Covid 19

We originally planned to start regular operations at the Cima Città residence in 2020. We were looking forward to our guests and their activities. Then everything turned out differently: the pandemic has exponentially exacerbated the pressing questions of our time. The question of how we want to live together in the future has suddenly become even more relevant. In order to be able to act together, local places of critical reflection are needed more than ever: What can we learn from this crisis? Offering a retreat in a quiet and inspiring environment, Cima Città can be a starting point and breeding ground for deepening these questions.

As soon as the provisions of the BAG (public health authorities) allow it, Cima Città will open again. In addition to the previously communicated program, we will provide as many spots as possible to artists and thinkers who are affected by the ramifications of the pandemic. Although we cannot offer stays for free, we want to enable some residencies at special conditions: We communicate a price recommendation and you pay what you can afford. (The number of projects that can be carried out under these conditions depends on the developing situation and funding of our association.) Tell us what you’re working on and how your project is affected by the crisis: Has the shutdown shifted the focus in your project? What are the structural challenges you are facing? Do you have to think your project from scratch? We are curious to hear about it! (max. one page about the project plus information about yourself and other participants). The Cima Città board decides on a bi-weekly basis about applications.

Compliance with the necessary protective measures is a prerequisite for a stay at Cima Città.

If you are interested, please contact us via This notice will be deleted from the website as soon as no more projects can be accepted under these special conditions.


Cima Città is an innovative low-key residency program fostering projects and dialogue about today’s society across disciplines. Located in a spacious and inspiring site of a historic chocolate factory in the Swiss Alps, which offers sustainable accommodation and working space for individuals and larger groups.

We are convinced that the most promising answers to the pressing questions of our time can only be found in the exchange between art, society, politics and academia. Our aim is therefore to bring together committed voices from different disciplines in a place that functions as a laboratory for the development and exchange of courageous ideas.

Copyright Images: Nelly Rodriguez 2019 The three large factory buildings are owned by the Fondazione la Fabbrica del Cioccolato. Exhibition with works by Markus Keibel, Debora Hirsch, Simon Berz, 2019.


The site of the former chocolate factory Cima Norma consists of several buildings: Besides the main building, which has halls with up to 1000m2, there are several smaller outbuildings that can be repurposed for work and creation: an art space, a music studio, a workshop, a rehearsal room for dance and performance, a co-working space and a conference room. Some rooms are still being redone and will be ready for use as of 2021.

The "Pensionato" is the main quarters of the Cima Città and residency house on the factory site. It offers six bedrooms, which can accommodate up to 15 people in double and triple rooms, a large kitchen and four work and recreation rooms. In addition, the group house "Adula", which is also located on the premises, can accommodate up to 45 people.


Cima Città is situated between the villages of Dangio and Torre at 800 meters altitude. The Valle di Blenio in the northern part of Ticino stretches from the Lukmanier Pass (1914 meters altitude) down to Biasca. The river Brenno runs through the valley. It is very sunny due to its north-south orientation, hence the nickname “Valle del Sole”. The Lukmanier Pass road leads from Campo Blenio to Disentis/Sedrun in the Bündner Surselva and is passable all year round. The relatively non-touristy Valle di Blenio relies mainly on agriculture and is known for its hiking, climbing and biking routes.

Cima Città is easily accessible by public transport (-> from Biasca train station take bus 131 to Dangio-Paese). On request parking spaces can be provided.

The area is not barrier-free.

Google Maps

Accommodation and Residencies

Cima Città offers two types of stays:

Self-funded stays

Accommodation and work rooms can be rented all year round. Rental maximum is two weeks.

Examples are: Retreats and working weeks for associations and collectives, project weeks for schools and universities, rehearsal-weeks for bands and performing arts groups, individuals’ research and project stays etc. Inquiries are accepted at any time.
These stays are self-funded based on a pricing-model.

If you are interested, please fill out the inquiry form and send it to

Residences supported by Cima Città

Every year, Cima Città supports a handful of projects from different disciplines as short-term residencies. Interested parties can apply through the annual call for projects.

The support consists of the assumption of costs incurred for accommodation and work room rental (including infrastructure) for all persons involved in the respective project up to a maximum of four weeks. Per diems and technical support are not included.

Curation Concept

The Cima Città is open to all disciplines and subjects. In principle, no contents or formats are excluded. Each year Cima Città publishes a list of areas of interest, which serve as inspiration and orientation for applicants. In addition, the Cima Città team organises three or four events of its own each year (workshops, conferences, etc.), which deal with the formulated interests thematically.

The following topics are guiding our activities in 2020:

  • The future of civil society engagement, and new forms of political activism, the emergence of new networks and political participation.
  • The impact of digitisation on issues of privacy, surveillance, economic inequality, new forms of social organisation and coexistence. A special interest lies in working at the interface of artistic and social approaches to these issues. Cf. also our program 2020.
  • The emergence of new perspectives and economic opportunities in the Alpine region, the interaction with nature and sustainability, alternative forms of life, and cultural diversity.


The Cima Norma chocolate factory has been out of operation since 1968 and was temporarily used as military barracks. The site has found a new purpose as a cultural space. The Fondazione La Fabbrica del Cioccolato, founded in 2015, has taken on the tasks of renovating the factory and organising exhibitions. In 2019, the association re/fugium began complementing previous activities and establishing the residency programme Cima Città in the inspiring industrial space.

Origin of the association re/fugium

In 2015, Maximilian Stern and Lea Loeb became aware of the defunct chocolate factory by chance while searching for a suitable location for the investigative and interdisciplinary project re/fugium. The aim of re/fugium was to question entrenched views of and about Generation Y and to reflect on how we want to shape our future. re/fugium was carried out in the summer of 2016. During eight weeks in the Cima Norma, Generation Y artists, musicians, politicians, programmers, filmmakers and theatremakers lived and worked together. At the heart of re/fugium was a steady beat of collaboration in daily, voluntary and self-organised workshops.

From re/fugium to Cima Città

Inspired by the re/fugium project, a small group plunged into establishing a long-term residency project on the site of Cima Norma. In 2018 the concept and partnerships took shape and, as of 2019, re/fugium took up permanent rent in the residency house "Pensionato". Since then, re/fugium recruited additional team members, piloted stay and conference formats, solidified the value proposition and renovated parts of the house and workspaces


Cima Città is run by the nonprofit association re/fugium, founded in 2015. The residency project Cima Città is supervised and managed by a team of seven people. The project team is congruent with the board of the association. The team has a broad disciplinary base, is well connected and based in Zurich. Besides the project team, association members of re/fugium are involved in sub-projects of Cima Città.

Lea Loeb

is a dramaturg and curator. She is part of the programme board of the Zürcher Theater Spektakel and assistant to the artistic director. She is also completing a master's degree in transdisciplinarity at the ZHdK. Loeb is co-founder of the interdisciplinary artists' and curators' collective FRICTION, with which she curated the Offspace Perla Fashion in Zurich. In 2015/2016 FRICTION curated the Kunstraum Nordflügel of the Theaterhaus Gessnerallee as part of a one-year residency. Lea Loeb is co-founder and organizer of the music and performance festival PERLATON. In the 16/17 and 17/18 seasons she worked as a program dramaturg at the Theater Neumarkt in Zurich and at the Südpol in Lucerne.

Maximilian Stern

M.A., studied political science, economics and European law in Zurich and Munich. In 2009 he was co-founder of the think tank foraus - Foreign Policy Forum. As such, he served as managing director for four years and is now a member of the board. Subsequently, he worked as a Mercator Fellow at the interface between innovation, technology and democratic participation. Today, Maximilian is a partner in the consulting firm crstl and Vice President of the staatslabor, an institution dedicated to innovation in public administration. Most recently, he published the "Agenda for a Digital Democracy" (NZZ Libro June 2018). Stern works for the City of Zurich in the Smart City department.

Lukas von Blarer

is an independent web developer (attribute GmbH), specialized in frontend development. Besides his work as a programmer, he spends a lot of time with his passion, music. He was the initiator of the first PERLATON Festival and presides over some of the most important organizational tasks in the association. Besides that he is involved in the Digitale Gesellschaft, a non-profit organisation which promotes ethics in digital change. He regularly turns the tables at parties in Zurich as DJ Lukrativ .

Francesca Giardina

works in the digital policy environment as deputy director of the Parliamentary Group on Digital Sustainability (Parldigi). She is co-leader of the Working Group on Digital Shifts of the political movement Operation Libero and has led and moderated the annual conference for digital sustainability DINAcon since its inception. Prior to that she worked as a multimedia producer in sports and cultural institutions. She is completing an interdisciplinary Master of European Global Studies from the University of Basel.

Stefan Breit

is an environmental scientist and futurologist. He currently works as a researcher at the GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute and analyses social, economic and technological changes with a focus on housing, infrastructure and environment. Prior to this, he studied environmental sciences at ETH Zurich. After an internship in the NEST project at Empa Dübendorf on innovations in the building sector, he worked for six months in the Global Scanning Network for the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies.

Jessica Huber

Her artistic work slides back and forth between different performance worlds: while her early works were primarily choreographically influenced, her more recent productions vary considerably in form and expression. What the works have in common, however, is the search for a practice and aesthetics of sharing and exchange, and the lived desire for collaboration. Accordingly, Jessica has made collaboration with other artists her primary working method: formats such as walks, residencies and workshops are not only inspiring moments of interaction for her, but also an essential part of the creative process.

Dominik Wolfinger

is a freelance screenwriter, dramaturg, cultural journalist and narrative designer for computer games. He himself sees his destiny in storytelling and likes to express himself in different media. Wolfinger is co-founder of the online magazine tsü, where he regularly works as a journalist. He also co-founded the collective Bild mit Ton. From time to time he performs on stage or in front of the camera, although he prefers to find himself staring at a blank word file.

Lorenz Hubacher

is an art historian, curator and cultural mediator. He works and is involved in various cultural institutions and projects in various fields. He has worked for Gessnerallee Zurich and the Zürcher Theater Spektakel, curated exhibitions at Atelier Hermann Haller on behalf of the City of Zurich from 2012 to 2017, is part of the organising team of the International Short Film Festival Winterthur and currently works for the independent radio station GDS.FM and as a freelance art historian.


The association re/fugium is happy about new members!
Association members receive an update on the status of the project by newsletter 4 times a year. Attendance at the yearly general assembly in the Cima Norma are also included. Association members have the opportunity to contribute inputs to the programme of the Cima Città in collaboration with the association board. In addition, members have preferential access to the rental of premises in the "Pensionato" house for working stays, as far as scheduling permits.

Regular membership costs CHF 50 per year. A patron membership costs CHF 100. Membership comes into effect by paying the membership fee.
If the amount of CHF 50.- is too high, please send us an email to

After filling out this form, you will receive an email with the payment details within the next few weeks.

Become a member or just sign up for our newsletter


Association re/fugium
Strada Vecchia 100
6717 Torre
Requests for residencies, retreats, workshops, conferences etc:
Other inquiries:


Development: ATTRIBUTE (Alex Jenter, Lukas von Blarer)
Design: Christof Täschler