The history of the "Nucleo alle cantine" and "Nucleo centrale" of Melide
Nucleo alle cantine
The cellars represent one of the most characteristic features of Melide and it is thought that they already existed in the eighteenth century. They generally belonged to wealthy families from Lugano who used them to stow and store the wines they traded. As a rule the structure from the cellars included a cool and ventilated room on the lower floor and a room with a fireplace on the upper floor. While in the lower part of the building the wine barrels and the groceries were preserved in the best conditions, owners and patrons met, in the evening or on Sunday, in the topmost room where they dined in joy, enjoying the company of friends and relatives. The cellars experienced their period of maximum splendor during the nineteenth century and until the early twentieth century. With the advent of tourism they were then mostly sold to entrepreneurs who turned them into hotels and residences for tourists. The area of the cellars extends on the southern side of the Doyro torrent (now almost entirely underground) and is divided into three parts: Le Cantine di Cima (along the homonymous road upstream of Via Francesco Borromini), Cantine di Mezzo ( they start a little further downstream and reach the lake along the part of the Motta promenade that is close to the town) and finally the Cantine di Fondo.
The Nucleo centrale of Melide is the historic heart of the town and is characterized by the "contrade", a series of narrow alleys and small squares that connect Piazza Domenico Fontana to the Cantonal road. Although most of the buildings have undergone renovations over the years, walking along its streets you can still perceive and imagine the characteristic lifestyle of times long gone. Between the small squares, a series of information panels on the life of the Architect Domenico Fontana, an illustrious fellow citizen who resided in this characteristic context and to whom the Piazza in front of the nucleus is dedicated, were installed. For those wishing to know more about the life of the architect Fontana, it is possible to consult the site http://domenicofontana.ch/ which was created for the celebrations for the fourth centenary of his death.
A visit to the historic centers of Melide is an excellent opportunity to move through the country on hot summer days, benefiting from the characteristic coolness of old cellars and the shadow of historic buildings.
The Nucleo centrale is crossed by the so-called "contrade" that connect practically the whole center of the village.
The Nucleo alle Cantine starts from the upper part of the town, near the schools. It is thus possible to walk along via Cantine di Cima and via Cantine di Mezzo. At the end of the Cantine di Mezzo you arrive in the most touristic area of Melide, with bars, restaurants and hotels.