Corippo, a hillside village on the Italy-Switzerland border, might have very few remaining residents, but they’re not letting their community slip into extinction so easily. Once a farming town of 300 people, the population has since dwindled to 12, with the only economic activity generated by the local restaurant. Now, they’re pulling out all the stops to ensure their survival by turning the entire village into a tourist destination. With the help of Fondazione Corippo, a local nonprofit, Corippo is repurposing 30 of its 70 buildings as a “scattered hotel” called Casa Arcotti.
Borrowing the scattered hotel model from Italy, Corippo will turn many of its centuries-old buildings into vacation cottages and hotel rooms. Fabio Giacomazzi, an architect and president of Fondazione Corippo, told CNN that the town’s repurposing will give visitors “the chance to experience a very particular sojourn in a genuine rural village that remained practically the same since 1800.”
While the project is still in its initial stages, the first two-bedroom cottage opened to guests in July. The restaurant will soon be transformed into the hotel’s dining room and reception area, and the town’s public squares will become open-air communal spaces. A mill, bakery, and chestnut-drying room will also be repurposed.
The feasibility of the project is still uncertain, but Giacomazzi is optimistic that it will boost resident numbers. “We hope 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.
Although only $2.7 million of the total $6.5 million has been raised for the project’s completion, the town is encouraged by the concept’s popularity. In 2017, the project won the Swiss hotel and restaurant association Gastrosuisse’s Hotel Innovation Award, and has garnered much international attention.
Casa Arcotti is scheduled to open by Easter 2020.