Casa Rea

Many artists, especially those from the north, immigrated to the banks of Lake Maggiore. These included Wilhelm Schwerzmann who continued to work at national level from Minusio for the rest of his life. In 2016, his descendants gave all the sculptures currently found in the Giardino Schwerzmann to the municipality. Other accounts tell of people who decided to leave. For instance, the story of the Rea family who set off for Vienna in 1880, making their fortune as chimneysweeps. In 1924, they bequeathed a property to Minusio under the proviso that it was used to help people in need. This legacy enabled the municipal authority to build the Casa Rea home for the elderly in 1990.
Johann Jakob Wilhelm Schwerzmann

Having relocated to Minusio in 1915 for health reasons, Johann Jakob Wilhelm Schwerzmann (1877 to 1966) made sculptures, fountains, portals, friezes, coats of arms and memorials in many Swiss cities. Several of his works are found in Minusio.
Rea spouses

Young chimneysweeps

Not all emigrant chimneysweeps made their fortune like the Rea family. The emigration of children and young boys – just small enough to climb up chimneys which was harmful to their health – was a painful chapter in Minusio’s history.
Esplanade hotel

The Kurhotel Esplanade was called ‘al fabricón’ in Minusio because of its imposing structure. It was built in 1913 as a nursing home. The construction of the tram line was completed in 1908 with the final stop at the ‘Chiesa del Crocefisso’, but it was immediately extended without any red tape to improve access to the Esplanade. It hosted the German delegation during the ‘Locarno Peace Conference’ in 1925.
Source of health
In the Navegna valley, at the same altitude as Casa Rea, there is a spring of iron-rich water. This spring was referred to in 1856 (Chorographical Dictionary of Italian-speaking Switzerland by Guglielmo Stefani) as being a potential location for a spa but one was never built. Popular belief suggested it possessed healing properties. In the past, the schoolchildren of Minusio were taken to drink from this spring as its water – which has a slightly acidic, pungent taste – contained carbonic acid, lime, a small amount of magnesia and iron. Its strong taste was not pleasant, but the pupils gulped it down because of its health benefits.