1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Locarno

LOCARNO (Ger. Luggarus), a small town of Italian appearance in the Swiss canton of Tessin or Ticino, of which till 1881 it was one of the three capitals (the others being Bellinzona, q.v., and Lugano, q.v.). It is built at the north or Swiss end of the Lago Maggiore, not far from the point at which the Maggia enters that lake, and is by rail 14 m. S.W. of Bellinzona. Its height above the sea-level is only 682 ft., so that it is said to be the lowest spot in Switzerland. In 1900 its population was 3603, mainly Italian-speaking and Romanists. It was taken from the Milanese in 1512 by the Swiss who ruled it till 1798, when it became part of the canton of Lugano in the Helvetic Republic, and in 1803 part of that of Tessin or Ticino, then first erected. In 1555 a number of Protestant inhabitants were expelled for religious reasons, and going to Zürich founded the silk industry there. Above Locarno is the romantically situated sanctuary of the Madonna del Sasso (now rendered easily accessible by a funicular railway) that commands a glorious view over the lake and the surrounding country.  (W. A. B. C.)