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Morcote, Switzerland

Morcote is a municipality in the Swiss canton of Ticino situated about 10 kilometres from Lugano in the district of Lugano on the shore of Lake Lugano. With its characteristic small alleys, the arcades of old Patrician homes, valuable architectural monuments and its natural beauty, the lakefront position, Morcote is considered “the Pearl of Ceresio”

Heritage sites of national significance

The Chapel of S. Antonio Abate with its monumental staircase, the Parish Church of S. Maria del Sasso with Oratory, the Cimitero monumentale (Cemetery) and Scherrer Park are listed as Swiss heritage site of national significance. The entire village of Morcote is part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites.


The church of Santa Maria del Sasso was probably built in the 13th century. It was completely rebuilt in 1462 in the style of theRenaissance. In 1758 it was renovated in the baroque style, while in the 18th century a monumentual staircase was added to the front of the church. The church tower was built in the Middle Ages and made taller during the 16th century. The church contains several valuable frescos from the 16th and 17th Centuries including one painting that is dated to 1513. The sacramental chapel contains carvings from 1591 and paintings from 1611. In the chapel on the opposite side contains an example of illusionistic architecture painting from the 18th century.

Near the church is the Chapel Sant’ Antonio do Padova which was built in 1676 with an unusual octagonal floor plan and dome.

In 1750 a large cemetery was added near the church. In the beautiful terraced cemetery overlooking the lake, many artists are buried, among them Alexander Moissi, actor, Georges Baklanoff, Russian baritone, Georg Kaiser, German author, and Eugen d’Albert, German composer and pianist.

The chapel of Sant’ Antonio Abata, conscrated before 1591, was originally a hospice run by the Antonines order of Vienna. The interior houses several frescoes from a 15th-century master artist from Seregno, as well as other newer paintings. The arcades along the lake shore date partly from the Late Middle Ages and include several noble houses from the 16th to 18th centuries. One of the most interesting is the Palazzo Paleari which was built in 1483 and renovated in 1661. In 1965, Scherrer Gardens, the former home of wealthy St. Gallen textile merchant, was opened to the public. The gardens are rich with luxurious subtropical vegetation and many kinds of buildings and art, both original and copies from all over the world. The gardens include palm trees, camellias, wisteria and oleanders, cedar and cypress trees, camphor and eucalyptus, magnolias and azaleas, orange and lemon trees, bamboo and many other kinds of fragrant plants.

On our list of most beautiful places to visit in Switzerland

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