Hermann Hesse Museum
The little museum dedicated to the German writer Hermann Hesse in Montagnola, above Lugano, is one of the most visited in Ticino. A permanent exhibit set up in the halls of the Torre Camuzzi, adjacent to the Nobel Prize winner's first home, introduces us to the forty years that Hesse spent in the South of the Alps from 1919. Collected are objects and works of this author, one of the most widely read in the world: famous are his glasses, the typewriter and the delicate watercolours. An excellent audioguide in Italian and German accompanies the visitor through the pleasant landscapes of the Collina d'oro (Golden Hill), dear to the writer.
Set up in 1997, the Museum is located in the vicinity of the picturesque Casa Camuzzi, where the writer lived from 1919 to 1931 in an apartment with a beautiful view on Lake Lugano. The permanent exhibit gives the visitor the possibility to discover the author's different phases of activity in depth, for example fundamental topics such as India or the creation of the work "The Glass Bead Game".
Thanks to the dynamic director Regina Bucher and to the Hermann Hesse Foundation of Montagnola, the museum has become a lively meeting point for a vast international public. Every year a large program is organized, offering temporary exhibits, conferences, concerts, films, walks and weekly readings in Italian and German. A literary café was opened in the vicinity of the museum where you can find some of Hermann Hesse's main works.
The Golden Hill in company of Hermann Hesse
In the calm of the serene enchantment of this region the author of “Siddharta” certainly found the peace he always sought and that allowed him to bring to life some masterpieces that are today – half a century after his death – some of the most widely read and appreciated books in the world. A "homeland of the soul": this is what the Golden Hill became for Hesse, to be discovered with the audioguide that may be obtained at the museum and that takes the visitor through a beautiful landscape, accompanied by a voice and on the footsteps of the writer himself. You will see his favourite places, the houses where he lived, the woods where he enjoyed walking and painting, the grottos (taverns) - like the Cavicc, still open today - where Hesse would spend a few hours in the shade.
If you have more time…
Itinerary: On the Footsteps of Hermann Hesse (2.5h, see map)
The walk with the audioguide "On the footsteps of Hermann Hesse" starts from the museum, covers eleven points and unravels between Montagnola and Gentilino following the stages of the author's life in Ticino.
Leaving the Museum, which we recommend to visit taking enough time, you can enjoy the Casa Camuzzi, Hesse's first house. Cross the centre of Certenago, that appears in his watercolours, before reaching the Sant’Abbondio complex in Gentilino, in which cemetery lays Hesse next to his wife Ninon. Walking through the woods, you will come across grottos where, as the author enjoyed doing, you may take a rest. Here you can imagine meeting Hermann Hesse with easel and brushes, busy fixing on paper the most beautiful spots of the region, or you can listen to the reconstruction of his talks with the gardener or with the elderly neighbour. Thanks to the beautiful images exhibited in the Museum, you might even think you are seeing him hoeing the ground, taking care of plants or preparing a small fire with the garden's brushwood...