19 Nov 2021 – 10 Apr 2022

Monte Verità. Back to nature

Curated by

Chiara Gatti, Nicoletta Mongini and Sergio Risaliti

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Where and when


19November 2021


10April 2022

Museo Novecento

A journey of freedom, in a place where you can breathe true utopia and dream of a different world. At the dawn of the twentieth century, the colony of Monte Verità settled among the luxuriant woods and the gentle hills overlooking Lake Maggiore prophetically anticipated themes that are vital today, between the ecology of living and the ecology of the soul. Its founders were absolute pioneers of organic and eco-friendly living, vegetarian culture and natural body care. Since then, this history and this journey to the origins of a regenerated relationship between man and creation has been nourished by an extraordinary force of topicality.

Exhibition Hours


Monday – Sunday

11:00 am

8:00 pm



Monday Sunday

11:00 am

9:00 pm


The exhibition is dedicated to the famous hill of utopia, to its founders and illustrious guests who saw in its spaces suspended in time a good retreat away from the drama of wars and also from the ideological clash between capitalism and communism that was going through Europe. Cradle of an existence based on primitive rhythms, it became the laboratory of a new culture, a counter-culture born in response to bourgeois conformism and dominant thought, which attracted thinkers and anarchists, philosophers, theosophists, writers, artists and architects from every country. . All together, welcomed in a land kissed by the sun, they adhered to the model of community life promoted by the German movement of the “Lebensreform,” (reform of life).

The project traces the centenary experience of Monte Verità which intertwines the destinies of intellectuals and masters of the twentieth century. From the anarchist Bakunin to the Hungarian choreographer Rudolf von Laban, from the anarcho-communist theorist Pëtr Kropotkin to the Dadaist Hugo Ball, from the dancer Isadora Duncan to the great writer Hermann Hesse; and, again, from the Bauhaus architect Walter Gropius to the artists Hans Arp and Paul Klee, from Carl Gustav Jung to the curator Harald Szeemann who, fascinated by the history of the place, dedicated to him in 1978 a traveling exhibition in Europe with the emblematic title “Monte Verità. The breasts of truth”.

Germinated from the ribs of nineteenth-century romanticism and anarchism, the vocation of the colonists represents the first, true and larval historical reaction to the harmful achievements of modernity: industrialization and urbanization, individualism and exploitation, social divides, repression and militarism. Against the backdrop of a chaotic metropolitan development, the sudden loss of direct relationship with nature had produced that long literature of escape, made tragic and epic by the pages of Joseph Conrad and Jack London, by Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau and by the paintings of the Nabis.

Vegan nutrition, heliotherapy and nudism, gymnastics, dance and meditation were the daily practices of a community that inspired, among the many subjects, also the famous 2018 film by Mario Martone, Capri-Revolution, testifying to a widespread interest still today towards the radical episodes of anarchist experiences as a social utopia, a pacifist and libertarian dream made possible by a “reform of life” that starts precisely from the regeneration of the body and spirit in a place, as Ise Gropius would later say, “where our forehead touches the sky”.

The exhibition is divided in three stages, between the philosophical origins of the Monte, the development of its architecture and the art of dance, sinks into the memory of this remote paradise, recalled by objects, testimonies, models, photographs and works of art. 

Curated by

Chiara Gatti

Nicoletta Mongini

Sergio Risaliti

Scientific Coordination

Francesca Neri

Luca Puri


Costanza Savelloni

T: +39 055 291014 


Lara Facco

Lara Facco P&C

M. +39 349 2529989 



Giulia Spissu

Visual Identity

Dania Menafra

Ph Credits

Serge Domingie



Fondazione Monte Verità (Ascona – Canton Ticino)