Although Locarno is a town in southern Switzerland, located on the northern shore of Lake Maggiore at the southern foot of the Swiss Alps, its official language is actually Italian. With a population of around 16,000, it is the 74th-largest city in Switzerland and the 3rd-largest in the Ticino canton, after Lugano and Bellinzona. The town is known for hosting the Locarno International Film Festival each year in August and involves open-air screenings at the main square known as the Piazza Grande. It is also known for the Locarno Treaties, a series of European territorial agreements which were negotiated here in 1925.

There are nine Swiss heritage sites of national significance in Locarno:

  • Three churches:
    • Chiesa di S. Francesco (and its former convent)
    • Chiesa Nuova di S. Maria Assunta (and house of the canons)
    • Chiesa di S. Maria in Selva (with its cemetery)
  • Two schools:
    • The Ai Saleggi primary school
    • The secondary school at via Dr. G. Varesi 30
  • The Castello Visconteo complex (part of which may have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci)
  • The Cantonal Library
  • The Pinacoteca Comunale Casa Rusca at Piazza Sant’Antonio (The Russia House Municipal Picture Gallery)
  • The Casorella at via Bartolomeo Rusca 5

It has also been speculated that Locarno’s castle may have even been designed by Leonardo da Vinci.

  • Visited: 1994

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