Facts and Data

Official Unesco Page
Bellinzona UNESCO World Heritage

Basis Data:
Unesco World heritage since: 2000
Size of heritage: 5.00 ha

Longitude: 9,022°
Latitude: 46,193°


The Bellinzona site consists of a group of fortifications grouped around the castle of Castelgrande, which stands on a rocky peak looking out over the entire Ticino valley. Running from the castle, a series of fortified walls protect the ancient town and block the passage through the valley. A second castle (Montebello) forms an integral part of the fortifications, while a third but separate castle (Sasso Corbaro) was built on an isolated rocky promontory south-east of the other fortifications.

Location on Map

Show bigger map on Openstreetmap

Three Castles, Defensive Wall and Ramparts of the Market-Town of Bellinzona

The Three Castles, Defensive Wall and Ramparts of the Market-Town of Bellinzona is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in the town of Bellinzona, in the Canton of Ticino, Switzerland. This site comprises three medieval castles, namely Castelgrande, Montebello, and Sasso Corbaro, along with their connecting defensive walls and ramparts.


The history of this heritage site dates back to the 4th century when Bellinzona was a Roman settlement. However, it was during the Middle Ages that the town gained strategic importance due to its location on the Alpine passes. The three castles were built between the 13th and 15th centuries to protect the town and control the surrounding valleys.

Castelgrande, the oldest of the three castles, was constructed on a rocky hill and served as the residence of the local lords. Montebello, located on a nearby hill, was primarily a military fortress. Sasso Corbaro, the smallest of the three, was built on a rocky outcrop and acted as a watchtower.

Over the centuries, Bellinzona and its castles witnessed numerous conflicts and sieges. The town changed hands several times between the Duchy of Milan, the Swiss Confederation, and the Duchy of Milan again. The castles were continuously reinforced and expanded to adapt to evolving military technologies.

Current State

Today, the Three Castles, Defensive Wall and Ramparts of the Market-Town of Bellinzona stand as remarkable examples of medieval military architecture. The castles have been well-preserved and restored, allowing visitors to experience the grandeur and strategic significance of these fortifications.

Castelgrande, the most prominent of the three castles, features a central keep, a fortified wall, and a series of towers. Visitors can explore the castle's courtyards, climb the towers for panoramic views, and visit the archaeological museum housed within its walls.

Montebello, located on a neighboring hill, offers a glimpse into the life of a medieval garrison. Its well-preserved interior showcases the living quarters, armory, and chapel. The castle also provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Sasso Corbaro, the smallest castle, is known for its impressive cylindrical tower. Visitors can climb to the top and enjoy breathtaking views of Bellinzona and the Swiss Alps. The castle also houses a small museum dedicated to the history of the fortifications.

The defensive walls and ramparts that connect the three castles are equally impressive. They stretch for over four kilometers and feature various gates, bastions, and watchtowers. Walking along the walls provides a unique perspective on the town and its surrounding countryside.

The Three Castles, Defensive Wall and Ramparts of the Market-Town of Bellinzona have become a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the world. The site's historical significance, architectural beauty, and panoramic views make it a must-visit for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Hotels and places to stay

La Tureta

Distance: 1,7 mi
Piazza Grande 43
6512 Giubiasco

Time Information

Checkout: 12:00 - Checkin: 14:00
Weekday: 7:00 - 23:00
Weekend: 7:00 - 23:00


Distance: 0,1 mi
Via Henri Guisan 1
6500 Bellinzona

Time Information

Checkout: 11:00 - Checkin: 12:00
Weekday: 7:00 - 23:30
Weekend: closed

Internazionale Bellinzona Hotel & SPA

Distance: 0,3 mi
Viale Stazione 35
6500 Bellinzona

Time Information

Checkout: 12:00 - Checkin: 14:00
Weekday: 0:00 - 24:00
Weekend: 0:00 - 24:00

Bellinzona Sud Swiss Quality Hotel

Distance: 1,1 mi
Autostrada A2
6513 Bellinzona

Time Information

Checkout: 11:00 - Checkin: 14:00
Weekday: 5:00 - 23:00
Weekend: 5:00 - 23:00

Videos from the area

Castel Grande Bellinzona - Bewegungen

Published: June 17, 2009
Length: 27:37 min
Rating: 4 of 5
Author: Karlheinz Dietrich

Bewegungen auf dem Castel Grande in Bellinzona im Tessin in der Schweiz.

Visita a Bellinzona (Ticino )

Published: December 05, 2014
Length: 38:25 min
Rating: 5 of 5
Author: tierritasfs

Ciudad : Bellinzona Cantón : Ticino País : Suiza Castillos : Castelgrande,Castello di Montebello y Castello di Sasso Corbaro. Piazza Nosetto. Música: Ticino Ticino (Trio di Gandria )

Mercato (short film)

Published: March 23, 2015
Length: 42:18 min
Rating: 5 of 5
Author: 3 Castles Productions

Some images from the traditional markt of Bellinzona. Three Castles Productions: Luigi Donato Giacomo Vanini Nauris Felice.

Castello , Kastel , fortezza , fortress

Published: December 19, 2013
Length: 06:51 min
Rating: 0 of 5
Author: Emir Nisic

Festa popolare

Published: October 26, 2009
Length: 33:06 min
Rating: 5 of 5
Author: Karlheinz Dietrich

Festa popolare in Bellinzona auf dem Castel Grande mit Baraban, Bandello della Val d Intelvi, Vox Blenii.

Videos provided by Youtube are under the copyright of their owners.

Webcams from the area