Ascona and Locarno
Destination Ascona and Locarno
Ascona and Locarno are in Southern Switzerland and are part of the canton of Ticino. They are situated on a river delta formed by the River Maggia before flowing into Lake Maggiore. Sheltered by the mountains of the Alps, Ascona and Locarno enjoy an exceptional climate in which hydrangeas, magnolias and camellias blossom as early as in March. Visitors will find plenty of opportunities for pleasant walks among gardens, along the shores of the lake and on the vine-covered slopes above the lake in friendly little villages such as Orselina.
The area around Ascona and Locarno offers many attractions and activities. Mainline trains speed south to Lugano and stop in Bellinzona, from where a branch line is heading west to Ascona / Locarno.
The most important sight in Locarno is the Santuario della Madonna del Sasso, on a wooden crag above the resort in Orselina. Other sights include Castello Visconteo - a castle named after the Visconti, a famous Italian family who ruled over Milan from the 13 -15th century. Today it is a Municipal and Archeological Museum which is devoted to the region. Chiesa San Francesco - consecrated in 1230 by Umberto di Monserrato, the Bishop of Como, is the church attached to a former Franciscan convent that was extensively restored in the 16th century. Arcades laid out on three levels surround the beautiful courtyard at the Casa Rusca - Piazza Sant'Antonio. The house is a fine example of a 17th century patrician residence.
Ascona lies in a spectacularly sunny bay on Lake Maggiore. It is one of the most exclusive tourist destinations in Switzerland and boasts a beautiful lake promenade, boutiques, a welcoming Lido (public swimming pool), restaurants and magnificent walks in the surroundings. The Old Town of Ascona was built around the 16th century church of Pietro e Paolo and exerts a special fascination: an intricate web of lanes containing every kind of shop leads to the piazza, which lies directly on the lake. The panorama opens out over the lake where you will find cafes and restaurants in the sunshine.
The Centovalli (100 valleys) is an area that begins behind Ascona. The name was given to a valley that offers a variety of landscapes extending east from the River Maggia Delta to the Italian border. Certainly one of the most attractive areas of Switzerland, the Centovalli is a paradise for hiking and biking alike and includes breath-taking gorges with sparkling waterfalls and bridges, colorful fields, vineyards, chestnut groves and sleepy little villages.