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.
Recent excavations have shown that the site was inhabited as early as the Neolithic period. It was a Roman outpost until the frontiers of the empire were pushed further north to the Danube. Under pressure from barbarian inroads from the north, Bellinzone once again became a defensive stronghold against the peoples streaming down from the plains of central Europe. In the troubled days of the declining Roman Empire, the site fell into the hands of the Ostrogoths, the Byzantines, and finally the Lombards.
Since 2000 it is a Unesco site.
Thanks to Le and David for the postcard.