Read this in: German
The Italian speaking part in Switzerland, the most southern canton in the country. Framed by three famous alpine passes in the north – Gotthard, Nufenen and San Bernardino – and the Italian border to the south.
Or: the Swiss sunshine region, because here the sun is giving the signs of a soon spring earlier than elsewhere, and stays until very late in the year, even when there is already a lot of snow in the mountains in other parts of the country.
Though, the Ticino, comes up with equally impressive mountains. With an alpine landscape that offers great views to the Po plateau or the 4000 peaks in the western Alps of the Valais and the Bernese Oberland. In between, deep blue or emerald green lakes emerge, which invite to cool down and linger. No matter if these are small mountain lakes, high above the peaks, or large ones down in the valleys, they are a formidable characteristic of the canton. The latter give to the well-known Ticino cities their swank charm and a sense of la dolce vita in Switzerland.
There are many unbeatable good reasons to visit the Ticino, to go on holiday or to spend your free time there. 7 of these exciting reasons, which I care most about, I would like to introduce to you.
#1 A feel-good oasis for poets, thinkers, creative minds or downshifters
The Ticino has attracted artists, freelancers and creative minds ever since. It was a retreat for well-known writers like Hermann Hesse, Max Frisch or Kurt Tucholsky, who lived long in the small villages between Lake Lugano and Lago Maggiore. On the other hand, Valle Onsernone, one of my favorite valleys, is still a place for alternative and downshifters who want to live a simple and peaceful life in the nature at the end of the world.
#2 Opposites attract: glamorous cities and picturesque mountain villages
Between the cities of Ticino and its small picturesque villages, sometimes abandoned, there are worlds of difference. Not just mountain worlds, but literally living worlds. On the one hand you’ll find chic, cosmopolitan and glittering cities such as Lugano, Ascona and Locarno, where the beautiful and expensive life pulsates. On the other side, just a few kilometers into the mountains, visitors will find small, often tiny mountain villages, spectacularly build on the mountain slopes. This is where daily life soon comes to a hold-up, as there are rarely more than a few dozen people living in a world that will soon be finally abandoned.
#3 Time for Festivals – Time to Celebrate!
In the Ticino the world-famous biggest film festival in Switzerland takes place. It is the Festival del Film, Pardo, in Locarno, where current and past Hollywood stars always assembling at the beginning of August.
The entire city is decorated in a leopard style – Pardo means leopard in Italian language – the symbol of the festival. With several thousands of like-minded film fans sitting on the huge Piazza Grande in the center of the city under the open sky and watching film has something very special! A touch of the wide world is entering the small town, which has just 15,000 inhabitants.
But there are also a number of other interesting festivals, which lure the music and party friends or classic lovers to the south of Switzerland. There are, among others, the music festival Moon and Stars (http://www.moonandstars.ch/programm.html ), again in Locarno, the Estival Jazz in Lugano and the Jazz Festival in Ascona, as well as various open air festivals taking place in the mountain valleys.
#4 Hikers paradise and hopping mountain valleys
It is indeed one of the most beautiful things that hiking in Switzerland has to offer to ascent through steep, almost invincible seeming mountain flanks on boldly designed hiking trails to quickly reach your finest enjoyment mode up there.
The wild beauty of the landscape and the splendid panorama and views are whisking the hiking away into another world.
The variety of different mountain valleys, which can be easily explored on foot, is exceptional. The spatial proximity of the valleys makes it possible to jump from one valley to the other (http://www.zufussunterwegs.com/ebook/ ). What is special about this valley hopping? It is to discover the different character of the various valleys and to learn about their peculiarities and their distinctiveness.
#5 La Cucina Nostrana – the delicious local cuisine
The Ticino has retained its own regional kitchen, which can still be tasted today, especially in the mountain valleys and their villages. The typical local restaurants, so-called Grotti, disappear slowly but are always worth a visit. Sitting at granitic tables, drinking a boccalino with wine under a huge shady chestnut tree is one of the highlights of a Ticinese stay.
Do not forget to enjoy the local food! Polenta, best prepared in a copper kettle over fire, risotto or a bread made from local chestnuts are the classic. A simple, a nutritious and a very tasty kitchen!
#6 A wild landscape that offers something to everyone
The scenic wonderland with the many lakes and the surrounding mountains will make every sportsman, adventurer, recreational traveler or connoisseur happy. Whether it is hiking, sailing, SUP, paragliding, climbing, canoeing or a refreshing dip in the cool waters of a mountain creek or lake, something should be there for everyone to have fun and enjoy.
#7 The Ticino, the land of stones
Anyone who explores the Ticino villages will soon find that stone is ubiquitous.
The material, which was won from the surrounding mountains, emerges almost everywhere. In some villages, such as Boschetto, Corippo, Brontallo or Fusio, all located in the charming Vallemaggia, you can find the still well-preserved village nuclei with typical old stone houses (so-called Rustici).
A real eye-catcher are the old Romanesque stone bridges, which stretch in a sweeping arc over the rivers. The lovingly stacked granite slabs on the hiking trails make the hiker’s heart beat higher. Almost everywhere in the Ticino, there are spectacular stepped staircases through which the people were able to conquer the steep mountains – in previous times and still today.
Now, did you become curious? Would you like to get to know Ticino? I can only highly recommend it!
The most widely read German writer, Hermann Hesse, will have known why he has spent almost 40 years of his life here. Mountain lovers and water sportsmen appreciate the Ticinese la dolce vita, which they only have to share with a few other like-minded people.
Today’s people, on their vacation way to the south, are advised to avoid the summer’s traffic jam on the route between the Gotthard Alpine pass and the Italian border. They may enter into the many various mountain valleys of the Ticino instead to dive into its charming towns and picturesque villages.
And, as a charming side effect, to discover a place of longing. Ticino – how beautiful that sounds! Like one of these places, once discovered, you would not want to let go again!
Jana Wessendorf (www.zufussunterwegs.com) ist Naturliebhaber, Wandermensch, Blogger und ein
kleiner Schokoladenfan. Nach einigen Jahren Dauerlauf im
Karriere-Hamsterrad ist sie nun zu Fuss unterwegs. Sie setzt sie sich
erfolgreich für die Wiederentdeckung der Langsamkeit ein: im Alltag,
in der Natur, beim Wandern und auf Reisen.