The mountains around Bellinzona a inviting you for a hike, either a short 30 minute stroll or a serious 5 hour hike, what ever you are up to.
Prepare your self according to the degree of difficulty your select.
There are several webpages helpfull, see my link as one of them
You will find a lot of interesting facades all over the centre of Bellinzona and some of them will give you the impression that you see 3-dimensional ornaments there, but in fact they are totally flat and just made in a certain technique like you will find it also in northern Italy.
The church Collegiata dei SS Pietro e Stefano dates back to the 16th century and was built in Renaissance-style by Tomaso Rodari from Maroggia, who had built also the cathedral of Como. Take a look inside, it is really impressive.
Chiesa di S. Rocco - on the right of my main picture - was my favorite building on Piazza Indipendenza with an obelisc in the centre of the square. You will see some houses with great facades there as well. Cheisa di S. Rocco is worth seeing, but unfortunately I got there, while a serice was going on and so I did not want to take any pics.
Chiesa di San Rocco is open:
Monday till Saturday
07.00am - 11.00am and
02.00pm till 05.00pm
This building is the townhall of Bellinzona and you will also find the tourist-information in the innercourt of this lovely building that reminds me a lot of an italian palazzo.
This building with various balconies facing the main square looks great already from outside, but it even looks better in the innercourt with lots of arcades, see my last pic and my next tip !
Terracotta-house is not the official name of this interesting building, that I saw not far from the townhall and it was decorated with interesting sculptures made of terracotta all over the facade and at the balconies. The building is used as a shopping-centre nowadays and you will find it at a quite narrow street, where it is really hard to take pics of the facade.
Castello di Sasso Corbaro is high up on a hill and overlooking the city of Bellinzona from quite a remote place, that is about 500 meters above the city. The castle dates back to the year 1478 and that way it is the "newest" of the 3 medieval castles.
There is a public bus going up there, but I did not have enough time to go there.
This is a seperate part of the medieval townwall of Bellinzona, next to the townhall. You cannot enter this part, it is just the wall for the car-park there. A few meters further-on the walls of another castle will begin, unfortunately I did not have enough time to explore this castle as well, it is Castello di Montebello (see it in my last 2 photos!).
Murata is the name for the medieval townwall that is dating back to the 15th century. You will be able to walk along this wall for several hundreds of meters on its top or as well in a hidden and quite dark corridor below (see both entrances in my 2nd pic). Both paths will start in the back part of Castelgrande and after some hundred meters there is a modern bridge over a street and then the walls continue and at the end you will be able to get out into the street, but are not able to walk back to the castle once that you have gone through the one-way-revolving door there.
Castelgrande was built on a small hill in the very centre of Bellinzona already in the 6th century.From its walls you will have a great view of the surrounding mountains. You can enter the castle freely and without restrictions during daytime and there is a speciality restaurant there as well, that is even open untill late at night.
Castelgrande is open daily
from 09.00am till midnight
BUT mondays only untill 06.00pm
because the restaurant is closed on mondays !
Dont miss to take a closer look at the arcades of the great innercourt of the townhall of Bellinzona. You can walk freely and without restrictions up to the 2nd floor (USA:3rd floor) from where you also have a great view of one of the 3 medieval castles up on the hill.
Castelgrande is standing on a hill just above the town centre. Of the three castles in Belizean it is the oldest one. On the site there was a Roman fortress, but the Bishop of Como had it rebuilt in the 12th century. It was then added to several times.
There are two tall squared towers at Castelgrande. They are called Torre Bianca (White Tower) and Torre Nera (Black Tower). From a sign on the door to Torre Bianca I understood it is sometimes open for visitors, but not when I visited. Guess the view is great from the top! The Historical Museum, which is housed in the castle was not open either.
Castello di Montebello is situated just east of the town centre. The castle dates from the 13th century and was probably built by the Rusca family from Como. Then it came into the hands of the Viscontis of Milan.
The walls were linked through the town on to Castelgrande, which made it a very good defence system. Besides walls and towers there is a residential palace from the 15th century at Montebello.
The Archaeological and Civic Museum is housed in the castle. It is open March to November, so it was closed when I visited.
Sasso Corbaro stands on a rocky hill about 600 metres southeast of the town centre, but walking up along the winding road it is much longer. It is worth the walk though as you will be regarded with great views over the Ticino Valley.
The first part of Sasso Corbaro was built in 1478, and that makes it the youngest of the three castles. It was built by the Duke of Milan, when the threat from the Swiss Confederation increased.
The museum of the castle houses temporary exhibitions and the Sala Emma Poglia, a wooden room with walnut panels. It is open March - November, so it was closed when I visited in the end of February.
Castelgrande (or Castle of Uri, or San Michele) is the oldest and largest of the three castles. Built in 1280, it was recently refurbished by renowned Swiss architect Aurelio Galfetti and offers walks on the ramparts, a permanent art collection and high-end restaurant.
There are two towers one the white tower which is 27 meters high and the black one is 28 meters. The castle is reachable from the city centre. We have to take a modern lift to reach this ancient castle.
January - December
Tuesday - Sunday 09.00 - 22.00
Monday 10.00 - 18.00
summer 10.00 - 19.00
winter 10.00 -17.00
Opening time for the Museum:
January - December
10.00 - 18.00
Monday - Sunday
Closed: 25 and 31 December