The Three Castles of Bellinzona are a group of fortification located around the town of Bellinzona in canton Ticino, Switzerland. The group is composed of Castelgrande, castle Montebello, castle Sasso Corbaro and fortified walls. The Castelgrande is located on a rocky peak overlooking the valley, with a series of fortified walls that protect the old city and connect to the Montebello. The third castle (Sasso Corbaro) is located on an isolated rocky promontory south-east of the other two The Three Castles of Bellinzona have been an UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.
The castle Grandecan be reached by taking an elevator from the foot of the rock to the castle grounds or by climbing steep, narrow streets from the city center through the city wall onto the castle grounds. The south wing houses a museum that contains "6500 years of human presence on the hill ... and covers the period from the first Neolithic village to the 20th century". The museum also includes the decorated ceilings of Casa Ghiringhelli and from a former inn, the Albergo della Cervia as well as a collection from Bellinzona's mint. The museum is open throughout the year. To the west of the museum is the 19th century arsenal, which now houses a restaurant.
In addition to the castle walls Montebello Castle houses the Archaeological and Civic Museum. The museum was opened in 1974 and is located in the tower and the former residential quarters of Montebello Castle. It is divided into two sections-history and archaeology. In the history section there are several capitals from the 15th century and a rare 13th century Baptismal font as well as drawings and sketchs from several artists. This section also houses a collection of ceremonial and military arms. The archaeology section includes many items from 1400–1500 B.C. as well as ceramics, glassware, funeral urns, ornamental objects and jewellery in iron and bronze from around the canton. The museum is open from March to November.
Today, Sasso Corbaro Castle houses the Sala Emma Poglia which is the "wooden room" built for the Emma family during the 17th century. Originally located in the entrance hall of their home in Olivone in the Blenio Valley, the room was purchased by the Canton of Ticino in 1944 and housed first in the Castelgrande before being moved to the Sasso Corbaro in 1989. The room is panelled entirely in walnut and also includes the stüva, stove which provided heating. The stove bears the crest of the Emma family (an eagle and a lion rampant). The museum also houses temporary exhibits. It is open from March until November.
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