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Balerna is a municipality in the district of Mendrisio in the canton of Ticino in Switzerland.


Balerna is first mentioned in 1115 as Barerna. In 844 and 865, the monastery of S. Ambrogio in Milan purchased land in the concilium of Castel S. Pietro which would have included Balerna. In the 12th Century some decimani (tithe collectors) and the monastery of S. Abbondio in Como owned land and associated rights in Balerna.

By no later than the 12th Century, Balerna was as the center of a pieve, which encompassed the area that is now the district of Mendrisio except for Chiasso (which was part of the pieve of Zezio) and some areas of the Pieve of Riva San Vitale. Balerna, together with Riva and Uggiate, formed a consorzio (a common property group)in the 12th Century. Politically the municipalities of Chiasso, Boffalora, Pedrinate, Seseglio, Novazzano, Coldrerio, Villa, Castel San Pietro, Vacallo and the Valle di Muggio part of the Pieve of Balerna.

Starting in the 9th Century Balerna belonged to the count of Seprio. In the 13th Century it was under the city of Como, and later under the Bishop of Como. In 1335 under the rule of the Visconti of Milan, then under Franchino Rusca. In 1412 it came to the Duke of Milan, who completely separated it from Como in 1416. Balerna was now ruled by a Podestà, who resided in Mendrisio, but had his court in Balerna. In the following period it was owned by a large number of rulers: the Rusca family (1416-32),...
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