The Onsernone is an obscure mountain valley which begins west of the city of Locarno in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino in southern Switzerland. In bygone centuries, this, like other out-of-the-way Ticinese mountain valleys, lived on simple farming and handicrafts, such as the making of straw hats.

These were very poor areas, and life was a constant struggle. So much so that the poverty and isolation led to mass migration to the urban areas, especially among the young, turning the tiny mountain villages in these valleys practically into ghost towns.

In an effort to bring new life to one such village – Comologno – an association was formed to renovate a former villa and turn it into a unique rustic hotel with limited capacity. A restaurant has also been provided, which offers traditional meals. To give it a modern twist, the “Hotel Palazzo Gamboni“ also features a sauna and Jacuzzi.

This is a unique way to really get away from it all and enjoy “soft tourism” in the Onsernone Valley.

Bob Zanotti was able to hear more about the fascinating history of the village from a long-time resident.