Visconti Castle, Locarno, Switzerland

The next destination after Lucerne was Milan in Italy. However, Castello Visconteo at Lucarno called for a halt. It is one of the jewels of this quiet town. The castle is named after the Visconti, a famous Italian family who ruled over Milan from the 13 -15th century. In 1342 he attacked the castle from both the land and the lake side and took it. Over the years the structure has crumbled, what is visible today is only a fifth of the original structure.

The medieval facades that withstood the deterioration are impressive. I had to be content seeing them, because that particular day the Municipal and Archeological Museum housed inside was closed. This Museum is devoted to preserving the Roman artifacts of the region. It can also be rented in its entirety for private events. Imagine attending a gala party inside the castle which has preserved the magical medieval atmosphere.

Italian historian Marino Viganò was the first academic to voice his conviction (in 2004) that what had long been local legend: “Leonardo da Vinci was almost certainly involved in building part of Locarno’s Visconti Castle“, might turn out to be historical fact. His research convinced another world expert, Carlo Pedretti, director of the Armand Hammer Center for Leonardo Studies in Los Angeles, that Leonardo da Vinci had indeed been to Locarno and was the architect behind the castle’s bastion.

A board there indicated that the architect of the bastion, a defensive outwork, is the great Leonardo da Vinci. The fortifications stand a good chance to be declared as World Heritage Site. It is this possibility in future, which made me take the decision of halting there and see the great monument. To my bad luck the museum was closed.

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26 Responses to “Visconti Castle, Locarno, Switzerland

  • I love the historic titbits!

  • I love historical sites/structures. Must be really nice to tour the entire country of Italy. So much to see. Am salivating already.

  • Wonderful tour of the castle.

  • Oh, such a wonderful tour indeed! I love Italy and wish I could have spent more time there than I did. Marvelous photos and history/info that makes the pictures all the more interesting and beautiful! Continue to enjoy your tour, Indrani, and thanks for sharing it with us!


  • What a shame that you were unable to tour the inside. At least you were able to get some great shots of the exterior.

  • very interesting castle and fascinating historical tidbits. i wish you were able to go inside and see the artifacts. i remember walking around Milan, getting lost a few times, looking for the church that houses Da Vinci's "The Last Supper".:p

  • thanks a ton for sharing these beautiful images 🙂

  • WOW!!

    Beautiful place!!I love it!!!



  • The historical buildings are so interesting. Am sure these buildings witness lots of stories.

  • Thanks for the tour and info, it is a beautiful castle indeed and your photos really show its architectural beauty.

  • What an impressive building!Amazing that Leonardo da Vinci was the architect of this castle. Last year I wrote something about the castle of Chambord and I showed a staircase in the centre of the castle which was designed by Leonardo da Vinci. He was at that time famous all over west Europe.

  • What beautiful buildings, and lovely stonework.

  • I love castles.

  • Imagine dancing the night away in the castle!Leonardo da Vinci – a great master!

  • Very interesting post. It was unfortunate that you could not see the interiors. Wonderful pictures as well. Thanks.

  • The stone facade was lovely, The inside would be bare now so hope fully you didnt miss much, but I love to imagine how it would have been when people stayed there..thats the best part of go back in time and relive the past in the location we see today. lovely shots!

  • Stone buildings of medieval design have a charm of their own. Lovely pictures.

  • Excellent work on this blogThanks for your congratulations Greetings from Spain

  • Italy is a country that I would really like to explore. Thank you for the lovely images.

  • such an amazing structure! I love the scenic view in the background.
    I'm not surprised Leonardo had a hand in this.

  • These old castles are absolutely amazing. I love that stonework and what a history! Great post Indrani, thank you.
    An English Girl Rambles

  • Really neat place with a great history. Thanks for halting and showing us around.

  • The film director Visconti (The Leopard) was a descendant of the nobility that owned this castle. Fabulous place.

  • It's magnificent, isn't it? Love Italy! xxx

  • The first photo is a beautiful image with the mountains in Switzerland and the castle.
    Very impressive history of the place that Leonardo Da Vinci was an architect there.
    Enjoy the rest of your tour.
    I am dreaming of revisiting Italy, therefore I'll visit some of your other posts on Italy.
    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  • that first photo especially is fantastic.

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