Locarnese history between 1500-1945, 500 years of history


Click here for the next tour ! This private tour offers a picks for the best military sites in the region of Locarno, Canton Ticino. The short tour (4 hours in total) will combine visits on selected sites as well as a brief historical introduction on the period. Every participant will receive a booklet (German – English – Italian) specific to this tour. Payment by Paypal or IBAN, contact us for the details.



Click here for the next tour !

Historical Introduction

The region of Locarno has a heritage in military and diplomatic history worth to be explored and lived. This tour spans over 500 years and sums up our commitment in researching and understanding local history. With live examples we tour the castles defense system of Locarno, which was partially engineered by Leonardo Da Vinci and get a deep understanding of what shaped the present region and Switzerland around 1500. We purse our historic journey to the Italian liberation war of 1863 and Giuseppe Garibaldi Locarno’s visit. We then move to the end of the First World War, when Locarno managed to the Locarno Peace Conference of 1925.  From the outbreak of the Second World War (1940) the region of Locarno hosted several internment camps for soldiers that fled the German advance into Western Europe. We briefly grasp the economic contribution of this particular presence. In March 1945, a secret mission dubbed Sunrise, brought together for few hours in neutral Ascona, the commander of the German forces in Italy, SS-General Karl Wolff and the director of the OSS Allan Dulles. They both discussed on the shore of Lake Maggiore the surrender of 800’000 German soldiers in Italy, thus avoiding a bloody last stand that would have collapsed the Italian and Swiss economy.

Content of the tour

Welcome by the tour guide and local expert. Overview of the historical setting. We start from the sites where Confederate troops fought against French forces for almost 15 years in 1500. We will visit what is thought to be Leonard DaVinci direct military contribution to the Castle of Locarno. We will jump to Italian Risorgimento, visiting the surroundings of the Villa in which Giuseppe Garibaldi spent few hours while in 1862 We will jump to 1925 and its Locarno Peace Conference. An attempt to reconcile the opposing forces that participated in the First World War. We will visit the highlights of this Conference as passing by the Villa where Benito Mussolini slept in 1925. We will finish the tour with a drink in the same place that SS-General Karl Wolff handled the surrender of the Germans forces in Italy. His counterpart in this delicate mission was Allan Dulles, who till 1963 and the fiasco of the Bay of Pigs, managed to direct the CIA.

Requirements for personal fitness
No significant differences in altitude, no special trekking ability required. The tour requires however a certain flexibility and endurance.


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