By becoming a “scattered hotel,” tiny towns with decreasing populations could find new life.

By Andrea Romano
October 02, 2018
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There are plenty of amazing hotels in idyllic-looking towns to stay at while you’re in Switzerland, but this little town is looking to make their entire village into a one-stop resort.

The village of Corippo, located in the Italian-speaking region of Ticino, is a gorgeous little place with tons of character, history, and local flavor. But there’s a big problem: The small town’s residents have decreased from around 300 to 12. And 11 of those residents are over the age of 65, according to CNN.

This puts the village in a terrible predicament. Either the residents must find ways boosting the local economy, or be doomed to becoming extinct as a town. And so in July officials gave a local charity, Fondazione Corippo 1975, authorization to transform 30 of the village’s buildings into a hotel complex, The New York Times reported.

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According to CNN, Fabio Giacomazzi, an architect and president of the foundation, got the idea for the “scattered hotel” from several Italian villages. Sextantio, Il Borgo di Sempronio, and Corte della Maestà are all different Italian towns that were transformed into alberghi diffusi.

About $2.7 million was raised as of August, according to the Times, to transform the town. Among the many plans includes renovating private cottages and hotel rooms, expanding the town restaurant, and turning the town square into a reception area. In addition, businesses like the old mill, a public bakery, and local farming will also be revitalized, according to SwissInfo.

But not everyone is on board with the idea. Some doubt the sustainability of having a hotel built where the locals are over retirement age. “If we’re talking about sustainable tourism, we should start by asking exactly who will be left here in 10 years to welcome the tourists,” Alfredo Scilacci, an architect in Geneva who inherited a family home in Corippo, told Times. Residents also have voiced their concern, stating that the village should be more focused on town preservation and upkeep.

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But Giacomazzi told CNN that the prospect of a bustling village may draw in younger locals as well as tourists to revitalize the town. “We hope that the hotel will offer the opportunity for a young family to undertake the management and to settle in Corippo together with some employees,” he said.

CNN reported that one small cottage, Casa Arcotti, has already been opened to the public, while the rest of the hotel/village could open around Easter 2020.

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