First mentioned in records in 807AD when controlled by Italian
nobility, Locarno had previously been a Roman settlement, although
this area of Lake Maggiore bears evidence of inhabitation since
prehistoric times. Largely an agricultural community, Locarno's
prosperity as a centre of trade and commerce grew in the fourteenth
century thanks to its proximity to a trading route between Italy,
Switzerland and Germany.
This long and colourful history has bestowed a wealth of
historic buildings upon Locarno and today the city boasts nine
individual, Swiss Heritage Sites of National Significance including
the twelfth century Castello Visconteo, and the Church of Saint
Francesco which dates from 1538.