The Castles of Bellinzona

Once a fortified barrier at the gateway to the Alps, now a UNESCO World Heritage site.


These fortresses number among the finest examples of medieval fortification architecture in the alpine region. As they appear today, Bellinzona's fortifications, whose origins actually go much further back to a prehistoric settlement on Castelgrande hill, are mainly the result of intensive and complex building activity undertaken by the Dukes of Milan in the 15th century. The contruction of powerful defence installations, which effectively formed a barrier right across the Ticino valley floor to halt the advance of the confederates, dates back to this period in history. These battlements, towers and gateway, included in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2000, are still a source of wonder today.

Recommended bibliography

"The Castles of Bellinzona" by Werner Meyer, Society for the History of Swiss Art, Berne.

Interesting Links

The Bellinzona Unesco website is online
Google Street View
World Wonders Project
European Cooperation Day
UNESCO Destination Schweiz