Locarno is located in the Swiss canton of Ticino in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. The town lies on a bay in the northwest of Lake Maggiore, in the north of the delta of Maggio River. Locarno encloses the former villages Muralto and Minusio. The boroughs Locarno Monti und Orselina are located on the hillside behind the city centre. Locarno is situated only 225 meters above sea level and is therefore the lowest located city in Switzerland. It is said, Locarno is the sunniest place in the country. There are 2,300 sun hours a year in the town.
The heart of Locarno is the Piazza Grande. All the alleys of the old town of Locarno lead to this place. The Piazza Grande in Locarno is probably the most beautiful place in Ticino. Surrounded by elegant buildings and arcades and dominated by the tower of the town hall of the 14th century, invites the place for shopping or having a cup of coffee in one of the numerous street cafés.
Piazza Grande of Locarno
In the southwest of the Piazza Grande of Locarno is situated the Castello Visconteo. That imposing castle was already built in the 12th century by the old aristocratic family of Orelli, and overtaken by the Visconti familiy of Milan, who gave the castle its current name. The castle was been enlarged several times and some parts disappeared again. Only the foundations remained from the original construction. All further buildings date from later centuries, most of them were built in the 15th and 16th century. Despite of that the castle is still very impressing and representative. Today it accommodates a museum of archaeology and an exhibition of paintings, reminding to the several aristocratic families, who ever lived in this stunning castle.
The highest mountain of Locarno is the Cimetta. From the plateau of this mountain you have a fantastic view across the Lake. There is a chairlift from this hill to the lower station of Cardada from here goes a funicular down to Orselina, the above the city centre situated district of Locarno. In Orselina is situated the landmark of Locarno, the sanctuary of Madonna del Sasso. That goal of pilgrims has a platform with a magnificent view down to the city of Locarno.