6,368 (Dec 31, 2008)
Losone is a municipality in the district of Locarno in the canton of Ticino in Switzerland.
The peat bogs of Arcegno, the rock shelters of Quarigo and the rock carvings in soapstone and gneiss appear to confirm that Losone has been inhabited since the Neolithic period. In 1934 and again in 1970-73 grave goods from the 1st to 4th Centuries were found. There are also traces of a further use of the grave yard in the 6th Century as well. The modern municipality of Losone is first mentioned in 1061 as Loxono though this is from a 1402 copy of the original. In 1200 it was mentioned as de losono. During the Middle Ages the settlement or borgo included; the so-called Bassa Losone, Arcegno and until 1807, Vosa im Onsernonetal. It formed a Vicinanza in the parish of Locarno and had its own statutes and laws. The status of an independent Vicinanza was confirmed in 1734. Losone owned rights to alpine pastures in the valleys of Bosco/Gurin, Onsernone and Vigezzo. The people paid to the nobles of Locarno a tithe on vineyards and grain. In 1799, Losone opposed the Helvetic authorities who wanted to create a political municipality. Even after it became a political municipality in 1803, the Vicinanza played an important political and economic role.
The parish church of S. Lorenzo is first mentioned in 1243, though it is older than that. It separated, some time before 1580, from the mother church of San Vittore in Muralto to form a parish. In 1747 the church was granted a rector.
The local economy traditionally relied on agriculture and quarries. During the Ancien Regime many of residents emigrated for jobs. Grinders, pewter workers and customs officers moved from Losone to Tuscany and Rome, while stove fitters and chocolate manufacturers went to Austria and Hungary. The construction of the bridge over the Maggia in 1815, the road to Ascona and Golino in 1824-25 and Maggia river correction in 1890, allowed development in the village. Beginning in the 20th Century the parish house and school were built. Between 1941-47, Polish and Ukrainian soldiers were interned in the district of Arbigo. The soldiers helped build the road from Arcegno to Golino. In 1949-50 a warehouse was converted into a barracks (infantry until 1973, then paramedics). The machine factory Agie opened in Losono in 1957, which contributed to the emergence of a major industrial area in the region. After 1960, Losone developed more and more into a residential community. In 1976, the new education center was dedicated. In 1982, a nursing home opened. Between 1940-80 Losone recorded the strongest population growth of all of the municipalities in the Sopraceneri. More recently, tourism has developed including a golf course, that opened in 1999 in Gerre.
Losone has an area, as of 1997, of 9.53 square kilometers (3.68 sq mi). Of this area, 1.95 km2 (0.75 sq mi) or 20.5% is used for agricultural purposes, while 6.19 km2 (2.39 sq mi) or 65.0% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 1.91 km2 (0.74 sq mi) or 20.0% is settled (buildings or roads), 0.31 km2 (0.12 sq mi) or 3.3% is either rivers or lakes and 0.19 km2 (0.073 sq mi) or 2.0% is unproductive land.
Of the built up area, industrial buildings made up 2.0% of the total area while housing and buildings made up 11.8% and transportation infrastructure made up 4.0%. while parks, green belts and sports fields made up 1.8%. Out of the forested land, 61.1% of the total land area is heavily forested and 3.9% is covered with orchards or small clusters of trees. Of the agricultural land, 7.2% is used for growing crops, while 1.5% is used for orchards or vine crops and 11.8% is used for alpine pastures. All the water in the municipality is flowing water. Of the unproductive areas, 1.7% is unproductive vegetation.
The municipality is located in the Locarno district, on the right side of the Maggia river below the confluence of the Melezza river. It consists of the village of Losone and the hamlets of Saleggi and Gerre near the river, the hamlets of San Rocco, San Lorenzo and San Giorgio on the plateau and the hamlet of Arcegno in the mountains.