Forget Formentera: the first hippy community was born in Switzerland

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Lluis Enric Mayans

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Forget Formentera: the first hippy community was born in Switzerland

We are used to thinking about flowers, long skirts, total freedom of thought and movement. The typical one of an island. The one that made it famous Formentera all over the world.

And yet hippy style that has pervaded for years the smallest of the Balearics, actually influencing fashion and furniture was born in Switzerland.

Yes, you got it right: in the small Swiss nation. There where the Alps reign supreme, where lakes and green hills draw postcard landscapes, and where rigor and punctuality are the cornerstones of its inhabitants.

And think: long before the 60s, those in which the flower children stormed Formentera to create a community still today among the most numerous in the world and condition the lifestyle of the islanders, which since then became much more open to the outside and more relaxed. in short, imagine that even in the very precise Switzerland the hippies were able to found their own community.

Tutto begins in 1906 in Ascona, in the Canton of Ticino. Here the myth of "Monte Verità" comes to life, a place where intellectuals, politicians, nudists and nature lovers loved to immerse themselves, work cultivating the land and stroll.

Almost all immigrants from northern Europe who, as an alternative to the capitalist lifestyle and industrialization, were looking for an escape route. People who rejected the dictates of a bourgeois society, in which they did not recognize themselves.

To do this they founded a colony called “vegetabiliana””Based on a series of principles: anarchy, psychology, politics, theosophy, mythology, social utopia, soul reform, dance, music, literature and art. What the community offered its inhabitants was an alternative way of life, based on freedom of thought and action.

And if today, in the new millennium, those who move to Switzerland do so above all for work, for cercare house for rent in Lugano and a better life, at the beginning of the twentieth century the dream of a free life was the dominant motif.

The idea was born following the visit of the founders to the vegetarian and naturist community of Veldes, which at the time was in Austria. The group, made up of other young people mostly from wealthy families, learns that near Locarno there is a community of vegetarians with long hair, inspired for some time by philosophies of life reform, or reform of life.

Together they decide that the Monte Verità area it would have been the perfect location for their movement.

The colony practiced one lifestyle based on simplicity, on nudism, on female emancipation, on free love and hygienic practices of life in the open air, called «baths of air and sun». A deeply vegan society. Its members, in fact, refused anything of animal origin: no eggs, no meat, no cheese and no milk.

In a short time the community it begins to host intellectuals and curious: the writer Herman Hesse and then artists like Alexej Jawlensy, Paul Klee and others psychoanalyst come Otto Gross e Karl Jung.

A truly unique world which, in 1926, was bought by a German banker, Eduard von der Heydt to build a hotel. Upon his death, Monte Verità became the property of the Canton of Ticino and in 2017, after a complete and faithful restoration, it was transformed into a museum where today it is possible to admire the carefully restored wooden huts and the outdoor shower that dates back to the time of the foundation.

A free and anarchic place, very far from the idea we have of Switzerland, long before '68 and the years of the beat generation.

If you are curious about find out how the first hippies lived, then you cannot miss it.

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