Continuous preservation and enhancement work

Nature and the action of time never stop, nor does our commitment to the preservation and enhancement of Prada's historical and scenic heritage.
Thanks to the commitment and hard work of professionals and volunteers, step by step we continue our efforts to preserve Prada for the benefit of all those who cherish this ancient settlement.

2023 Autumn interventions

During the second part of the interventions carried out in 2023, efforts focused on the buildings of complex 10, located downstream of complex 7.
Due to the significant volume of debris material filling these structures, they appeared completely unremarkable before the interventions.
Thanks primarily to their emptying, as well as the consolidation and reconstruction of wall parts whose existence is well documented (photographs), these buildings have come back to light.
With the enhancement of these two sectors, the structure of the village becomes increasingly clear, and by walking through the alleys among the recovered buildings it becomes more and more possible to immerse oneself in its history.

2023 Structural Analysis and Conservation Measures – Main Phase

Nearly two years after the start of the pilot phase, which allowed us to recover and reinforce buildings 7.1 and 7.2, we are pleased to inform that in April 2023 the restoration and consolidation work on the buildings in the Prada housing cluster has entered a new phase.
Initially, work on complex 7 has been completed, and during this process, we made some interesting discoveries, among which the remains of an ancient bread oven and some small iron and stone artifacts.
Currently, we are focusing our efforts on complex 10, where we will continue to work throughout the autumn.
We warmly invite you to visit Prada to witness the ongoing transformation with your own eyes.
We are also delighted to offer guided tours to provide a better understanding of our work.

2023 Crane Installation for Material Handling

In order to optimize transportation and operate as conservatively as possible within the working area, a crane with a 30-meter arm has been installed.
This approach reduces the weight on the walls that are not yet consolidated and, at the same time, minimises the risk of damaging potential artifacts that are still buried and undiscovered.
Due to its size, the installation of the crane required the assistance of a super puma-type helicopter.

2023 Press Conference

IOn June 9th, a press conference was held in Prada to present the new projects and showcase the results achieved so far. The following individuals participated:
Juri Clericetti, General Directior of the Region Tourism Organization of Bellinzona and Valleys
Arch. Endrio Ruggero, Head of the Cultural Heritage Office
Avv. Simone Gianini, Deputy Mayor of the City of Bellinzona
Alberto Marietta, President of the Prada Foundation
Ing. Andrea Demarta, Project Manager
Arch. Giorgio Nogara, Archaeologist
Arch. Renzo Bagutti, Archaeologist

2023 Improvement works on the existing Serta-Prada trail and construction of a new Serta-Prada trail (please note, the trail is not yet completed)

During the spring, a naturnetz team cleaned, secured and constructed several water drains on the existing path between Serta and Prada.
At a later stage, they built a second path connecting Serta and Prada.
Although this path has the same starting point (Serta's playground car park) and arrival point, it offers new evocative views and is less demanding.
At the moment, the trail is not finished and is therefore closed.

2022 Substitution of bridges along the Serta-Prada and Piano Laghetto-Prada pathways

In September, the pathways maintenance crew (OTR Bellinzona e Valli) substituted the old bridges crossing the Dragonato and Guasta streams on the pathways connecting Prada to Piano Laghetto and to Serta.
Locally sourced chestnut wood was used to make the weight-bearing structure of these new bridges, thus enriching local and sustainable resources and reducing useless transportation of supplies.
The maintenance and beautification of the pathways has now reached a crucial stage, which has also been highlighted through the demonstrative visit organised by TicinoSentieri in the presence of members from institutions/government and various businesses.

2022 Pathway Piano Laghetto - Prada

During the last of week of March 2022, a group of enthusiastic volunteers with a passion for safeguarding nature tended to the upkeep of the path leading to Prada from Pian Laghetto.
The group was aided by Associazione Naturnetz Ticino.
The group, comprising seven volunteers and a forest ranger, removed fallen and unsafe trees, widened and improved the path where necessary, and substituted the unsafe wooden parapets with new ones.
In order to make this mesmerising walk to Prada more accessible, the path has been enhanced by the addition of some steps.
Also worthy of mention is the group’s construction of a chestnut parapet, which has substituted the old one made of partially rotten wood, making thus the stretch in the rocky cove even safer and more evocative.

2019 Protection of Prada as a cultural asset of cantonal importance approved

Prada can enjoy protection as a cultural asset of cantonal importance.
This was decided by the Council of State when it approved the variant of the City of Bellinzona's Master Plan adopted on 19 December 2018 by the City Council.
The government green light represents a milestone in the project set up by the Foundation to preserve and restore the ruins.
And not just one, as the Department of Spatial Planning wanted in its preliminary examination.
In view of the reasons put forward by the Municipality and having consulted the Office for Cultural Heritage, the Council of State is in fact "of the opinion that it is possible to comply with the wishes of the Municipality of Bellinzona, and consequently of the Prada Foundation, insofar as it is explicitly stated in the regulations that any further restoration or reconstruction work on other buildings forming part of the protected settlement must be justified on the basis of the principles of cultural heritage protection".

2019 PR variant for cantonal protection of the village approved

At its meeting in February 2019, the Bellinzona Municipal Council gave its approval to the variant of the Bellinzona district development plan that decrees the protection of the old village of Prada as a cultural asset of cantonal importance.
The file was published until the end of May and is now being examined by the cantonal offices in charge.

2018 Forestry work in the church area

Second and final phase of the work to cut and clear dangerous trees that had grown in the old medieval village.
In this phase, the area surrounding the church with its churchyard and the area where what is assumed to be the old mill is located were cleaned and secured.
Given the good results of the first phase, the trees were again cleared by helicopter.

2017 Cutting and removal of tree cover

In order to minimise the risk of collapse due to unstable trees (as has unfortunately happened in the past), the tree cover in Prada was reduced in two stages.
Since it was absolutely essential to avoid further damage to the existing structures, the 'helicopter disassembly' technique was used in the most sensitive areas.
That is, the trees were hooked up to the helicopter before the felling cut, and were then removed and transported directly to the felling yard in Serta.

2016 The Prada Foundation is born

The Foundation's aim is to promote and enhance the discovery of the ancient medieval village of Prada, located in an area of archaeological interest and included in the landscape plan as an area of landscape interest.
The Prada Foundation aims to promote and finance interventions to restore and protect the ancient settlement of Prada, rehabilitating and making the buildings available to the public in accordance with their original function and state of preservation.

2007 Topographic survey

Survey performed in 2007 by archaeologist topographer Giorgio Nogara on behalf of the cultural heritage office.
As can be seen from the plan, Prada has more than 40 remains of buildings between houses and stables.
A dozen of these buildings still retain a good wall texture thanks to the refined construction technique used, which provided for the use of discrete and well-worked stones positioned in the corners and in the most sensitive places of the buildings, as well as the use of lime mortar as a binder.
Among these houses is also the 13.2, the building that currently has more substance and for this reason the conservative restoration with the reconstruction of the missing parts is planned within the Prada valorisation project.
Another peculiarity of Prada is the layout of the houses, grouped in blocks (like terraced houses).
It should also be noted that the village is located in a basin with a west / southwest exposure between the Dragonato torrent and the torrent Guasta, very sheltered from the north wind.

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