The Castalia houses are renovated buildings in Lugano, whose apartments are exclusively rented to students.
In the rather enigmatic novel that Hermann Hesse published in Switzerland in 1943 under the title ‘The Glass Bead Game,’ we encounter the name Castalia from the very first lines. It designates, at the same time, a place, a citadel, but also a utopian organization. It is, simultaneously, a space and a social bond that tend to coincide.
The events of the novel are set in the year 2400, and Castalia, while being the venue where the rites of the initiates of the Glass Bead Game are performed, is also the unreachable goal (because, as Hesse’s novels teach, the goal is always the beginning) toward which the Eastern Pilgrims in a contemporaneous tale titled ‘The Pilgrimage to the East’ also strive. This story is set in Ticino, specifically in Morbio Inferiore.