It is now an archaeological museum, housing Locarnese artefacts from the late Bronze Age to the High Middle Ages. The show-piece is the collection of Roman glasses excavated in Ticino. An extensive collection of approx. 200 exhibits. Documents on the Locarno Peace Talks (Locarno Pact, 1925) are to be found in the municipal museum.
The wonderful facade, featuring stucco work by Giovanni Serodine, was created around 1620 in conjunction with restoration work on the building. The stucco art presents scenes from the Holy Scriptures.
Most striking of all Locarno's sights is the Franciscan Santuario della Madonna del Sasso church, an impressive ochre vision floating above the town on a wooded crag (sasso means rock) and consecrated in 1487 on the spot where, seven years earlier, the Virgin had appeared to Brother Bartholomeo da Ivrea from the San Francesco monastery in the town.
The twenty-minute walk up through the lush ravine of the Torrente Ramogno and past a handful of decaying shrines, is atmospheric enough in itself; or you could take the half-hourly funicular from just west of the station to Ticino's greatest photo-op, looking down through the palms to the sunlit arcaded main front of the church and glittering blue lake behind.
In 2005, this architect from Locarno was awarded the European Steel Construction Prize for the building. The lattice structure comprising black steel, which encompasses all four facades of the building, results in a unique interplay of concealment and transparency. Serving to provide supporting as well design elements for the entire building, the extraordinary steel latticework lends the Ferriera an impressive grandeur.