Photo/Bild: Fondazione Casa Tondü di Lionza.

The Tondü Palace

The canton of Tessin has not received as many German-speaking Swiss visitors as in this summer of 2020. The cause is, of course, primarily the sanitary crisis. For many, it will be a discovery of this beautiful canton. How many people, however, know the Tondü Palace in the village of Lionza, near Locarno?

Today the village has only twenty inhabitants, much less than in the nineteenth century. Yet in the middle of the village, there is a large, abandoned palace from the seventeenth century. This typical Italian palace at an altitude of 780 meters in a small town was built between 1650 and 1690.

It began with the chimney sweep Andrea Tondü, who left for Parma with his two sons in the seventeenth century. His sons made a fortune and built the palace in their native village. After that, the family engaged in the silk trade and banking and settled in Parma. The palace in Tondü became a summer residence. One of the descendants, Pietro Antonio Tondü, even became the intendant of the Duke of Parma at the end of the seventeenth century

 In 1784, the Tondü family donated the palace to the village of Lionza. The document, legato Tondü, has been preserved. Since that time, the palace has not been inhabited and has had the multifunction of a hall for villagers. There are plans to renovate it, as a restaurant, prison, loft for artists or museum. Time will tell after more than two hundred years of vacancy. (Source: Fondazione casa Tondü di Lionza,