The Tower

The tower is one of the few examples of medieval architecture left in our village and dates to 1249.

It’s 15 m tall, it was the stronghold’s second outpost, together with the small keep on the lakeshore, and had a garrison of five men. The upper part was demolished in 1767 because it was at risk of crumbling. It originally featured three rooms: the guardhouse on the ground floor, the commander’s office on the first floor, and the observation post with embrasures and loopholes on the top floor. The roof was used as a lookout at night-time. The rooms were all decorated and featured paintings depicting the coats of arms of families who escaped the 1432 plague. Even to this very day, you can see the replicas of the heraldic coats of arms of the most important families in Morcote.


From 1845 to 1934 the ground floor was occupied by the municipal police, the first floor was the office of the head of the military department, while the last floor was the municipal school for women until 1861, replaced by the Municipality until 1934. The tower’s facade faces the lake and looks out onto the street; above an arched door, there once was a large Cinquecento fresco spanning the entire breadth of the building, depicting Saint Abbondio sitting in a throne: preacher of Christianity, bishop of Como and patron of Morcote until the diocese of Lugano was founded. The most significant part of the tower is the well-preserved Gothic mullioned window overlooking the lake. The tower became completely empty once the wooden slab, which divided the space vertically, deteriorated, leaving the old stone wall visible in its entirety. In this container Alex Dorici created a work of art, Site Specific, using the Gothic mullioned window as a starting point which was then purchased by Morcote municipality in 2016. The Lugano artist created two structures in orange and white naval ropes, illuminated by ultraviolet lights giving a new interpretation of the space.