Monte Verità – Ascona, Switzerland - Atlas Obscura

Monte Verità

Ascona, Switzerland

The Swiss hilltop housed an early 20th-century vegetarian nudist colony. 


In 1900, a man named Henri Oedenkoven bought Monte Verità, which translates to “Hill of Truth.” He, along with feminist pianist Ida Hofmann, soon established a vegetarian nudist colony on the Swiss hilltop.

Vegetable-loving, clothes-eschewing individuals swarmed to Monte Verità, creating their own little utopia that attracted a fair share of anarchists and early socialists.

Its individualistic residents were “tolerantly intolerant.” They were against private property, marriage, party politics, and, obviously, conventional dress. The colonists also opened a sunbathing establishment called the Monte Verità Sanatorium.

After the utopia’s founders emigrated in the 1920s, Monte Verità was transformed into a Modernist hotel that still stands today. The hilltop continued to attract an assortment of creative people and unconventional thinkers from all walks of life. It’s been a welcome haven for philosophers, free thinkers, and artists.

Now, the site also houses a conference facility and a museum about the hill’s history. The museum is spread across three different buildings: the wooden building that once housed the nudist vegetarian colony’s headquarters, the small building once used by the sunbathers, and another building that holds a painting called The Clear World of the Blessed

Know Before You Go

Visitors are welcome to wander about the manicured grounds, and can book an organized tour.