Locarno (Latin: Leocarnum; literally: "Lion's Flesh") is the capital of the Locarno district, located on the northern tip of Lake Maggiore (Lago Maggiore) in the Swiss canton ofTicino, close to Ascona at the foot of the Alps. It has a population of about 15,000 (60,000 for the urban area including Ascona). The official language of Locarno is Italian. It is the 74th biggest city in Switzerland by population and the 3rd biggest of the canton Ticino, after Lugano and Bellinzona.
The Locarno International Film Festival takes place every year in August in the Piazza Grande.
The Locarno Treaties were negotiated here in 1925.
In January 2004, the Italian historian Marino Vigano speculated that Locarno's castle may have been designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
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 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 1946-49, a number of Roman era tombs were discovered on the terrace between the churches of S. Maria in Selva and S. Giovanni Battista in Solduno. The Roman city that became Locarno was therefore between the Vicus of Muralto and this cemetery. Unfortunately, intensive construction and agricultural activity have destroyed many traces of the 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 cremation and body burials were practiced side by side. Among the significant, a number of glass items were discovered. The Roman necropolis was used from the end of the Latène era until the middle of the 3rd century AD. The Romanization of Locarno wiped out much of the local culture or replaced the rest with Roman elements. However, it appears that there was no Roman ruling class, which could had dominated the local population.
Capitanei di Locarno
The Capitanei, were a group of noble families that led Locarno. The term is first mentioned in a document granting market rights to the town by Emperor Frederick I in 1164. This title was originally 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 Capitanei were probably descendants of the old Lombard noble Da Besozzo family from the county of Seprioio. 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 of management of Church property entrusted to the 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 ofhigh justice so their political power was limited. However, they played an important role in the 13th and 14th century conflicts between the Guelphs and Ghibellines and in the wars between Como and Milan.
In Locarno, at the Reformation, two of the three great feudal families of capitanei: Muralto and Orelli emigrated to Zürich. A branch of Muralt was established in Bern. The third great family, Magoria, remained in Locarno.
The Capitanei retained a role in Locarno's politics until 1798. In 1803, the lands and rights of the Capitanei were integrated into the political municipality of Locarno.
Harbor of Locarno. Trade along the lake allowed Locarno to flourishStarting 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 Ages Locarno and 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 expansion by 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 Locarno in 1164 and grantedimperial 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 mid-14th century.
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, the only German language newspaper in Ticino, the Tessiner Zeitung, is published three times each week in Locarno.
LocarnoLocarno has an area, as of 1997, 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 Magadino valley along with the right side of the Ticino river, and stretches from the Bolle di Magadino to Monda Contone.
Locarno has an average of 100.7 days of rain or snow 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 rain or snow. During this month there is precipitation for an average of 12.6 days. The driest month of the year is December with an average of 61 mm (2.4 in) of precipitation over 5.5 days.
|[hide]Climate data for Locarno/Monti|
|Average high °C (°F)||6.1|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||2.6|
|Average low °C (°F)||0.2|
|Precipitation mm (inches)||73|
|Avg. precipitation days||6||6.2||7.3||9.6||12.6||10.3||9.3||9.5||7.9||8.4||8.1||5.5||100.7|
|Source: MeteoSchweiz |