Summer heat, palm trees, vineyards, cafe expresso and gelati are the witness of the Italian heritage of the most southern canton of Switzerland, the Ticino. Here also, the mountains represent the most visible sign. They shoot up in a spectacular way from Lake Majore and from Lugano. The valleys are planted with dense forests and hide original villages behind Bellinzona, Locarno and Lugano and offer the visitor, especially the epicurean, a paradise.
« Here, the sun shines more intensely and the mountains are more red; here grow chestnuts and wine, almonds and figs, and the people are good, polite and friendly… » Hermann Hesse
Nothing can more underline the position of Bellinzona than its three powerful castles. They are part of the UNESCO world heritage. The old town breathes the typical Lombard atmosphere. The town hall is known as a piece of «northern Tuscany». In bygone days, the Piazza Nosetto was the center of important transit traffic. Today, pleasant arcades dominate the scenery. In Bellinzona, you have a world heritage experience at every step. This makes a visit indispensable.
Approaching the “secret capital” from the lake is grandiose. Lugano, city of parks and flowers, villas and sacred buildings, museums and exhibitions, invites for a visit, to experience it – and for dolce far niente in a Mediterranean ambiance. No doubt: on the shore of Lake Lugano it is really not difficult to enjoy life. There is but one question left: where to start? We could make you some propositions: The two home mountains of Lugano, Monte Salvatore and Monte Bré protect the city and give the site of the lake a dramatic fragrance. The Galleria Gottardo, a work of Mario Botta, counts among the most important private cultural institutions of Ticino. The themes of the collections are oriented around archeology, but also photography and art brut. Guided tours on demand.
«Architecture must not be afraid of strong signs.» Mario Botta.
The laughing cities on the shores – Locarno, Ascona, Ronco and plenty of little magical villages – open on the lake with their promenades. In these open sky salons, life pulses. And after only a few kilometers, the situation is very different: the delta of the rivers Ticino and Verzasca and the meadows of the Bolle di Magadino are a world of their own. The Celts and the Romans have left their traces. «Leukera» = the wise, the antique name of the town Locarno, contains the foamy water of the Maggia river. Rich findings from these times are presented in the Museo Civico e Archelogico. The picturesque old town, the palm trees and the marvelous situation on the shore of the lake make Locarno one of the most appreciated excursion destinations of the Ticino. Very high above the city looms the pilgrimage church Madonna del Sasso. In the sector Murlato, the romanesque church San Vittore counts among the most important ones of the canton.
Locarno calls, and even Hollywood comes. Each year, the international film festival is the meeting place of stars and starlets, directors and new talents, press and of course the public.
The straw, the legendary trademark of the cigar brand Brissago, could also be used as a fidibus (rolled paper to shape a pipe). The air channel it creates offers an excellent draft. This twisted thing is indeed an authentic piece of economic and literary history of Switzerland.