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The canton of Ticino

The canton of Ticino , formally the Republic and Canton of Ticino  ,  Cantone Ticino  is the southernmost canton of Switzerland.

Ticino borders the canton of Uri to the north, the canton of Valais to the west (through the Novena Pass), the canton of Graubunden to the northeast, Italy’s regions of Piedmont and Lombardy to the south and it surrounds the small Italian enclave of Campione d’Italia. Named after the river Ticino, it is the only canton where Italian is the sole official language and represents the bulk of the Italian-speaking area of Switzerland along with the southern parts of Graubunden.

The land now occupied by the canton was annexed from Italian cities in the 15th century by various Swiss forces in the last transalpine campaigns of the Old Swiss Confederacy. In the Helvetic Republic, established 1798, it was divided between the two new cantons of Bellinzona and Lugano. The creation of the Swiss Confederation in 1803 saw these two cantons combine to form the modern canton of Ticino

Climate :  The climate of Ticino, while remaining alpine, is noticeably milder than the rest of Switzerland’s, enjoying a higher number of sunshine hours and generally warmer temperatures. In German-speaking Switzerland, Ticino is nicknamed Sonnenstube (sun porch), owing to the more than 2,300 sunshine hours the canton receives every year, compared to 1,700 for Zurich.

Wine region : Ticino is one of the wine regions for Swiss wine. The defined region encompasses all of the canton plus the neighbouring Italian-speaking district of Moesa (Misox and Calanca valleys) in the canton of the Grisons.

Districts of Ticino canton
The canton is divided into eight districts:

Bellinzona with capital Bellinzona
Blenio with capital Acquarossa
Leventina with capital Faido
Locarno with capital Locarno
Lugano with capital Lugano
Mendrisio with capital Mendrisio
Riviera with capital Osogna
Vallemaggia with capital Cevio
History of the districts
Leventina was a subject of the canton of Uri until 1798, the year the Helvetic Republic was founded, when it became part of the new canton of Bellinzona along with the Swiss condominiums of Bellinzona, Riviera and Blenio. The condominiums of Locarno, Lugano, Mendrisio and Vallemaggia became part of the new canton of Lugano in 1798. These two cantons formed into one canton — Ticino — in 1803 when it joined the (restored) Swiss Confederation as a member canton. The former condominiums and Leventina became the eight districts of the canton of Ticino, which exist to the present day and are provided for by the cantonal constitution.

Cities :  Ascona — known sometimes as the Swiss Riviera ,  Bellinzona — the capital of the canton ,  Chiasso — is the southernmost town in Switzerland, it is surrounded on three sides by Italy ,  Locarno — is the town at the shore of Lago Maggiore ,
Lugano — is the largest city in the canton, it is located on the shore of the homonymous lake. There is a pleasant waterfront there, stunning lake views and steep hillsides.
Mendrisio ,  Tenero

Culture :  Ticino hosts two World Heritage sites: the Three Castles of Bellinzona and Monte San Giorgio. The city of Locarno is host to the Locarno International Film Festival, Switzerland’s most prestigious film festival, held during the second week of August. FEstival Jazz, a free open-air jazz festival, is held in Lugano and Mendrisio in late June and July. Past lineups have included Buddy Guy, Van Morrison, Yes, Jethro Tull, Yellowjackets, Al Jarreau, Randy Brecker.

Ticino has a rich architectural heritage, ranging from Romanesque and baroque to contemporary styles. The canton is home to internationally recognized architects, such as Mario Botta, Aurelio Galfetti, Luigi Snozzi, Livio Vacchini. As early as the 18th century, aristocrats from Russia and Italy employed numerous architects from Ticino. More recently, the region became a centre of the Neo-Rationalist Tendenza movement. Polenta, along with chestnuts and potatoes, was for centuries one of the staple foods in Ticino, and it remains a mainstay of local cuisine. Grottos are a kind of rustic, family-run restaurant that is prevalent in Ticino. They serve local wine (usually Merlot or similar) in a little ceramic jug known as boccalino, which is also a popular souvenir for tourists.

Gazzosa ticinese, a soft drink available in lemon and a number of other flavours, is one of the most popular beverages from Ticino, and is also common in other regions of Switzerland. It usually comes in flip-top bottles. The estimate for the production of gazzosa in Ticino is 7–8 million bottles a year. Newspapers and magazines published in Ticino include Corriere del Ticino, LaRegione Ticino, Giornale del Popolo, Il Mattino della Domenica, Il Caffe, L’Informatore, and the German-language Tessiner Zeitung. Bocce is a folk game that was once a popular pastime locally, but by the early 21st century it was seldom played by younger people. Notable sports teams include HC Lugano, HC Ambri-Piotta (ice hockey), FC Lugano (association football) and Lugano Tigers (basketball). Lugano has hosted the Italy-Belgium match at the 1954 FIFA World Cup, the 1953 and 1996 UCI Road World Championships, the 18th Chess Olympiad, and the annual BSI Challenger Lugano tennis tournament and Gran Premio Citta di Lugano Memorial Albisetti 20km racewalk.

Access : Coordinates: 46.316667, 8.816667 / By plane :  Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP IATA) is connected to Ticino by a cross-border commuter rail network By train :  The area is served by the Swiss Federal Railways with all connections from the North passing through the Gotthard massif and hence significantly improved with the opening of the Gotthard Base Tunnel.

Highlights :

  •  Museum of fossils from Monte San Giorgio, Via Bernardo Peyer 9, 6866 Meride, Tu-Su 09:00 – 17:00.
  • Monte San Giorgio is a mountain at the Italian border inscribed at the UNESCO World Heritage List for it “is the single best-known record of marine life in the Triassic period, and records important remains of life on land as well.” The museum displays a collection of fossilised animals and plants from this region. Fr. 12.
  • Go to Melide to visit Swissminiatur where a lot of Switzerland’s sights are replicated as models. Verzasca Valley , Fiore di pietra – Monte Generoso
  • Piora Valley – Ritom region , Brissago Islands – Botanical park , Monte Bre – Lugano , Madonna del Sasso, Locarno , Ascona is Switzerland’s lowest lying town
  • Brissago Islands , Morcote
  • There are three very imposing medieval fortresses in Bellinzona, each in different strategic locations to defend the city. They were classified as UNESCO World Heritage sites in the year 2000. I would recommend starting at the top with the Sasso Corbora, which incidentally has an elegant restaurant with a chic terrace in its inner courtyard, and working your way down towards the city.
  • The Montebello castle also houses an archaeological museum. The Castelgrande is in the city center. Take some time to visit the city too, it has some lovely piazzas, with colourful houses and narrow streets.

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