War with arms, in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, hasn't been seen for a long time.

But in the past there has been and it was feared that it would return. As happens, it has left permanent marks on the territory, as well as in the soul.

Where war was once thought of

They were conceived in the Middle Ages to protect the people, to control, to fight, to dominate. Centuries later a child was born next door and those walls became a playground. Then, becoming older, the child freely turned them into the walls of an alcove, into theatrical space, into a dance floor...

From the Middle Ages to the nineteenth century to encounter walls from a distant past, where that child already had the privilege of filming. Even here, once upon a time, there was control, strategy and even a commitment to defeating hunger. Now there is peace.

In the twentieth century the war came close, it could be felt, pressing. In order to keep it out, there at the top of the Ticino, they were enclosed within the mountain. Once the cold war ended, inside that giant of rock and matter, there was no more fighting.

Going south and going backwards through time, you come across signs that tell of waiting for the enemy, months of exercising warfare, fortunately, without actually having to practice it. The conflicts are not over yet, but here we try to think of something else, without forgetting what there once was.

This story has been edited by

Erik Bernasconi

Erik Bernasconi, film director and screenwriter.
Born and raised in Bellinzona, he left for ten years
before coming back to live and work.