Image 0 - Riva San Vitale: Baptistery
Image 1 - Riva San Vitale: Baptistery
Image 2 - Riva San Vitale: Baptistery
Image 3 - Riva San Vitale: Baptistery
Image 4 - Riva San Vitale: Baptistery
Image 5 - Riva San Vitale: Baptistery
Image 6 - Riva San Vitale: Baptistery

Riva San Vitale: Baptistery

Our tour of this lake-side village centres on the 5th century baptistery, dedicated to St. John the Baptist. This octagonal building was the scene of crucial events in the conversion of Switzerland to Christianity. It is the oldest stone building in the country.

Starting from the Capolago railway station, we cross the main square and then follow the road on the left, signposted Rancate. This takes us past the parish church of San Vitale before reaching the baptistery in the centre of the village.

A visit to the church of Santa Croce, a fine Renaissance building (16th century) commissioned by the noble Della Croce family from Milan, is well worth the walk to get there. This church has a central floor plan and an orthogonal dome; the paintings are by Camillo Procaccini (1560-1629) and his school.

Riva San Vitale also has many interesting modern buildings down its narrow alleyways. These include the Casa Bianchi, designed in 1973 by the architect Mario Botta, and the "Casa con studio" (House with Study), designed in 1974 by the architect Giancarlo Durisch.


  • Hiking boots
  • Sun cap
  • Water-bottle
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream
  • Hiking map
  • Camera
  • Food


Montagnepulite: This project was born to promote an effective management and sustainable use of mountain huts in Ticino, and in particular the litter management. The responsible management of litter in the mountains is a matter of common sense. We can all contribute:


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