Locarno and its old town
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Description of the itinerary:
This excursion takes place on the old town of Locarno (Città Vecchia), a fascinating place for its history, culture and architecture. Start the excursion in the main square Piazza Grande, which is the symbol of Locarno with arcades and the traditional pebbled paving, nowadays a pedestrian area. The square is the "pulsating heart" of the town that combines historic buildings (the old seat of the cantonal government) with worldly life (Locarno Festival).
After admiring the square at 360° walk towards Castello Visconteo (Viscount Castle). The first historical signs are dated from 998. Before the first demolishing, around 1531, the building perimeter was larger. In fact, in the south part of the Castle there was an access that leaded to the lake and a fortress was located in the old town. Inside the castle you can visit the civic and archaeological museum, which also hosts an exhibition dedicated to the 1925 Pace Conference of Locarno. You can also admire the Ravelin, a bulwark attested in some documents as a Leonardo da Vinici work. Nearby the Ravelin there is Casa Casorella with valuable stucco works.
Enter the heart of the old town characterised by old buildings, lanes and marvellous courtyards. Visit the small square Piazzetta delle Corporazioni and get fascinated by the atmosphere of the streets Via Cittadella and Via S. Antonio. You can also admire Pinacoteca Casa Rusca, a gallery located in the old patrician house dated from the XVIII century. Beside the permanent collection of Jean Arp there is a great collection of the town of Locarno.
Piazza S. Antonio (S. Antonio Square) and Chiesa S. Antonio (S. Antonio Church)are noteworthy. The church, built around 1664, was ended and consecrated 28 years later. During the 1863 Winter it partially fell and was redesigned as you can admire it today. The Jesus Christ Altar is also noteworthy. During your walk you can also admire Casa del Negromante, a traditional and elegant building of Locarno.
Continue walking and stop by Palazzo Morettini (Morettini Palace), which some years ago used to be a cloister convent; nowadays it is the Cantonal Library. You are about to end your excursion. Returning to Piazza Grande pay a visit to Casa dei Canonici: inside there are beautiful porticos, but of private property. Stop by Chiesa Nuova (New Church) to admire its stucco works, frescos and the baroque main façade.
Requested time: the excursion doesn't take long, about 2 hours to appreciate the town and its monuments.