Story: Wellness style

Where architecture, history and philosophy meet

More than one century of life for Monte Verità, the centenary of the Bauhaus movement in 2019, and thousands of years for the tea plant: in Ascona, there's no lack of history.

Monte Verità was and still is a pole of attraction for people seeking an alternative lifestyle. Their dream was shared, at least in part, with an art movement ‒ the Bauhaus ‒ that has reached its first century of life. Born in 1919, in Weimar, it has influenced dance, theatre, design and architecture... arriving, in 1927, in Ascona, where the Bauhaus-style hotel was built by the architect Emil Fahrenkamp. The cultural aura of Monte Verità influenced the whole region, from Minusio to Onsernone Valley, and many people were drawn to Ascona by curiosity.

THE CHARACTER

Jasmine Trogu, Hospitality Manager of the Monte Verità hotel

Jasmine Trogu, Hospitality Manager of the Monte Verità hotel
We only have one television set. For the World Cup, we had to bring it into the hall to watch the games.

THE COMPLETE STORY


Hospitality is the key word in a hotel as Jasmine Trogu, Hospitality Manager of the Monte Verità hotel, is well aware. She welcomes guests and accompanies them to discover the hotel's peculiarities. How do they react?

Some say: it feels like being in a sanatorium. And they're right! This place was called the Sanatorium and here the spirit of the people was cured through a healthy lifestyle and diet together with air and sun baths. It's important for guests to know the particularities and history of the place to understand it better. When they come to check in, I try to understand if they already know something about Monte Verità and, if they don't, I explain it to them. Instead, if they're not interested, I stop: I don't want to exaggerate.

Are all of your guests interested in the place's history and architecture?

No. We are a historic hotel. We have 52 rooms and various types of guests: many people come here for a congress and perhaps they don't feel the strength that's here. Others ‒ the enthusiasts ‒ have already heard of this place and don't want to miss anything, even a handle or a bedside lamp. Others are not here for the history, but, when I begin to tell them about the mysterious aura of the place, in their eyes I see a growing interest. One couple was so enthusiastic they took photos of every detail.

Here in the hotel we have many Bauhaus-style objects (chairs and lamps). You'll find interesting pieces everywhere. What you won't find is television: we have just one set in the whole hotel!

Sometimes this both amazes and intrigues guests.

Monte Verità

And do you know every corner of this place?

“I wander through Monte Verità discovering something new every day. It's difficult to understand all the peculiarities of this place. You must take it as it is. I'm rather perfectionist and sometimes that's difficult. It's very different from a normal hotel. You can't get bored here.”

This place of healing for the body and the mind, back in 1900 became a pole of attraction for people seeking an alternative lifestyle. Artists such as Hermann Hesse, Rudolf von Laban, the psychologist Otto Gross, aristocrats, anarchists and many others who believed in a new society lived on this hill with its special energy. 

Some people come here with no idea of the history of this building, so I guide them.

Bauhaus is the most visible style, but, on this hill, there is a great wealth of architectural styles. It's a collage of History, a complex museum in which you can travel through time. Monte Verità hosts conferences, exhibitions, events, and dinners, or you can wander around through the woods discovering buildings that tell the story of the hill and those who lived there. For that, a visit to the Casa Anatta museum is a perfect way to understand the spirit of the place.

Monte Verità

This particular building has been restructured and reopened after 8 years and it now immerses the visitor in a Utopian world.

Pro tip
Since 1989, the Hotel Monte Verità has been a co-administered seminar centre of the ETH Zurich.
In Ascona the influence of the artistic movement can be seen in the rationality of some buildings including the Hotel Monte Verità and the Teatro San Materno.
In Ticino there are many energy places. These include the Monte Verità hill, the Bigorio convent, the Santa Petronilla waterfalls, the Sacro Monte Madonna del Sasso or the Sass da Grüm.

In the woods on the hill you can also daydream looking at the pools or sculptures among the trees, or enjoy something sweet with a cup of tea.

It's a very nice workplace.

Monte Verità

“The Bauhaus-style hotel on Monte Verità was built in 1927 by Emil Fahrenkamp.”

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