Scherrer Gardens

Scherrer Gardens in Morcote were built between 1930 and 1956 by tradesman Herman Arthur Scherrer, from the Sankt Gallen canton, a collector and eclectic traveller.

 

His travels served as an inspiration for building architectural structures within the garden: they stretch out across numerous levelled terraces, bursting with lush vegetation and located in a breathtaking location, recreating an ambience with specific cultural references allowing you to identify the country of origin right away.

 

The Gardens offer visitors the unique occasion of making an emotional journey back in time and across space, where past and present meet, and history and nature create a harmonious whole. The slopes and terraces are covered with cypresses, camelias, camphors, eucalypti, cedars, araucarias, palms, and bamboo forests: oriental and exotic plants Scherrer had come to love during his business trips. Fascinated by oriental cultures, Scherrer reproduced, year after year, different temples, Mediterranean worlds and exotic countries on a smaller scale. Therefore the park has two separate thematic areas, a Mediterranean and an Asian one. The trail winds across the Mediterranean Renaissance and Baroque featuring with a wealth of statues, to then cut across the bamboo forest, typical of the oriental landscape: dive into a cornucopia of Siamese, Arab, and Indian buildings surrounded by the typical vegetation of those countries. You can rest as you please in the shade along the path, turn your gaze to the beautiful views across the lake and feel at home in an oasis of peace and calm. Scherrer Gardens is managed by Morcote municipality, and they’re the stage of cultural events, concerts, and even weddings. You can head to a restaurant, right next to the gardens, with a beautiful view from the outside terrace overlooking the lake.

 

Periodi di apertura:

15.03.2022 - 30.06.2022
10:00 - 17:00 (tutti i giorni)

 

01.07.2022 - 31.08.2022
10:00 - 18:00 (tutti i giorni)

 

01.09.2022 - 06.11.2022
10:00 - 17:00 (tutti i giorni)

Arthur Scherrer

 

Hermann Arthur Scherrer (1881–1956), a keen artist, gardener and romantic, created his “Garden of Wonders” over the course of the years. He was born in St Gallen on 2 November 1881. He was the son of the merchant, municipal councillor, chair of the Stadttheater committee (1897–1920) and member of the cantonal court of St Gallen, Gustav Hermann Scherrer (1853–1948), a great enthusiast of puppet theatre. In Munich, Gustav was a regular visitor to the “Marionettentheater” founded by Josef Leonhard Schmid (Papa Schmidt), which staged plays by Count Franz Graf von Pocci (Kasperl). He organised theatre performances with his family from 1880 onwards.

 

Hermann Arthur Scherrer was the eldest of five children: Hermann, Arthur, Paul (1900–1992), director of the Zentralbibliotek in Zurich, Max, another son and a sister.

 

After finishing primary school he attended the renowned international Schmidt institute in St Gallen, before moving to Lausanne where he learned to speak French perfectly. In St Gallen he had a men’s fashion shop, the “Kamelhof”, on the Multergasse, where he sold tailored items, uniforms for officials, riding and sportswear, and fabrics. In Aachen he attended the textile school and learned all about the vast world of textiles; he studied Italian in Siena, while in North America he perfected his knowledge of the industrial side of things and his English. In 1907 he moved to Munich, where he took over his father’s shop, transforming it into one of the most elegant shops in the city, specialising in English-style fashion.

 

Arthur Scherrer died in 1956. In 1965 his wife Amalia left the entire structure, for a fee, to the Municipality of Morcote with the express wish of opening the park to the public: the municipality developed this project, adapting it to the requirements of the extensive numbers of international and local visitors.

 

 

 

 

Exploring the park

 

At the entrance, visitors are greeted by an ornamental Venetian fountain accompanied by a Byzantine lion perched on a Renaissance column. On either side of the steps that lead up into the park, two Baroque lions in white Carrara marble, flanked by azaleas, point the way. Passing lions, nymphs and fauns, visitors arrive at an avenue where they can admire the statues that represent the four seasons in a setting of azaleas and camellias; nearby a large cedar of Lebanon completes the magnificent picture.

 

At the end of the avenue a thirteenth-century amphora appears, formerly used to store oil.

 

Visitors then come to the grandiose Renaissance fountain in Carrara marble near the columns of a belvedere. We subsequently find the panoramic terrace where two sphinxes sit atop the entrance columns. From this spot visitors can enjoy a superb, almost Leonardesque view over the lake, Porto Ceresio and the hills of the Varese area. Statues of Venus, Juno and Jove stand guard amidst the azalea bushes.

 

Turning to the mountain, we can see the Erechtheion, the second biggest temple in the Acropolis in Athens, reproduced in 1:4 scale in Vicenza stone and supported by magnificent caryatids.

 

Above appears the Temple of the Sun, a Spanish-style structure, naturally in miniature.

 

The garden that hosts it recalls the style of the famous Alhambra gardens in Granada, embellished by two Baroque-style fountains in natural Verona stone surrounded by low yew hedges.

 

Two statues dominate the park from above: one represents Mercury, the god of trade, the other a weaver, both symbols of Mr Scherrer’s profession.

 

We continue towards the Siamese-style tea house, which evokes the mysteries of the Orient.

 

Passing through a bamboo grove, we reach the Egyptian temple of Nefertiti, watched over by two divinities: the lion’s head of Sekhmet and the falcon’s head of Horus, son of Osiris. The interior, together with the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti, are true copies of the originals found in Berlin, dating back to the era of Amenhotep in around 1375 B.C. The walls are painted in the ancient Egyptian style. The temple also houses the funerary urns of Mr and Mrs Scherrer.

 

Set slightly apart and perfectly enveloped in a small oasis, we find the Arab house, which is the last of Mr Scherrer’s reconstructions.

 

Statues of Nubian slaves surrounded by lush vegetation line the steps leading down to the terrace of the Indian palace, modelled on Palazzo Salò in Brugine near Padua. Inside, just like in real Indian palaces, the walls are painted in the Moghul style. There is a bubbling basin in the garden, watched over by four elephants with their trunks raised, with three cobras ready to attack above them and the sacred cow of Mysore at the very top.

 

On the left is a small pond with waterlilies, and next to it is a Chinese tortoise, which symbolises longevity.

 

Upon leaving the park, visitors can admire a typical fourteenth-century house in the Lombard/Ticino style, now used as a restaurant-grotto. This is a faithful reconstruction that Mr Scherrer wanted to include as a demonstration of his love of Ticino. it was reconstructed in 1930 with stones and materials sourced from an ancient dwelling in the Sassello district of Lugano, which was completely demolished to make way for the current buildings. The rooms, built around a courtyard with a well for the collection of rainwater, were embellished with a loggia and arcade on the top floor.

 

The exceptional botanical setting of this “Garden of Wonders” is also characterised by more than fifty plant varieties, labelled with their scientific name.

Ente Turistico del Luganese
Riva dal Garavèll 16
CH-6922 Morcote
Tel. +41 58 220 65 02
morcote@luganoregion.com
www.luganoregion.com

Apertura dal 2 aprile

al 29 ottobre 2022

Lunedì – venerdì:
09.00 – 12.00 / 13.00 – 18.00

Sabato e festivi
10.00 – 12.00 / 13.00 – 17.00

domenica: chiuso

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