Visconteo Castle, Locarno

3.5
#2 of 8 in Museums in Lake Maggiore
Visconteo Castle Castello Visconteo is a castle in Locarno, Switzerland. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance.In January 2004, the Italian historian Marino Vigano' speculated that it may have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci.HistoryWhile there was a royal palace in Locarno in 866 and a noble family with a castle in the 10th century, the oldest remaining parts of the Castello (part of the ring wall and residential tract and foundation of a tower) date to the late 12th or 13th century. In 1164 Emperor Frederick Barbarossa granted Locarno the right to hold a market and for the first time mentioned the Capitanei di Locarno or noble families that administered the town and the Pieve or local church. While the Capitanei enjoyed the right of imperial immediacy, they did not always support the emperor. By around 1240 Locarno had become a stronghold of the Guelph faction which supported the pope against the emperor, possibly leading to the construction or expansion of the castle. In 1260 the Castello was attacked and destroyed by the pro-emperor Ghilbellines, leading Simon di Orelli, the most powerful member of the Capitanei to join the Ghilbellines and bring the town to the emperor's side until his death in 1290. The castle was rebuilt following the destruction of 1260.
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Visconteo Castle Reviews
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4.2
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  • When there were no roads and railways in Ticino as there are today, the location of Maggiore was an important transport route for goods that landed from Asia in Genoa and Venice. From there they were taken on the Po Canal to the lower part of the lake and then taken up by ship. Afterwards, the goods were carried north over the Alps. The paths had to be maintained and the transport protected. They paid customs for that. The castle in Locarno was thus a protection centre. A visit is worthwhile if you are interested in the history. It also contains objects from prehistoric times.
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  • Nice exterior to see for the architecture of the time. There is also the possibility to visit the inner rooms.
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  • We spent over an hour here and thoroughly enjoyed it. The rustic grounds are wonderful for photos and contemplation. Inside, there are many frescoes in various states. It has a real lived-in feel. I loved the graffiti on the walls from various ages. There were some interesting exhibits of gravestones, furniture and other artifacts. As you can see from my photo, there is even a special alphabet attributed to this region. It's useful for deciphering some of the graffiti which is carved or chiseled in the walls. Mostly, we just loved exploring the castle ~ turrets, jail cells, etc., and the nostalgic feeling of time gone by. We were greeted by a friendly employee who gave us some valuable advice, especially about parking in Locarno. If you park between 12 & 2 pm, your parking is free! That allowed us to make the most of our time in the city.
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