Saturday, February 22, 2014

Locarno

Time for another recap of our Ticino trip back in November. We were only for three short days in the Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland and one of them was actually spent in Italy, so we couldn't do as much sightseeing as we intended to but still we managed to get a good flavour of the region and would love to visit it again sometime (doesn't that just always happen?)

Driving from Basel, it takes a bit more than three hours to reach Ticino. We crossed the whole country from north to south and because it was still early November and there wasn't much snow around we took the St Gotthard pass on our way to Ticino - we returned via the St Gotthard tunnel, which is the longest in Switzerland at 17 km long. The road was winding, though not as much as the one we would encounter later in Italy, and the views were amazing. There was just a little snow covering the top of the mountains and the valleys were crisscrossed by dozens of streams which poured crystal water into the creeks. Descending the St Gothard pass, the landscape gradually changed. Gone were the pine trees and alpine vegetation and suddenly there were palmtrees around. Palmtrees in Switzerland! Other than that - and the sights of the Lugano Lake - the landscape in Ticino is very rural with many isolated stone houses among farming lands and groups of sheeps. Locarno was our base for that trip. We stayed there for two nights and mainly explored the city in the evenings, while looking for some hearty food to fill our stomachs.


Locarno is a small city by Lago Maggiore, renowned for a minor film festival that takes place in August every year. The heart of the city is the Piazza Grande, which is also the place where films are displayed during the Locarno Film Festival. From there everything can be easily reached on foot. Many of the main sights are religious, churchs or monasteries. But architecture is also worth a look, as it is so different from everything else in Switzerland. And everything I had seen so far in Switzerland. Most buildings are made of stone, with dominating straight lines and grey as a dominating colour. So far from the typical wooden alpine chalets in the middle of the country, and probably more close to the traditional houses in the north of Italy. Locarno expands itself along the Lago Maggiore and there is a nice walk along lined by palmtrees. There is also a botanical garden right at the end of the municipal term of Locarno. 

What I probably enjoyed most about my visit to Locarno were the lake views - seriously, they were truly beautiful! But I also enjoyed some fine eating, just like I would expect in an Italian-speaking place. On the first evening we went to a pizzeria by the lake and had an amazing pizza napoletana (the one with anchovies and capers). The location was superb and prices were very decent for Swiss standards. On our second night in Locarno we explored the most touristic surroundings around Piazza Grande and chose an eatery catering more typical Ticino dishes. And there I had one of the best risottos I have tasted in my life, so creamy and tasty.








That was pretty much our trip to Locarno. The day we were leaving I ventured to take some photos early in the morning but sadly it was raining, so I couldn't enjoy myself as much I usually do - I so dislike the rain. Hopefully, if there's a second time, there will be sun!

Have a lovely weekend!

10 comments:

  1. Nunca había oído hablar del festival de cine de Locarno pero es un lugar alucinante y seguro que en verano mucho más. Qué bonitos los edificicios y las calles más antiguas. Bss, Irene:)

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    1. Yo tampoco lo había oído hasta que me mudé aquí este verano. Y en realidad tampoco sabía mucho de Locarno, salvo lo que había leído en mi guía de viaje. La verdad que fue una suerte poder ir este otoño :)

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  2. Mi familia vivió muy cerca de allí antes de mudarse a Tenerife :) De chiquitita, aún visitaba a mi abuela en verano y todo lo que recuerdo es tener miedo de bañarme en el lado porque pensé haber visto una serpiente (!) y los días tormentosos que parecían traer el fin del mundo! Volví hace un par de años y, claro, lo vi con otros ojos - esos edificios majestuosos, las tiendas, la comida, el lago en verano... aún tenemos amigos viviendo allí, así que más vale ir preparando otra visita!

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    1. Que suerte!!! La verdad que me pareció un sitio idílico para pasar las vacaciones, sobre todo en verano. Aunque eso de las serpientes no mola jejeje Cuando yo iba al pueblo de mi abuela en la península siempre me decía que por el campo había culebras y me daba un miedo!

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  3. Your pictures are fantastic! I have not been there yet but my Dad went to Lago Maggiore a couple of years ago and I loved all his pictures. Definitely a great place to go! Thanks for sharing!
    Have a great week!

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    1. Thanks! Well, if you move back to Europe you can always drive there for a weekend away :)
      I would really like to go back sometime but there's so much to see and too little time. It is always difficult to choose whether to repeat a place or go somewhere new!

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  4. I think the lake views would have been my favorite part, too! It looks so serene and peaceful!

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    1. It was really peaceful! But I think it was way too tranquil because it was not high season. It is probably very different in the summer with lots of tourists around!

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  5. The lake views are spectacular Irene! You captured the beauty so well. That pizza sound delicious. I could go for a slice right now. HAHAHA
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    1. Thank you, Kim! The pizza was really delicious. My mouth is watering just at the thought of it :)

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