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Ticino

About Ticino

Ticino (German: Tessin) is the southernmost Swiss canton and widely known as the national tanning salon. Until the fifteenth century, the region belonged to the Duchy of Milan. At the start of the 20th century, Ticino became a popular haven for artists and writers. The rugged Alpine landscape coulisse in the northern part of Ticino provides a charming contrast to Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano, in whose mild climate palm trees, magnolias and olive trees flourish. Hardy vacationers value the natural landscape of Ticino and enjoy hiking, climbing, mountain rambles or bicycling. At higher altitudes of up to 2,200 meters, skiing is possible until spring in the valley of Bosco Gurin.

Ticino’s tourism is concentrated in the “Golden Triangle,” formed by the cities of Lugano, Bellinzona and Locarno. In the wildly romantic hinterland, vacationers can find peace and solitude, while in the valleys of Maggia and Verzasca, nature knows its own laws. As well, art-historically Ticino is fascinating. Numerous masterworks of painting and sculpture can be admired in Biasca, Prugiasco or Locarno. The new Ticino school blossomed in the 20th century and influenced architecture in many localities. Offered regional delicacies such as cheese and bacon or tasty, subtly refined Ticino cuisine, gourmets will definitely enjoy their stay.

Vacation Rentals and Holiday Homes in Ticino

Sights to see in Ticino

Natural wonders
Due to its pleasant Mediterranean climate, the southern tip of Switzerland attracts multitudes of visitors every year. Enchanting Lake Lugano, named for the city of Lugano, promises cooling relief on sweltering summer days. Between the bay arms of the lake, vacationers can discover Monte San Giorgio, listed by UNESCO as a natural World Heritage site. Among the best-loved lakes in Ticino is, naturally, Lake Maggiore. Even if only 20 percent of the lake’s 212 km² belongs to Switzerland, many beloved Swiss cities hug its picturesque lakeshores, e.g., Locarno or Ascona with its charming promenades. Beginning at the lake in Locarno, the Maggia Valley stretches 50 km northward to Ponte Brolla. The valley, in Italian “Valle Maggia,” offers many picturesque sights, among others the wooden houses of Brontallo, built on its slopes, or the Foroglio Waterfall. The highest mountain of the Ticino Alps, Monte Basòdino, attracts hikers in the northwestern part of the canton. Monte Generoso on the eastern shores of Lake Lugano is 1,700 m high and thus 1,570 m, lower than Monte Basòdino, but is nevertheless renowned for its panoramic view. On a clear day, hikers can see the entire curve of the Alps from the Lake Alps to Bernina.

Architectural treasures
As well in Ticino, castles, palaces and historic churches tell fascinating tales of bygone days. Among the most significant edifices in the canton is the pilgrimage church of Madonna del Sasso perched above Locarno. Not only its scenic view overlooking Lake Maggiore, but also its many art treasures make the Madonna del Sasso a beloved destination for visitors. In the main part of Ticino, tourists can marvel at the three castles of Bellinzona, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites. This 15th century fortification includes three castles, as well as defensive walls. The Castelgrande, Castello di Montebello, Castello di Sasso Corbaro and the Murata defensive wall have been protected by UNESCO since 2000. Other significant Swiss buildings can be admired in Melide. In the “Swiss Miniature” theme park, there are over 120 scale models of historical buildings scattered around Switzerland, among them the Great Minster in Zürich, the castles of Sion and naturally the castles, palaces and monuments of Ticino.

Informative museums
Numerous Ticino museums enlighten visitors about the history and culture of the canton. Thus, for example, in the Museum of City History, located in an old castle, the Castello Visconteo. West of Locarno’s Old Town, we find the structural remains of the once monumental complex. In the Round Tower, visitors can admire an impressive collection of archaeological discoveries. The exhibits range from the Bronze Age to the middle ages. Especially popular are finds from the Roman period, including Roman glassware, priceless vases and hand-blown glass chalices.

The region is also home to the fascinating Hermann Hesse Museum. The famous German author settled in Montagnola on Lake Lugano in 1919. Here he lived for over 40 years and wrote many of his best-loved works, among others Steppenwolf. In the Torre Camuzzi museum, personal possessions of the Nobel Prize winner can be seen, including books and photographs. The author’s life and work are thereby clearly and vividly documented for visitors.