Switzerland's Smallest Town May Soon Become a Sprawling Hotel

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.

[h/t CNN]

A Finnish Tourism Company Is Hiring Professional Christmas Elves

iStock.com/kali9
iStock.com/kali9

Finland isn't quite the North Pole, but it will be home to a team of gainfully employed Christmas elves this holiday season. As Travel + Leisure reports, the Scandinavian country's Lapland Safaris is looking for elves to get guests into the holiday spirit.

Lapland Safaris is a tourism company that organizes activities like snowmobiling, Northern Lights-gazing, skiing, and ice-fishing. The elf employees will be responsible for leading guests to their buses and conveying important information, all while spreading holiday cheer. The job listing reads, "An Elf is at the same time an entertainer, a guide, and a mythical creature of Christmas."

Each Lapland Safari elf will receive training through Arctic Hospitality Academy prior to starting the job. There, they will learn "the required elfing and communication skills." Training will be conducted in English, but candidates' knowledge of French, Spanish, or German is a plus.

To apply, aspiring elves can fill out and submit this form through Lapland Safaris's website. The gig lasts from November 2018 to the beginning of next year, with employees having the option to work at any of the company's Finnish destinations (Santa's workshop is unfortunately not included on the list).

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

The Truth Behind Italy's Abandoned 'Ghost Mansion'

YouTube/Atlas Obscura
YouTube/Atlas Obscura

The forests east of Lake Como, Italy, are home to a foreboding ruin. Some call it the Casa Delle Streghe (House of Witches), or the Red House, after the patches of rust-colored paint that still coat parts of the exterior. Its most common nickname, however, is the Ghost Mansion.

Since its construction in the 1850s, the mansion—officially known as the Villa De Vecchi—has reportedly been the site of a string of tragedies, including the murder of the family of the Italian count who built it, as well as the count's suicide. It's also said that everyone's favorite occultist, Aleister Crowley, visited in the 1920s, leading to a succession of satanic rituals and orgies. By the 1960s, the mansion was abandoned, and since then both nature and vandals have helped the house fall into dangerous decay. The only permanent residents are said to be a small army of ghosts, who especially love to play the mansion's piano at night—even though it's long since been smashed to bits.

The intrepid explorers of Atlas Obscura recently visited the mansion and interviewed Giuseppe Negri, whose grandfather and great-grandfather were gardeners there. See what he thinks of the legends, and the reality behind the mansion, in the video below.

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