After breakfast, we head towards the Orselina funicular to visit the Sacred Mountain of the Madonna del Sasso. The trip may be short but it offers some stunning views of the landscape. Morning is the ideal time to enjoy the peace and silence that surrounds these places. The sanctuary on the promontory is one of the most important in Switzerland and is said to stand on the exact spot where Fra Bartolomeo da Ivrea saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary in 1480. The intimate and colourful interior of the sanctuary reflects the unique character of this building and the beauty of the surrounding landscape. We come back down the hill to Locarno’s Old Town along the Via Crucis in reverse. Alternatively, you could also do the tour in the more usual direction, climbing from Piazza Grande to the sanctuary along the Via Crucis and coming back down by funicular.
It’s time for lunch! There’s no shortage of options either in the Old Town or on Piazza Grande, whether you fancy a quick sandwich or treating yourself to a full meal. After lunch, finish your museum binge with a visit to the Fondazione Ghisla collection, where works of art from the second half of the 20th century to the present day are on display. The afternoon is also the ideal time for a stroll in the area furthest from Locarno’s historical centre. Kids will love a visit to the Falconry and its free flying show. Hugging the lake as we walk back towards the centre, we cross the beautiful Parco delle Camelie – the setting for the spring festival dedicated to these flowers, symbol of the town – and enjoy a stroll through the almost 1,000 different varieties of camellias, including some fragrant hybrids. Following the tree-lined lakefront dappled with reflections of the sun on the surface of the water, we return towards the centre and stop for a moment in Largo Zorzi, crossing the Moon&Stars Walk of Fame, where artists performing at the famous Locarno music festival have left their handprints over the years. Which is your favourite?
If you’re coming by train, take the time to visit the Church of San Vittore, very close to Locarno station. Its origins date back to the 9th-10th century and its Romanesque crypt is one of the best preserved in Switzerland.