Canton Ticino, the exotic getaway for Swiss in the know, lies on the southern flank of the Alps, amongst steep mountains and palm tree-lined glacier-carved lakes.
The language, cuisine, architecture and style of Ticino are markedly Italian, but the people are proudly Swiss. Which means you can expect ancient monuments, medieval castles, Romanesque churches, modern architecture, world-class art museums, award winning wineries, and fabulous Italian dining, and yet everything runs properly, and is timely and tidy!
The lakes and cities occupy the southern edge of Ticino, close to the Italian border, and surrounding the Italian lake district of Lago Maggiore, Lugano (Ceresio) and Como. From the palms to the glaciers; to the North Ticino rises steadily to the border with Canton Uri, Graubunden and Valais, and their alpine peaks & glaciers. The granite finger valleys descending from the Alps have been carved by melting ice for millennia, creating steep gorges and natural bathing pools. The small villages built of stone blend seamlessly with the landscape.
LUGANO: Lugano, the largest city of Ticino is a town of parks and flowers, villas and sacred buildings. With Mediterranean flair, Lugano offers all the advantages of a world-class city, combined with the cachet of a small town. Located on a bay on the northern side of Lake Lugano, the city is surrounded by numerous mountains offering incredible panoramas. The pedestrian historic town center is laid out Mediterranean-style with piazzas, arcades, and countless parks with sub-tropical plants. Art connoisseurs will love Lugano for the numerous museums, both contemporary and classic, and the extensive calendar of annual exhibitions and events.
LOCARNO – ASCONA: On the northern shore of Lake Maggiore are the sister cities of Locarno & Ascona, gateways to the Maggia & Verzasca Valleys. Locarno’s Città Vecchia (old town) is home to elegant palaces and neighborhoods, and the renowned Festival del Film held every year in August in the Piazza Grande. Ascona, located west of the Maggia on the river delta, enjoys a privileged south-facing position and mild climate, and has been an exclusive destination since the Renaissance. Today, many 5* resorts and wellness spas line the lakefront adjacent to the historic village.
BELLINZONA: The capital of Ticino and city famous for its three castles (Castelgrande, Montebello, Sasso Corbaro) that have been UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2000. Located east of the Ticino River, at the foot of the Alps, Bellinzona has been a strategic site since pre-historic times, as one of the most important gateways to Northern Europe through the Alps. The medieval village is a bustling community filled with shops, trattorias, and a weekly market and is largely devoid of the tourists you would expect at such an incredible site. Across the river, neighboring Sementina is home to one of the finest wine growing regions in Switzerland.