Sites not to be missed
Sites not to be missed
The cultural offer of Mendrisiotto which, according to the definition of the Swiss historian Gonzague de Reynold, is the "spear head" of Ticino that penetrates into the Po Valley, is not limited to the Historical Processions of the Holy Week in Mendrisio. From Chiasso to Bissone, the native town of the Baroque architect Francesco Borromini, there are several places that deserve a detailed visit.
Remaining on religious themes, visitors arriving in the district can admire a large variety of sacred buildings of a certain historical and artistic importance.
Just to mention the main ones, in Riva San Vitale we find the Baptistery of St. John, the oldest Christian construction to be entirely preserved in Switzerland, and the Temple of the Holy Cross, one of the most precious examples of late Renaissance architecture in the nation. The Sanctuary of St. Mary of Miracles in Lower Morbio, and the Church of St. Eusebius in Castel San Pietro, instead, provide the most complete evidence of the Baroque period in Ticino, while in Balerna we still find Palazzo della Nunziatura, where the Apostolic nuncio was welcomed in the past, upon entering Switzerland. In the Muggio Valley (voted as the Swiss landscape of the year in 2014) we also find considerable evidence of the work of architects Cantoni and Fontana, while the slopes of St. George present several traces of artists from the mountains (particularly Francesco Antonio Giorgioli from Meride, Antonio Rinaldi from Tremona and Andrea Salvatore Aglio from Arzo).
Mendrisio also features several precious examples of architecture, such as the Hospital of the Blessed Virgin, renamed Palazzo Turconi (the work of Luigi Fontana) and today the site of Mario Botta's Academy of Architecture, Palazzo Pollini in Late Baroque style, Villa Argentina and Casa Croci (or Carlàsc) designed by Architect Antonio Croci. Instead, Villa Turconi stands in Castel San Pietro, in the Loverciano area, while Palazzo di Mezzana in Coldrerio, the native town of artist Pier Francesco Mola, belonged to Queen Maria Cristina of Sardinia and now hosts the Cantonal Institute of Agriculture.
As regards museum, Ligornetto ― today a district of the City of Mendrisio ― features the Museo Vela, dedicated to sculptures by Vincenzo Vela, and the exhibition space of Casa Pessina, while in Chiasso one can visit the m.a.x. Museum dedicated to the Swiss artist Max Huber. In Rancate you can, instead, visit the Züst Art Gallery, whose permanent collection counts three canvases by Giovanni Serodine, including the famous “St. Peter in prison.” Always in Mendrisio, the former Cloister of the Convent of the Servite Fathers currently hosts the Museum of Art, while in Meride we find the Museum of Fossils, which displays specimens found on Mount St. George, a UNESCO world heritage site. The area will be further enhanced when the Antiquarium dedicated to the archaeological site of Tremona - Castello opens. The cultural offer is finally completed by two proposals that are very interesting from an anthropological standpoint, the Museum of Farming Civilisation in Stabio and the MEVM, or Ethnographic Museum of the Muggio Valley, which is situated in the charming setting of Casa Cantoni in Cabbio.
Tourists who are keen on exploring the landscape of this land can appease their curiosity by walking along the paths that lead to the top of Mt. Generoso or along the slopes of Mt. Bisbino. They can take a stroll by the river Laveggio, in the Motta Valley, in Parco delle Gole della Breggia or along the Cement Path.