According to recorded documents, this building could date back as far as the 1600s. The very elaborate façade could have been built in the middle of the eighteenth century. In the upper area of the first floor of the façade, we find the coats of arms of the twelve cantons. They all have a fess underneath them with the name of the Canton and the date of their adhesion to the Confederation. In turn, these Cantons sent bails (balivi) to administer The Italian territories. At the centre, in a prominent position, is the imperial coat of arms: a double-headed eagle with crowned heads on a gilded field. In a privileged position with respect to the other figures, this was probably so as to remind the local people of the Imperial laws when local ordinances didn’t give any guidance. The coat of arms chosen to represent Sonvico is a rampant unicorn on a blue field with above a fess with the writing "Sonvicum Eiusque Castellantia". It should be pointed out that Sonvico never used the coat of arms the Castellany received from Filippo Maria Visconti, duke of Milan, in 1414. This was possibly due to the quick return (1416) to the dominion of Como under Loterio Rusca.
Who commissioned these paintings? Perhaps the inhabitants of Sonvico who, with great opportunism, once again had the sensitivity not to show their new Lords a coat of arms that symbolised loyalty and devotion towards the dukes of Milan. Furthermore, they had good reasons to feel gratitude to an occupier who let them retain all their privileges and who was not very interested in the internal affairs of the Castellany. Therefore, Sonvico had good reasons to fight against the new Helvetic Republic, wanted by Napoleon, which ended the bail system (1798-1803).
On the façade it is still possible to see three hooks made of iron with an animal's head at the end. One of them still has a ring decorated with broken lines, regularly intercalated by a sun. Word of mouth alleges that these hooks were used to exhibit in public people condemned to the pillory. Even up to 1870/1880 boys caught stealing were punished and tied to these hooks.
Before joining the city of Lugano, the municipality of Sonvico restored the loggias on the top floor using the rusticated motif on the corners of the building, without, unfortunately, reintroducing the original baroque cornices which decorated the windows on the first floor.
The Historical Sonvico Nature Trail
Stage 1: Well and "Riaron"
Stage 3: Graad
Stage 4: Cassinel
Stage 5: The mixed broadleaf woods
Stage 6: Geological oddities
Stage 7: Mill and bridge
Stage 8: The glade in the wood
Stage 9: The torrent Franscinone
Stage 10: Wash-house
Stage 11: The birds of the wood
Stage 12: The eroded valley of the Franscinone
Stage 12: Water and energy
Stage 13: The edge of the flood-level wood
Stage 14: Dairy farm for the processing of milk
Stage 15: Lime-kiln
Stage 16: The rural area
Stage 17: The Humid area of Canéed
Stage 18: The earth kiln for charcoal production
Stage 19: Terracing
Stage 20: Madonna d'Arla
Stage 21: The Chestnut Wood of Pian Piret
Stage 22: The Beechwood
Stage 23: The Boulder with Engraved Cupels
Stage 23: I Denti della Vecchia
Stage 24: R’Alborón
Stage 25: The Oratory of S. Martino
Stage 26: The old center of Sonvico
Stage 27: The Walnut Press
Stage 28: The Church of Saint John the Baptist
The Luganese Regional Bus Line covers the Lugano – Sonvico stretch; from Val Colla you can reach Sonvico, using the postal bus from Tesserete to Sonvico.