Locarno lies in the Ticino on a river delta formed by the Maggia River before flowing into Lago Maggiore. Sheltered by the mountains of the Alps, Locarno enjoys an exceptional climate in which hydrangeas, magnolias and camellias blossom as early as in March. Visitors of Locarno will find pleasant walks among the gardens, along the shores of the lake and on the vine-covered slopes above the lake in the friendly little village of Orselina.
Piazza Grande - This famous square in the old district is an important place in the life of the city. The Piazza Grande is frequented by locals, who enjoy coming herre for a stroll, as well as by tourists, attracted by the shopping arcades, cafés and restaurants, especially in summer when the sunny terraces overflow with people. The old houses that surround the Piazza Grand definitely add charm to the whole ensemble.
Every year in the beginning of August, film buffs meet in Locarno to attend the International Film Festival, when Piazza Grande becomes a huge open-air cinema screen.
To square is flanked by pretty lawns and fine trees and ends at the landing stage from which boat trips on the lake can be organized.
Castello Visconteo - The castle is named after the Visconti, a famous Italian family who ruled over Milan from the 13 -15th century. The castle endured troubled times in the 14th century during a feud between the Guelfs, who supported the emperor and the Ghibellines (the Visconti), a faction of papal supremacy. Today it is a Municipal and Archeological Museum which is devoted to the region.
Chiesa San Francesco - Consecrated in 1230 by Umberto di Monserrato, the Bishop of Como, the church attached to the former Franciscan convent was extensively restored in the 16th century. The austere interior features a nave and two side aisles separated by five twin columns made of granite, taken from the Ascona area.
Casa Rusca - Piazza Sant'Antonio. The house that used to contain the local art gallery is a fine example of a 17th century patrician residence. Arcades laid out on three levels surround the beautiful courtyard. Exhibitions, renewed on a regular basis, are devoted to modern and contemporary art and always focus on the works of a specific artist.
BOAT TRIPS ON LAKE MAGGIORE
Visitors to Locarno can spend a pleasant afternoon relaxing on a boat, gliding along the water's surface. There are several boat trips available, ranging from a simple crossing ending at the pontoon on the opposite shore (Magadino), at Ascona or Brissago, to a proper excursion including a visit to Stresa and the Iles Borromées.