I have made a couple of visits to Corippo, the mountain village in Ticino, southern Switzerland, from whence my Scettrini ancestors hail. Here are three photos taken there in a springtime visit, in April 2006 (scanned from pre-digital film photos...)
To get there I joined a regular "Postbus" service headed up the steep, winding road into Val Verzasca. After thirty minutes you get a breath-taking sight of the village of Corippo, with its stone houses perched steeply against a mountainside. Corippo lies at an altitude of 560m, with mountains 2500m high around it. It was founded in the fourteenth century. I approached, very conscious of the link that I was making with my family's past.
All the houses in Corippo are made of mountain granite, with slate roofs, in a design that is specific to Ticino. The house fronts all look out across the valley, built to face the prevailing rain direction. The buildings tend to have two or three floors with small rooms, plus an attic. Because of the steepness of the terrain, hay and wood were often placed in the attic at the top, from the upper side of the house.
Locals in the village have always had a hard life with the rough alpine climate, poor soil quality, and steep terrain of the pastures. In the nineteenth century, the goldfields lured many men away. Hence, the arrival of Giuseppe Scettrini on the goldfields in Victoria, and later on the West Coast...