photographer simone bossi captures the atmosphere — both ancient and contemporary — of the restored ‘castelgrande’ of bellinzona, switzerland. with most of its original elements dating back to the 13th century, the medieval stone castle saw an artful revitalization through the 1980s by swiss architect aurelio galfetti. the 20th century transformation allows a clear reading of the history of europe through the history of the fortress, while introducing a functional use of the buildings and the park for visitors and residents of the village of bellinzone.

all images © simone bossi photographer



the rough stone fortress walls of the medieval castelgrande are interrupted with clean, brutalist geometries — a dichotomy captured by italian photographer simone bossi. with the series of images, the photographer reveals the beauty of the site which results from its expressive layering of different ages, with elements spanning many centuries across antiquity. this language of ‘layered history’ is at last continued by 20th century architect aurelio galfetti, who echoes the site’s ancient expression of heavy stonework while celebrating his own contemporary style.




architect aurelio galfetti comments on his castelgrande restoration:the commission was only about the buildings on the top of the rock. I believed it was more important to give the restoration an urban dimension. in the end, the project develops some secondary spaces to support the city producing a park, a public park in the city of bellinzona only made of rock, stone walls, four trees and a lake in the sky. a park is a place to go and stay, and so this proposal involves a route through a public space, a void that connects people with the great landscape down to lake maggiore, on the alps.’

castelgrande castelgrande castelgrande castelgrande castelgrande



project info:


photo series title: ECHOES

photographer: simone bossi

project name: castelgrande

restoration architect: aurelio galfetti

restoration date: 1983-1989

location: bellinzona, switzerland