Andrew Montgomery


The summer air is rich and hot in Ticino. Vespas scoot along palm-fringed promenades. A baroque campanile chimes. Kids play in piazzas flanked by pastel-coloured mansions. Italian weather. Italian style. And that’s not to mention the Italian gelato, Italian pasta, Italian architecture, Italian language.

The Alps are every bit as magnificent as elsewhere in Switzerland, but here you can admire them while sipping a full-bodied merlot at a pavement cafe, enjoying a hearty lunch at a chestnut-shaded grotto (rustic Ticino-style inn or restaurant), or floating 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 hamlets and Romanesque chapels. Rearing above them are wild, forested peaks with endless hiking options past lakes and roaring mountain streams.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Ticino.