Last Updated on 15/09/2022
Now we will go to the other end of the lake – to Morcote and Caslano. Let’s look narrow streets of Morcote and Villa Scherrer park.
Morcote is arguing with Gandria for the right to be called the most beautiful town on the lake. And it really looks very picturesque from the water. It is more difficult to assess this impression from the shore, because if you are already in the town, you see only narrow streets.
This small town has a rather long history. For the first time it is mentioned in documents in 926 under the name Murcau (from Lat. Morae caput – “end of the hill”, the end of the peninsula).
Around 1100, a castle was built at Morcote to guard and control trade on the lake. There was something to control: before the construction the dam at Melide in the middle of the 19th century Morcote was the largest port on the lake – goods from northern Italy were transported to Ticino.
In 1422, the Duke of Milan granted the city special privileges (tax, self-government, the right to fish in the lake), which survived even when they came under the control of the Swiss Confederation.
Morcote is located on a rather steep slope. The church is much higher than the houses and hides behind their roofs. Some in our family managed not to notice her at all.
The Church of Santa Maria del Sasso dates back to the 13th century. But it was completely rebuilt in the Renaissance style in 1462. And in 1758 changes were added in the Baroque style.
In the 18th century a staircase of 400 steps was built. We were afraid of number of steps and did not climb up, although there are several frescoes from the 16th and 17th centuries inside.
The entire town consists of the main street and its extension with the big name Piazza Grande. When you walk, you don’t even know that it is a “piazza” (not to mention “Grand” – apparently in the format of a town), especially since cars are passing through it. There are still several narrow streets-passages to the houses of the second and third levels.
Houses overlooking the lake (16-18th centuries, Palazzo Paleari – 15th century) are decorated with arcades, under which shops and restaurants hide.
In addition to the houses of the first line and the church, the same castle from the beginning of the 12th century and the medieval captain’s tower (1249) have been preserved. The castle hides even higher, among the vineyards.
Monte Generoso behind
Villa Scherrer park
I especially recommend visiting Morcote for those who likes gardens and parks. There is a small but wonderful park of the Villa Scherrer (Parco Scherrer). If you go from the direction of Lugano, then you need to drive / walk through the whole city along the embankment.
Arthur Scherrer (born in St. Gallen in 1881, died in 1956) was an extraordinary man. He was a specialist in the textile industry, studied in Lausanne, Aachen, Siena, North America. In Munich, Scherrer owned an English fashion store. In the middle of the 20th century he acquired an old house with a stable near the town of Morcote, and subsequently also a plot of land with a vineyard and a chestnut forest. He converted the house into a villa and created a “garden of miracles”. In 1965, Scherrer’s widow donated the garden to the city with the wish that it be open to the public.
The park is laid out on a steep slope, the route is numbered. Narrow paths and stairs lead from point to point. Each item is a small garden with copies or originals of works of art from all over the world, various exotic plants.
In the park there are palm trees, camellias, oleanders, cedars, cypresses, eucalyptus trees, magnolias, azaleas, orange trees and lemons, bamboo … Ancient gods and Asian sculptures are hidden in the foliage. There is a small copy of a Greek temple, gazebos, Arabic and Hindu pavilions.
There are not many people in the park, you can relax on one of the benches and feel yourself in a different time and world. If you do not stop, the visit will take about 40 minutes. You can run in 20 minutes, but then you won’t see even half.
Once upon a time, there was a Roman fortification on the site of Caslano, which is indicated by both the name and the layout of the city.
However, nothing has survived from the Romans, and the town is interesting for its two museums (fishing and chocolate) and the small Caslano mountain, which is considered a natural park and a thematic trail leads to the top of which.
It is easy to get from Lugano by train – it follows the railway built at the beginning of the 20th century and looks more like a tram.
Not far from Caslano there is a small zoo (Zoo Maglio).