The “Portici” – arches – of morcotesian houses, are considered among the most beautiful in the Ticino, and were constructed using noble stones and columns obtained from abandoned ancient village houses in the period from 1300 to 1500.

In 1862, due to the increased level of water, one “portico” dissapeared into the lake along with fourteen others supporting walls of seven houses.

The homes above the archways are historical houses. From ‘Piazza Grande’, and heading towards Melide, you’ll encounter the following buildings worth seeing:

  • the house of the Paleari Counts, a local noble family whose coat of arms takes pride of place on the façade. It’s the palace with a medieval column
  • the Fossati residence (some notable members included the famous architects), is located in the extension of the Paleari home
  • the last home of the current archway was built by the Paleari in 1483 and was revisited in a Baroque style in 1661. Its facade features numerous stuccos by Abbondio Paleari

Today the archways are just a shadow of what they were, as they once stretched all the way out to the house of Carlo Isella’s heirs. A landslide on 10 September 1862 caused the missing stretch to tumble down into the lake. They were built between 1300 and 1500 and decorated using medieval columns and masonry from the abandoned homes of the original Romanic village. They represented a public agora, a river promenade and the lake port; the locals met during civil and religious ceremonies, as well as during artistic events. Below the archways, even in the past, you had emporiums selling local products from the lake, fields, and forests; it was also a beloved spot for fishermen to gather, as they would set their nets out and mend any tears in them.