Scherrer Park

Known as the “Garden of Wonders”, this park was created by Arthur Scherrer (1881–1956), who was a textile merchant, keen traveller and lover of art and culture. The park/monument hosts a rich collection of objets d’art from various countries and different periods, set within lush vegetation and surrounded by buildings and artworks of different kinds from all over the world. For example, the 1:4 scale copy of the Erechtheion, the second biggest temple in the Acropolis in Athens, the Indian palace based on Palazzo Salò in Brugine near Padua, or the Egyptian temple of Nefertiti, whose interior is a true copy of the original found in Berlin. Near the exit 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.

 

This Eden that rises majestically over the waters of Lake Lugano is set within an impressive world of subtropical flora comprising palms, camellias, wisteria, oleanders, cedars, cypresses, camphors, eucalyptus, magnolias, azaleas, oranges, lemons, bamboo and numerous species of scented flowering plants, attracting and enchanting everyone who visits it.

 

The park was bequeathed to the municipality of Morcote by Scherrer’s widow in 1965, with the explicit wish that it be opened to the public and kept as it was originally conceived by the Scherrer family, with further embellishments lending themselves magnificently to highly successful cultural and artistic events.

 

The garden forms part of the prestigious chain of “Grandi Giardini Italiani” (“Great Italian Gardens”). Since 2014, thanks to its characteristic reconstructions of buildings and works in the Baroque, Rococo and Art Nouveau style, it has been included among the “Follies” botanical gardens.

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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.

 

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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.

 

Parco Scherrer

6922 Morcote
Tel. 0041 91 996 21 25
Fax. 0041 91 996 00 09
municipio@morcote.ch

Apertura


Dal 15 marzo al 31 ottobre
dalle ore 10.00 alle ore 17.00
Dal 1° luglio  al 31 agosto
dalle ore 10.00 alle ore 18.00

 

Entrata gratuita

 

Torna su

Municipal chancery
Riva da Sant Antoni 10
CH-6922 Morcote
Tel. +41 91 986 00 00
Fax. +41 91 986 00 09
municipio@morcote.ch

Opening hours

Mon 14.00 - 17.00
Tue 08.00 - 12.00 / 14.00 - 18.00
Wed 14.00 - 17.00
Thu 14.00 - 17.00
Fri 14.00 - 16.00