(Italian: [loˈkarno], German: [loˈkarno]; Ticinese:
Locarn [loˈkɑːrn]; formerly in German: Luggárus [luˈɡaːrʊs])
is a southern Swiss town and municipality in the district
its capital), located on the northern shore of
northeastern tip in the canton of
at the southern foot of the
Swiss Alps. It has a population of about 16,000 (proper), and about
56,000 for the agglomeration of the same name including
The town of
is located on the northeastern part of Maggia's
delta; across the river lies the town
on the southwestern part
of the delta.
It is the 74th largest city in
needed] and the third largest in the
The official language of
The town is known for hosting the
International Film Festival
which takes place every year in August and involves open-air
screenings at the main square, the Piazza Grande. It is also known for
Treaties, a series of European territorial agreements
negotiated here in October 1925.
In January 2004, the Italian historian Marino Vigano speculated that
Locarno's castle may have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
1.1 Prehistoric Locarno
1.2 Roman era
1.3 Capitanei di Locarno
1.4 Early Locarno
1.5 Under the Swiss Confederation
1.6 Locarno's Castles
1.7 Early Modern Locarno
1.8 Protestant Reformation
1.9 The Canton of Ticino
1.10 Modern Locarno
3 Coat of arms
5 Historic Population
6 Heritage sites of national significance
7 Main sights
7.1 Astrovia Locarno
7.2 Madonna del Sasso,
Cardada and Cimetta
7.3 Castello Visconteo
14 International relations
14.1 Twin towns – Sister cities
15 See also
17 External links
In 1934 in the vicinity of today's Via S. Jorio, a necropolis with 14
urn graves from the Early
Bronze Age (about 14th century BC) were
found. Some of the urns were directly buried, while others were placed
in boxes of uncut stone. The urns contained, in addition to burned
bones, bronze ornaments, which had some fire damage, including,
bangles, hair pins with conical head and slightly thickened neck,
rings and knives. Similar urns were also discovered in the district of
S. Antonio, which was probably also a small cemetery. The ceramic and
bronze objects date from the
Canegrate culture (named after a large
necropolis in the province of Milan). However, no traces of the
settlement have been discovered.
In 1935, a large necropolis was discovered at Solduno. The over 200
graves cover nearly a thousand years, from the
La Tène culture
La Tène culture to the
3rd century AD. Many of the La Tène era grave goods (particularly
from the 3rd-1st century BC) are Celtic style Fibulae or brooches.
These objects demonstrate a cultural influence from regions north of
the Alps. However, the ceramic objects are indigenous to Golasecca
culture which spread into
Ticino and Lombardy.
Between 1946 and 1949, a number of Roman era tombs were discovered on
the terrace between the churches of Santa Maria in Selva and San
Giovanni Battista in Solduno. The Roman city that became
therefore between the vicus of
Muralto and this cemetery.
Unfortunately, intensive construction and agricultural activity have
destroyed most traces of the ancient city. In 1995 and 1997, 57 graves
were found in Via Valle Maggia. Nineteen were from the Roman period,
which confirms that even in the
3rd century AD cremation and body
burials were practiced side by side. Among other significant finds, a
number of glass items were discovered. The Roman necropolis was used
from the end of the prehistoric La Tène era until the middle of the
3rd century AD. The extensive Romanization of
Locarno wiped out much
of the local culture and replaced it with ancient Roman elements.
However, it appears that there was no Roman ruling class which could
have dominated the local population.
Capitanei di Locarno
The capitanei were a group of prominent noble families who emerged in
Middle Ages and led Locarno. The term is first mentioned in
a document granting market rights to the town by the Emperor Frederick
I in 1164. This title was originally reserved only the direct vassals
of the king's fief. The lower vassals were known as valvassores, but
could have been awarded the title of capitanei as a special
concession. The original capitanei were probably descendants of the
old Lombard noble family of Da
Besozzo from the county of Seprio, a
historic region of Lombard
Italy which comprised areas in southern
Ticino and modern day Italian provinces of Varese and Como on the
western side of Lake Maggiore, and was centered in Castelseprio, some
20 kilometres south of Locarno.
Around 1000, the family was granted a fief in
Locarno by the
schismatic Bishop of Como Landolfo da Carcano. The capitanei were
given the right to manage the property of the Church entrusted to the
local pieve, they had the rights of immunity and coercion, but were
not owners of the village cooperatives' (vicini) land, with the
exception of the churches and royal estates. They did not have the
right of high justice so their political power was limited. However,
they played an important role in the later conflicts in the 13th and
14th century between the
Guelphs and Ghibellines
Guelphs and Ghibellines and in the wars
between Como and the Duchy of Milan.
In Locarno, during the
Reformation period in the 16th century, two of
the three great feudal families of capitanei, the
Muralto and the
Orelli families, left the town and moved to Zürich. A branch of the
Muraltos was established in Bern. The third great
Locarno family, the
Magoria, remained in Locarno. The capitanei retained a central role in
Locarno's politics until 1798. In 1803, the lands and rights of the
capitanei were integrated into the political municipality of
Harbor of Locarno. Trade along the lake allowed
Locarno to flourish
Starting in the Lombard period (after 569), the area around Locarno
(and presumably the town) was part of the county Stazzona and later
the Mark of Lombardy.
Locarno is first mentioned in 807 as Leocarni.
In German, it came to be known as Luggarus, Lucarius, Lucaris. It
is likely that a market existed at or near the lake since the Roman
era. The long history of the town and its location led to the creation
of a royal court, which is first mentioned in 866. During the Middle
Ascona formed a community, with several, separate
neighborhoods. The community managed its common goods (alpine
pastures, pastures, forests, churches) and tax officials and police.
In the 10th century, Bishop of
Milan began to consolidate more and
more power to himself at the expense of the Kings of the Germans. This
Milan was countered by Henry II, who incorporated Locarno
in 1002/04 with the surrounding areas into the Diocese of Como.
Friedrich Barbarossa granted extensive market rights to
1164 and granted imperial immediacy in 1186. Due to these privileges,
Locarno developed substantial local autonomy, which assisted the
development of municipal institutions. The nobles (Nobili) lost more
and more rights to the citizens (borghesi). By 1224, the borghesi had
their own administration and various privileges, including: market
rights, the right to their own weights, maintenance of mills and
grazing rights in Saleggi, in Colmanicchio (Alp Vignasca) and in the
Magadino and Quartino valleys.
Locarno was the administrative center of the parish of Locarno. The
Podestà or high government official, resided in the Casa della
Gallinazza, which was burned in 1260 during the clashes between the
Guelphs and Ghibellines. Several
Locarno families, including members
of the Capitanei di
Locarno and Simone da Orello, played an important
role in the battles between the two factions. In 1342, Luchino and
Giovanni Visconti conquered the area, which brought
Locarno back under
the power of Milan. In 1439, Count Franchino Rusca was awarded Locarno
as a fief.
In 1291, a
Humiliati monastery was first mentioned in Locarno. St.
Catherine's church, attached to the monastery, probably dates to the
Under the Swiss Confederation
Swiss Confederation in 1530, showing
Locarno and other territories of
The rule of the Rusca ended 1503, when the Confederates occupied
Locarno, but failed to conquer the Visconti castle. After the battle
of Novara in 1513, the French King Louis XII gave the Confederates the
castle. In the Treaty of Freiburg in 1516, they received all of
Locarno. The Twelve Cantons took turns appointing a governor (Italian:
commissario), to rule over Locarno. The governor had both civil and
criminal jurisdiction, except in certain cases after 1578, where seven
judges were elected by the locals to try the cases. On taking office,
the Governor swore under oath to obey the statutes of Locarno. The
Governor was supported by a local mayor, and criminal fines were
usually given to local community.
The rule of the Twelve Cantons also had an effect on the social and
political relations of the town. In addition to the nobility
(representing the three old noble families Orelli,
Magoria) and citizens, there was a third group. This third group, the
terrieri, was a group of residents who had lived a long time in
Locarno, but were not citizens. Each of the three groups were a
statutory corporation, with shared property and a governing body.
Under the Confederation, each of these groups or corporations had
representation in the Consiglio Magnifico which ruled Locarno.
However, the town's dominance over the villages in the region, until
1798, is clearly shown in their representation in the Council. The
three groups in
Locarno had twelve aldermen (six nobles, four citizens
and two terrieri), while all the rural communities together had only
During the Middle Ages,
Locarno was centered around the intersection
of Via Cittadella and Via S. Antonio. The town stretched up the slope
of the mountain and behind the castle. Some houses lined the shore,
and above the Contrada Borghese a small, almost rural settlement grew
up. The center of town was dominated by town houses with their large
courtyards and gardens. The members of the upper class also owned
small country houses with vineyards, which went up the hill behind
Locarno as well as in Solduno and Cugnasco.
Locarno also had several
noble estates during the Late Middle Ages, including the so-called
Cittadella. The buildings of the 17th and 18th Centuries, including
the Casa Simona (16th to 18th century), the Casa Rusca from the first
half of the 18th century (now the seat of the municipal art gallery)
and the Casa del Negromante, were built on older structures and didn't
change the layout of the town.
Main article: Castello Visconteo (Locarno)
There were several castles from the Early
Middle Ages in Locarno. One
was destroyed by the Milanese in 1156. Another, first mentioned in
1210 as Orelli castle, was occupied in 1342 occupied by the Visconti
and enlarged. This castle came to be known as Visconti Castle. In
1531, the Confederates demolished much of the castle, leaving only the
central core. The castle was used as the residence of the governor,
but in the following centuries, it began to fall apart. From 1804 to
1909, the castle was the seat of the administrative governor and the
District Court. After 1909, it came into the possession of the city
and was renovated in 1921-28. Since 1920, it houses the city and
Archaeological Museum. In 1507, a defensive bastion or
added to protect the castle entrance. It is likely that Leonardo da
Vinci designed this structure. North-east of the castle is
Palazzo Casorella (Casa degli Orelli) from the 16th century.
Early Modern Locarno
Vineyards above Locarno
During the Middle Ages, the economy of
Locarno and the whole region
was closely linked with the nobles who owned the market, fishing,
alpine and grazing rights and tithes. Starting in the 13th century,
some of these privileges went to the citizens corporation. The hill
areas were dominated by viticulture, while grain was raised in the
plains. Within the town, vegetables and fruits were grown. Artisans
and stores were concentrated in the interior of the town. The
repeatedly flooded shorelines and the alpine pastures were used for
grazing. In the early modern period,
Locarno developed into a thriving
commercial center on an important road that linked the major cities of
Lombardy, with German-speaking
Switzerland and Germany. Cereals and
salt came from the
Piedmont to Locarno, while
its hinterland (especially the Maggia Valley) provided large
quantities of wood and cattle to Italy.
The parish church of Locarno, S. Antonio Abate, was first built in
1353-54. It was replaced by the current building in 1664. The
decoration of the church was financed, primarily, by the grain traders
at the end of the 17th century, and the chapel frescoes are by
Giuseppe Antonio Felice Orelli from 1742. The citizens of
the right to appoint priests at S. Antonio Abate, S. Maria in Selva
(consecrated in 1424, since 1884 only the choir and bell tower remain)
and SS Trinità dei Monti (consecrated 1621). The church of San
Francesco, together with the adjoining convent, were built in the
early 13th century. The church's first consecration was probably in
1230, but the first documented consecration of the church was in 1316.
It was rebuilt and enlarged between 1538-1675 using construction
material from Visconti Castle. San Francesco hosted the meetings of
the nobility and the citizens. Starting in the 16th century, the
appointed Governor swore his oath in the church.
In the 16th century, the
Humiliati order was suppressed and St.
Catherine's church and monastery closed. All three ruling groups of
Locarno agreed to convert the church and monastery into the Hospital
S. Carlo. The Hospital remained until 1854 when it closed, due to
In the 16th century, Locarno's population declined as a result of
exodus of Protestants and the plague in 1576-77. After a recovery in
the 17th century, the population declined considerably in the 18th
By 1535, there was a Protestant community known as the ecclesia
christiana locarnensis in Locarno. They owed their existence to the
work of Giovanni Beccaria, several notables of the town (including
Taddeo Duni) and religious refugees from
Milan and Piedmont. To
counteract the tensions, the Protestant community and the Catholic
clergy met for a debate on 8 May 1549. At the end of the debate,
Beccaria was imprisoned. However, because of protests against his
arrest, he was immediately released. In 1550,
Locarno declared itself
to be a Catholic town, but a large group continued to practice the
Protestant faith. However, in 1554, the Diet of Baden issued an
ultimatum to the Protestants, either renounce new faith or go into
exile. On 3 March 1555, over 100 people left
Locarno to emigrate to
In the course of Counter-
Reformation in the 17th century, many
religious buildings in
Locarno were renewed or rebuilt. These include
the 1604 church dedicated to SS Sebastiano e Rocco with the Capuchin
monastery and the church of S. Maria Assunta (Chiesa Nuova).
The Canton of Ticino
Helvetic Republic (1798–1803)
Locarno was part of the
Canton of Lugano. Following the collapse of the Helvetic Republic, the
Act of Mediation, in 1803, created the
Canton of Ticino
Canton of Ticino with Locarno
as an independent municipality. The
Helvetic Republic was very liberal
and attempted to reform much of Swiss society. However, the changes
were too great and the Republic collapsed. The compromise Act of
Mediation changed some aspects of society but left others unchanged.
The new municipality of Lucarno was no longer ruled by three different
patriziati, which had emerged from the three groups (nobles, borghesi
and terrieri), but until the mid-19th century there were institutions
that reached back to the Ancien Régime. For example, the community of
Ascona was dissolved in 1805. Nevertheless, a "committee
of the representatives of the former communities of Locarno" managed,
for several decades, the S. Carlo Hospital and schools, which had been
shared by the patriziati of the old, combined community. However, the
power of the old patriziati gradually weakened. In 1859, the terrieri
decided to set aside their corporation. The nobles corporation
distributed its assets in 1866-67 to its members and dissolved the
archive, but retained until about 1920, the fishing rights. Only the
citizens corporation has preserved its status as a civil
The Constitution of 1814, established Locarno,
Bellinzona and Lugano
as the capitals of the canton, in a six-year rotation.
Locarno was the
capital of the canton in 1821-27, 1839–45, 1857–63 and 1875-81. In
1838-39, on the initiative of a group of notables, a government
building was built. It was sold in 1893 to private company. It then
became the headquarters of Credito Ticinese and since 1917 it has been
the headquarters of the Electricity Company of Sopraceneri. Locarno
was repeatedly the scene of political clashes. In 1839 and 1841,
uprisings against the government broke out. In 1855, a murder in a
coffee house was used as a pretext for a coup of radicals
(pronunciamento). Another coup, the
Ticino coup of 1890, did nothing
to change the balance of power between the parties in the city. After
a liberal mayor ruled for 35 consecutive years (1865–80), a
conservative mayor ruled for another 36 years (1880–1916).
To break the conservative hegemony of the late 19th century, the
Social Democrats, allied with the Liberals in 1916 elections. They
succeeded to a majority in the city government (which then consisted
of nine members, but in 1987 was limited to seven), which they kept in
the following decades.
In the 19th century, the population in
Locarno grew noticeably
compared to neighboring communities. As early as 1836, the immigrant
population was over 16% of the population. Between 1860-80, the
population fell slightly mainly because of emigration to California.
In the following decades, the growth rates were below those of other
population centers of the canton, which, unlike Locarno, benefited
directly from the Gotthard railway.
In 1816, the special rights and title of the old mother church of San
Muralto went over to S. Antonio Abate. In 1863, snow
collecting on the roof of the church caused the vault to collapse,
killing 40 people. The citizens collective or borghesi lacked the
resources to repair the church. Therefore, in 1866, the ownership and
maintenance of the churches of S. Antonio and S. Maria in Selva were
given to the town as a whole. For financial reasons, the collapsed
church was not completely repaired. Only the façade and central vault
were rebuilt and the choir was expanded.
Between 1863-74, church of San Francesco had to be used for services,
and after 1798, the Assemblies of the neighborhoods, the city and the
county were held in the church. In 1814, the church of San Francesco
was secularized and the
Franciscans had to leave. The church and
convent served from 1821 until 1827 as the State Government offices.
From 1848-63, the church was closed for worship, and in 1874 it was
converted into a barracks and a salt storage. In 1924, it was
converted back into a church and used by Benedictines for Catholic
services delivered in the German language. The
Jesuits took over this
task from 1947 until 1992. The monastery was secularized in 1848, and
after the 1893-94 renovation, it housed the first high school. Then in
1930 it was used for teacher training.
Between 1935-92, the newspaper, L'Eco di
Locarno was printed in
Locarno. In 1992, it merged with the official newspaper of the Liberal
party Il dovere to create the daily newspaper La Regione. Since 1987,
German language newspaper in Ticino, the Tessiner Zeitung, is
published three times each week in Locarno.
Locarno has an area, as of 1997[update], of 19.27 square kilometers
(7.44 sq mi). Of this area, 8.39 km2
(3.24 sq mi) or 43.5% is used for agricultural purposes,
while 5.97 km2 (2.31 sq mi) or 31.0% is forested. Of
the rest of the land, 4.92 km2 (1.90 sq mi) or 25.5% is
settled (buildings or roads), 1.25 km2 (0.48 sq mi) or
6.5% is either rivers or lakes and 0.91 km2
(0.35 sq mi) or 4.7% is unproductive land.
Of the built up area, industrial buildings made up 1.4% of the total
area while housing and buildings made up 10.3% and transportation
infrastructure made up 7.6%. Power and water infrastructure as well as
other special developed areas made up 2.6% of the area while parks,
green belts and sports fields made up 3.6%. Out of the forested land,
28.3% of the total land area is heavily forested and 2.7% is covered
with orchards or small clusters of trees. Of the agricultural land,
31.2% is used for growing crops, while 2.1% is used for orchards or
vine crops and 10.3% is used for alpine pastures. Of the water in the
municipality, 0.8% is in lakes and 5.7% is in rivers and streams. Of
the unproductive areas, 4.6% is unproductive vegetation.
The municipality is the capital of its district.
Locarno is located on
the left shore of Lake Maggiore. The city is made up of the old town
(historic settlement center), the new town (Nuovo quartiere) toward
the lake and the land district (quartiere Campagna) toward Solduno.
The area of the municipality extends from the lake (elevation
209 m (686 ft)) to the mountains above the city (Monti della
SS Trinità, Bre,
Cardada and Cimetta, highest point at 1,474 m
(4,836 ft)). It includes a large part of the
along with the right side of the
Ticino river, and stretches from the
Magadino to Monda Contone.
Locarno averages 103 days of precipitation per year and on average
receives 1,668 mm (65.7 in) of precipitation. The wettest
month is May during which time
Locarno receives an average of
194 mm (7.6 in) of precipitation. During this month there
are 12.8 days with measurable precipitation. The driest month of the
year is December with an average of 61 mm (2.4 in) of
precipitation over 5.7 days.
Locarno averages 2155 hours of sunshine
or 56% of possible sunshine. The Köppen-Geiger climate
classification system classifies its climate as on the border between
temperate oceanic (Cfb) and humid subtropical (Cfa)
Climate data for Locarno/Monti (367 m a.s.l., Reference period
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average snowfall cm (inches)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)
Average snowy days (≥ 1.0 cm)
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Percent possible sunshine
Coat of arms
The blazon of the municipal coat of arms is Azure a lion rampant
Old city of Locarno
Locarno has a population (as of December 2016[update]) of 16,122.
As of 2008[update], 33.9% of the population are resident foreign
nationals. Over the last 10 years (1997–2007) the population has
changed at a rate of 3.7%.
Most of the population (as of 2000[update]) speaks Italian (76.6%),
with German being second most common (10.5%) and Serbo-Croatian being
third (3.1%). Of the Swiss national languages (as of
2000[update]), 1,528 speak German, 189 people speak French, 11,153
people speak Italian, and 27 people speak Romansh. The remainder
(1,664 people) speak another language.
As of 2008[update], the gender distribution of the population was
46.5% male and 53.5% female. The population was made up of 4,421 Swiss
men (29.1% of the population), and 2,636 (17.4%) non-Swiss men. There
were 5,654 Swiss women (37.2%), and 2,474 (16.3%) non-Swiss women.
In 2008[update] there were 83 live births to Swiss citizens and 45
births to non-Swiss citizens, and in same time span there were 115
deaths of Swiss citizens and 33 non-Swiss citizen deaths. Ignoring
immigration and emigration, the population of Swiss citizens decreased
by 32 while the foreign population increased by 12. There were 14
Swiss men and 3 Swiss women who immigrated back to Switzerland. At the
same time, there were 87 non-Swiss men and 78 non-Swiss women who
immigrated from another country to Switzerland. The total Swiss
population change in 2008 (from all sources, including moves across
municipal borders) was an increase of 159 and the non-Swiss population
change was an increase of 55 people. This represents a population
growth rate of 1.4%.
The age distribution, as of 2009[update], in
Locarno is; 1,205
children or 7.9% of the population are between 0 and 9 years old and
1,454 teenagers or 9.6% are between 10 and 19. Of the adult
population, 1,791 people or 11.8% of the population are between 20 and
29 years old. 2,002 people or 13.2% are between 30 and 39, 2,442
people or 16.1% are between 40 and 49, and 1,979 people or 13.0% are
between 50 and 59. The senior population distribution is 1,767 people
or 11.6% of the population are between 60 and 69 years old, 1,541
people or 10.1% are between 70 and 79, there are 1,004 people or 6.6%
who are over 80.
As of 2000[update], there were 6,730 private households in the
municipality, and an average of 2.1 persons per household. In
2000[update] there were 904 single family homes (or 42.1% of the
total) out of a total of 2,147 inhabited buildings. There were 252 two
family buildings (11.7%) and 480 multi-family buildings (22.4%). There
were also 511 buildings in the municipality that were multipurpose
buildings (used for both housing and commercial or another
The vacancy rate for the municipality, in 2008[update], was 0.63%. In
2000[update] there were 8,647 apartments in the municipality. The most
common apartment size was the 3 room apartment of which there were
3,068. There were 856 single room apartments and 877 apartments with
five or more rooms. Of these apartments, a total of 6,709
apartments (77.6% of the total) were permanently occupied, while 1,695
apartments (19.6%) were seasonally occupied and 243 apartments (2.8%)
were empty. As of 2007[update], the construction rate of new
housing units was 10.5 new units per 1000 residents.
As of 2003[update] the average price to rent an average apartment in
Locarno was 1046.19 Swiss francs (CHF) per month (US$840, £470,
€670 approx. exchange rate from 2003). The average rate for a
one-room apartment was 611.61 CHF (US$490, £280, €390), a two-room
apartment was about 816.64 CHF (US$650, £370, €520), a three-room
apartment was about 1007.47 CHF (US$810, £450, €640) and a six or
more room apartment cost an average of 1896.51 CHF (US$1520, £850,
€1210). The average apartment price in
Locarno was 93.7% of the
national average of 1116 CHF.
The historical population is given in the following table:
No religion given
Heritage sites of national significance
There are nine Swiss heritage site of national significance in
Locarno. Three of the sites are churches; the church of S. Francesco
and former convent, the church of S. Maria Assunta (new church) and
house of the canons and the church of S. Maria in Selva with Cemetery.
The Castello Visconteo complex (part of which may have been designed
by Leonardo da Vinci) is on the list. Two schools, the Ai Saleggi
primary school and the Secondary School at via Dr. G. Varesi 30, as
well as the Cantonal Library are also listed. The last two are the
Pinacoteca comunale Casa Rusca at piazza Sant’Antonio and the
Casorella at Via Bartolomeo Rusca 5 make up the rest of the list. The
entire city of
Locarno is listed on the Inventory of Swiss Heritage
Santa Maria in Selva mural
Santa Maria in Selva mural
Madonna del Sasso.
Locarno has a number of interesting sights that draw tourists
Locarno is a 1 : 1,000,000,000 scale model of the
Solar System. The Sun can be found at the end of Via Gioacchino
Respini where the cycle path, which runs alongside the river Maggia,
starts. Pluto, the final planet in the model, can be found 6
kilometres (4 miles) away from this starting point in the village of
Madonna del Sasso,
Cardada and Cimetta
The sanctuary of Madonna del Sasso in
Orselina above the city is the
principal sight and goal of pilgrimage in the city.
The founding of the sanctuary goes back to a vision of the Virgin Mary
Franciscan brother Bartolomeo d'Ivrea experienced in the
night of 14/15 August 1480. The interior is highly decorated, and a
platform gives a magnificent view of the city.
Locarno–Madonna del Sasso funicular
Locarno–Madonna del Sasso funicular links
Locarno city centre
with the Madonna del Sasso sanctuary and Orselina. From Orselina, a
cable car operates to the top of
Cardada (el. 1,340 m
(4,400 ft)), and a chair lift goes further to the top of Cimetta
(el. 1,671 m (5,482 ft)).
Castello Visconteo, on the edge of the old town, was built in the 12th
century, probably as the residence of a Captain Orelli, who remained
true to the Emperor. In 1260, it fell into the hands of the
Ghibellines. In 1342 the Visconti of Milan, for whom it is now named,
attacked the castle from both the land and the lake side and took it.
It first came into the hands of the Eidgenossen in 1503. Today, only a
fifth of the original structure remains. Most of that dates from the
15th and 16th centuries. Only the foundation remains from the original
In the 2007 federal election the most popular party was the FDP which
received 34.88% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were
the SP (19.72%), the CVP (18.75%) and the
Ticino League (9.54%). In
the federal election, a total of 3,303 votes were cast, and the voter
turnout was 40.5%.
In the 2007[update] Gran Consiglio election, there were a total of
8,555 registered voters in Locarno, of which 4,291 or 50.2% voted. 90
blank ballots and 15 null ballots were cast, leaving 4,186 valid
ballots in the election. The most popular party was the PLRT which
received 913 or 21.8% of the vote. The next three most popular parties
were; the SSI (with 822 or 19.6%), the PS (with 790 or 18.9%) and the
PPD+GenGiova (with 703 or 16.8%).
In the 2007[update] Consiglio di Stato election, 66 blank ballots and
23 null ballots were cast, leaving 4,202 valid ballots in the
election. The most popular party was the PS which received 946 or
22.5% of the vote. The next three most popular parties were; the PLRT
(with 837 or 19.9%), the SSI (with 768 or 18.3%) and the PPD (with 714
Office building in Locarno
As of 2007[update],
Locarno had an unemployment rate of 5.93%.
As of 2005[update], there were 86 people employed in the primary
economic sector and about 23 businesses involved in this sector. 2,385
people were employed in the secondary sector and there were 158
businesses in this sector. 7,338 people were employed in the tertiary
sector, with 920 businesses in this sector. There were 6,688
residents of the municipality who were employed in some capacity, of
which females made up 46.6% of the workforce.
In 2000[update], there were 7,550 workers who commuted into the
municipality and 2,864 workers who commuted away. The municipality is
a net importer of workers, with about 2.6 workers entering the
municipality for every one leaving. About 12.1% of the workforce
Locarno are coming from outside Switzerland, while none of
the locals counted in the census, commute out of
work. Of the working population, 10.5% used public transportation
to get to work, and 44.1% used a private car.
As of 2009[update], there were 30 hotels in
Locarno with a total of
777 rooms and 1,536 beds.
Church of S. Antonio Abate
From the 2000 census[update], 10,179 or 69.9% were Roman Catholic,
while 1,072 or 7.4% belonged to the Swiss Reformed Church. There are
2,307 individuals (or about 15.84% of the population) who belong to
another church (not listed on the census), and 1,003 individuals (or
about 6.89% of the population) did not answer the question.
Locarno about 57.1% of the population (between age 25-64) have
completed either non-mandatory upper secondary education or additional
higher education (either university or a Fachhochschule).
Locarno there were a total of 2,210 students (as of 2009[update]).
Ticino education system provides up to three years of
non-mandatory kindergarten and in
Locarno there were 292 children in
kindergarten. The primary school program lasts for five years and
includes both a standard school and a special school. In the village,
648 students attended the standard primary schools and 65 students
attended the special school. In the lower secondary school system,
students either attend a two-year middle school followed by a two-year
pre-apprenticeship or they attend a four-year program to prepare for
higher education. There were 512 students in the two-year middle
school and 10 in their pre-apprenticeship, while 203 students were in
the four-year advanced program.
The upper secondary school includes several options, but at the end of
the upper secondary program, a student will be prepared to enter a
trade or to continue on to a university or college. In Ticino,
vocational students may either attend school while working on their
internship or apprenticeship (which takes three or four years) or may
attend school followed by an internship or apprenticeship (which takes
one year as a full-time student or one and a half to two years as a
part-time student). There were 146 vocational students who were
attending school full-time and 293 who attend part-time.
The professional program lasts three years and prepares a student for
a job in engineering, nursing, computer science, business, tourism and
similar fields. There were 41 students in the professional
As of 2000[update], there were 1,484 students in
Locarno who came from
another municipality, while 405 residents attended schools outside the
Locarno is home to the Biblioteca Cantonale
Locarno library. The
library has (as of 2008[update]) 122,115 books or other media, and
loaned out 97,667 items in the same year. It was open a total of 264
days with average of 44 hours per week during that year.
In 2014 the crime rate, of the over 200 crimes listed in the Swiss
Criminal Code (running from murder, robbery and assault to accepting
bribes and election fraud), in
Locarno was 77.9 per thousand
residents, which was slightly higher than the national average (64.6).
During the same period, the rate of drug crimes was 27.2 per thousand
residents. This rate is 138.6% greater than the rate in the district,
209.1% greater than the cantonal rate and 174.7% greater than the
national rate. The rate of violations of immigration, visa and work
permit laws was 2.6 per thousand residents. This rate is lower than
average, only 72.2% of the rate in the canton and only 53.1% of the
rate for the entire country.
Locarno has a football team, FC Locarno. As of the 2012-2013 season
they play in the Swiss Challenge League, the 2nd tier of the Swiss
football league system.
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Switzerland
Twin towns – Sister cities
Locarno is twinned with:
Lompoc, California, United States
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Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Locarno.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Locarno.
The city of
Locarno official website
Official Website of Ascona-
The old town of Locarno
Photo tour of the Astrovia Locarno
Castello Visconteo information
Lake Maggiore (Lago Maggiore, Verbano)
Lombardy (Province of Varese)
Piedmont (Province of Novara, Province of Verbano Cusio Ossola)
Ticino (Distretto di Locarno)
Brezzo di Bedero
Castelletto sopra Ticino
Pino sulla Sponda del Lago Maggiore
Ronco sopra Ascona
Tronzano Lago Maggiore
Isola dei Pescatori
Isolino di San Giovanni
Isola San Pancrazio
Castelli di Cannero
Giardino Botanico Alpinia
Sacro Monte di Ghiffa
The Bishop's Bedroom
House of Borromeo
Peter Martyr d'Anghiera
Municipalities in the district of Locarno, Switzerland
Brione sopra Minusio
Ronco sopra Ascona
Terre di Pedemonte
Districts of Canton Ticino
Municipalities of the canton of Ticino
BNF: cb119619375 (data)