Carona was first mentioned in 926 as Calauna, and the small village of Ciona was first referenced in 1213. During the Middle Ages, the villages of Carona and Ciona formed the diocese of Como. The church of Santa Maria was built in the small village of Torello. After 1349, the church was supported by a community of the Augustinian order in the nearby monastery (built in 1217 by Guglielmo Della Torre). The village recieved its own coat of arms for its loyalty to the Visconti family. In accordance with a law of the old Swiss Confederation, it enjoyed a special status (Terra separata), as well as exemption from certain laws and taxes.The medieval statutes were renewed in 1470.
The church of Madonna d'Ongero was built in 1624 west of the village in the forest. At the same time, the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie was built in Ciona. The two churches, as well as the houses of the 17th and 18th century village, reflected the growing wealth of Carona as a result of the emigration of artists. Artist families from Carona such as the Aprile, Casellas, Scalas and Solari were active throughout Europe during the 15th to 18th centuries. Agriculture remained dominant until the beginning of the 19th century, when Lugano became a tourist destination. In 1943, the hill of S. Grato was cleared and returned to agricultural use.