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Ticino POP 333,750 / AREA 2813 SQ KM / LANGUAGE ITALIAN

Why Go? ...... 189 The summer air is rich and hot. Vespas scoot along palm- ...... 193 fringed promenades. A baroque campanile chimes. Kids Lago di Lugano ...... 199 play in piazzas fl anked by pastel-coloured mansions. Italian Ceresio Peninsula ...... 200 weather. Italian style. And that’s not to mention the Italian gelato, Italian pasta, Italian architecture, Italian lang- & Around ..... 201 uage. But this isn’t Rome, Florence or Naples. is the Lago Maggiore ...... 201 that Heidii never mentioned. ...... 201 The are every bit as magnifi cent as elsewhere in Swit- ...... 205 zerland, but here you can admire them while sipping a full- Western Valleys ...... 206 bodied merlot at a pavement cafe, enjoying a hearty lunch at a Valle ...... 207 chestnut-shaded grotto (rustic Ticino-style inn or restaurant), Val ...... 209 or fl oating in the mirror-like lakes of Lugano and Locarno. Ticino tempers its classic Alpine looks with Italian good-living. To the north, the stunning medieval fortress town of Bellinzona keeps watch over valleys speckled with homely Best Places to Eat hamlets and Romanesque chapels. Rearing above them are » Ristorante Castelgrande wild, forested peaks with endless hiking options past lakes (p192) and roaring mountain streams. » Grotto Ca’ Rossa (p208) » Ecco (p206) W hen to Go » Ristorante Santabbondio (p197) Get into the carnival swing with feasting, parading and merrymaking at the pre-Lenten Rabadan in Bellinzona. » Osteria del Centenario Spring brings hikers to the wildfl ower-cloaked Alps and (p205) classi cal music fans to the Lugano Festival. Lugano stages open-air concerts in July, while Locarno zooms in on Best Places to cinematic talent at its much-lauded fi lm festival in August. Stay Vintners in Mendrisio and Bellinzona toast the wine harvest in September. On a golden autumn day, nothing » Hotel & Hostel Montarina beats slow-cooked game and new wine in one of Ticino’s (p196) rustic grotti. » Caffè dell’Arte (p203) » Albergo Antica Posta (p206) » Al Pentolino (p206) » Hotel Internazionale (p192) in the air of of air fl grotti (p207) (p201) in the (p201) Soak up the Soak Catch the spectacular the spectacular Catch Mediterranean Mediterranean Locarno Town, Old postcard-pretty and lido gardens lakefront Railway Railway Centovalli hill and dale to over (p207) in Domodossola 7 6 Valle and authentic Val Val (p201) The founding cantons of the Swiss The Swiss the of cantons founding Confederation – Uri, Scwhyz and Unter- and Scwhyz Uri, – Confederation Milanese a superior – defeated walden Levantina in the Valle at force 1503, in took Bellinzona and in 1478 vul- thus securing the confederation’s 1803, Ticino In nerable underbelly. newentered the Confederation, Swiss Mendrisio (p209) Live a heart-stopping a heart-stopping Live Hike and cycle to wispy wispy to and cycle Hike Indulge in Alpine cheese, Alpine cheese, in Indulge moment bungee jumping, jumping, moment bungee and paragliding rafting, bouldering in the rugged Verzasca waterfalls, granite villages villages granite waterfalls, merlot wines and gorgeous and gorgeous merlot wines in scenery 5 3 4 er between ff Monte San (p189) for spirit- for (p189) and (p199) above (p199) above

Be spellbound by lake lake Be spellbound by Roam the trio of the trio of Roam

Salvatore Salvatore and mountain views from from views and mountain Monte Brè Lugano medieval castles in in castles medieval Bellinzona the Old of views soaring Alps and the Town 2 Ticino Highlights 1 History the Swiss-German north cantons of the was absorbed the south, Italy to Alps and 15th the late Swiss in by the century afterbe- of changing hands centuries of and the dukes the lords tween of .

Ticino, long a poor, rural bu rural long a poor, Ticino,