Tremona was first mentioned in a document dated 864. The name refers to the three hills (Castello, 650 m, Sant’Agata, 617 m and Grumo, 574 m) that frame the hollow containing the town. There has been a human settlement here since the first Neolithic period, as objects found in the Tremona–Castello archaeological site show. The site was inhabited during Roman times, while a castle protected the area in the Middle Ages (its ruins were unearthed in 2009); the area was later abandoned during the ten-year war between Como and Milan (13th century).
Like its neighbours, Tremona depended on the Pieve (parish) of Riva San Vitale for its spiritual and secular administration until it became an autonomous parish in 1493. The original parish church was that of Sant’Agata until 1770, when the church of Our Lady of the Assumption (already mentioned in documents in 1583) assumed this role. Tremona is an agricultural town, where wine-growing was (and still is) an especially important part of the local economy, together with livestock. With vineyards extending across the hills, Tremona is famed for its white Sant’Agata wine. Vines are even part of the town’s coat of arms, which features a silver pannier full of golden grapes atop three green hills on a red background.
The early 20th century saw a rapid decline in the population, a trend that continued until the 1960s (there were just 155 inhabitants in 1960). The population has since risen, due to the new residential character of this area. In fact, in the middle of the 1970s many artists from the other side of the Gotthard chose to live or holiday in Tremona (Max Weiss, Max Marti, Peter Keller and Walter Diggelmann to name but a few), leading to its nickname “piccola Ascona”. Since 2009, Tremona has been incorporated as a district in Mendrisio.
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