Travel Guide Europe Switzerland Tessin

edit

Introduction

Tessin/Ticino is the southernmost canton of Switzerland. Ticino borders the Canton of Uri to the north, Valais to the west (through the Novena Pass), Graubünden to the northeast, Italy's regions of Piedmont and Lombardy to the south and it surrounds the small Italian exclave of Campione d'Italia.

Named after the Ticino river, 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 sections of Graubünden.

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 cantons of Bellinzona and Lugano, which since the formation of the Swiss Confederation five years later have been the canton's districts.

Top

edit

Geography

The canton of Ticino is in the south of Switzerland, almost entirely surrounded by Italy (to its west, south and much of its east). To the north are the cantons of Valais and Uri, to the northeast the canton of Graubünden.

Its area is 2,812 square kilometres, of which about three quarters are considered productive to trees or crops. Forests cover about a third of the area, but also the lakes Maggiore (officially Verbano) and Lugano (officially Ceresio) make up a considerable minority.

The canton can be split into two at the Monte Ceneri pass. The northern, highest part, the Sopraceneri, is formed by the two major Swiss valleys around Lake Maggiore: Ticino valley and Maggia valley. The southern part, the Sottoceneri, is the region around Lake Lugano.

The Ticino river is the largest river in the canton. It drains most of the canton, flowing from the northwest through the Bedretto valley and the Leventina valley to enter Lake Maggiore near Locarno. Its main tributaries are the Brenno in the Blenio valley and the Moesa in the Mesolcina valley in Graubünden. The lands of most of the canton are shaped by the river, which in its mid portion forms a wide valley, commonly known as the Riviera.

The western lands of the canton, however, are drained by the Maggia River. The Valle Verzasca is between the Ticino and the Maggia. There is also a smaller area that drains directly into the Lake Lugano. Most of the land is considered within the Alps (Lepontine Alps), but a small area is part of the plain of the River Po which drains the north of Italy.

Top

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

Monte San Giogio

Monte San Giorgio is a wooded mountain (1,097 metres above sea level) of the Lugano Prealps, overlooking Lake Lugano in Switzerland. It lies in the southern part of the canton of Ticino, between the municipalities of Brusino Arsizio, Riva San Vitale and Meride. Monte San Giorgio became a UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2003, because 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 Italian region west of Poncione d'Arzo (Porto Ceresio) was added as an extension to the World Heritage Site in 2010. In Meride is the Museum of fossils from Monte San Giorgio, designed by the Ticinese architect Mario Botta.

Top

edit

Events and Festivals

Estival Jazz

Estival Jazz, a free open-air jazz festival, is held in Lugano and Mendrisio in late June and July.

Locarno Film Festival (Festival del Film Locarno)

Considered one of the best film festivals in the world, movie stars, press and fans flock to Locarno in August to experience this Swiss event. The event is known for showcasing cutting-edge filmography and blockbusters and is a great place to rub elbows with the rich and famous.

Top

edit

Weather

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. Additionally, Ticino is prone to fierce storms and has the highest level of lightning discharge in the whole of Europe.

Top

edit

Getting There

By Plane

Lugano Airport is the busiest airport with connections to/from Geneva and Zürich, and seasonal flights to a few other places.

By Train

There are several tunnels underneath the Gotthard Pass connecting the canton to northern Switzerland: the first to be opened was the 15 kilometre long Gotthard Rail Tunnel in 1882, replacing the pass road, connecting Airolo with Göschenen in the Canton of Uri. A second rail tunnel through the pass, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, is currently under construction. When completed, it will be the longest tunnel in the world, reducing travel time between Zürich and Lugano to 1 hour 40 minutes.

Treni Regionali Ticino Lombardia (TiLo), a joint venture between the Italian Ferrovie dello Stato and the Swiss Federal Railways launched in 2004, manages the traffic between the regional railways of Lombardy and the Ticino railway network via a S-Bahn system.

By Car

A 17 kilometre motorway tunnel, the Gotthard Road Tunnel, opened in 1980.

Top

edit

Getting Around

By Bus

The Regional Bus and Rail Company of Canton Ticino provides the urban and suburban bus network of Locarno, operates the cable cars between Verdasio and Rasa, and between Intragna – Pila – Costa on behalf of the owning companies, and, together with an Italian company, the Centovalli and Vigezzina Railway which connects the Gotthard trans-Alpine rail route at Locarno with the Simplon trans-Alpine route.

Top

edit

Eat

Top

edit

Drink

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.

Top

edit

Sleep

Top

Tessin Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Tessin

This is version 3. Last edited at 15:01 on Feb 2, 16 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License