in 1850, Corippo’s population of farmers and shepherds numbered 315. Today, only 10 full-time residents walk the village’s narrow granite steps and ancient pathways. The medieval settlement’s nooks and crannies can only be explored on foot, but it’s well worth the effort, as you’ll discover religious frescoes, centuries-old fountains, an enchanting stone footbridge, a restored mill, and a 17th-century church.
Using ingredients grown both in the hotel’s garden and by local purveyors, chef Jeremy Gehring serves simple, fresh Italian cuisine that diners can enjoy along with the views on the terrace of the albergo diffuso’s osteria. Highlights include spaghetti with a tangy dry tomato pesto and creamy fresh goat cheese, tender beef cheeks with garden-herbs jus, and chocolate cake made with farina bena (roasted corn flour), which adds a subtle flavor of popcorn to the gooey confection.
Tranquility on Tap
There’s no traffic or crowds in Corippo, making the albergo diffuso an ideal, scenery-filled retreat. Wander the Valle Verzasca trail (one of many hiking paths in the region), which hugs the emerald Verzasca River through miles of dramatic canyons and passes by the double-arched Ponte dei Salti in Lavertezzo. At night, retire to your terrace to stare up at a sky that’s unfettered by light pollution and awash with shimmering stars.
Corippo may be sleepy, but there’s plenty to do nearby. It’s a short drive to Locarno’s Termali Salini & Spa, numerous boutiques, and Blu Restaurant & Lounge, with its eye-popping lakeside setting. Various local operators offer cycling, canyoneering, and diving in the summer, and snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, and ice-skating in the winter. Thrill-seekers can bungee jump off the Verzasca Dam, made famous by Pierce Brosnan when his James Bond leapt from it in the opening scene of 1995’s GoldenEye.
From $199, corippoalbergodiffuso.ch/en