Castello di Sasso Corbaro

The Sforzas built the third castle, called Sasso Corbaro after the hill on which it stands, in 1479 after the defeat of the Milanese troops at the Battle of Giornico. It was designed and completed in the incredibly brief time of 6 month by the military engineer Benedetto Ferrini of Florence who died of the plague shortly before its completion. Its dominant position 230 meters above the town meant better protection of the Ticino Valley. The Castle, starkly geometrical in shape, stands in a square courtyard surrounded by massive walls which are as much as 4.70 meters thick at the point where they join the keep on the north side. The lookout tower on the south side is still almost intact. During early Swiss occupation, the castle was known as the Castle of Unterwalden but was renamed Santa Barbara in 1818. Today it is called Sasso Corbaro or Castello di Cima.

It was abandoned in 1798 and started to deteriorate; it would have fallen into complete disrepair had the Canton not interceded in 1870, handing it over to an organization which planned to turn it into a hotel, and later to three Bellinzonas families who transformed it into a summer residence. In 1919, the state regained possession and began restoration that included the rebuilding of the "Rivellino", or outer courtyard, the entrance gates, the 17th c. chapel and the well. The castle can be easily reached, by road either from Castello di Montebello or by Via Ospedale. The latter flanks the Dragonato stream, which flows past the church of the Madonna della Neve. The castle is situated on a wooded hillside in an idyllic setting with magnificent views taking in the Riviera Valley and the Pizzo di Claro to the north and Lago Maggiore to the south.