Locarno and Ascona in the Ticino, Switzerland


We’ve been visiting Switzerland with a series
of programs and now we’re taking you to the southern part of the country where they
speak Italian. We’re visiting the town of Locarno. This is a very pretty little resort town along
the shores of Lake Maggiore. Our main focus is the city of Locarno with
its lovely streets and shops. We will take you on some walks through the
narrow pedestrian lanes of the old town, show you the market, the waterfront, and there’s
quite a bit to see outside the old town in the surrounding areas, so you are going to
get an in-depth look at the region. We’re going to take you over to Ascona, a
little waterfront village. We will take you on a couple of boat rides
and we will also bring you up into the nearby valleys on a bus trip, and , then we will
do some hiking through the little stone villages. A good place to begin our close look at the
town of Locarno is at the old Piazza Grande, the center of town. And you can see the old town here has got
an extensive arcade with lots of restaurants and ice cream shops, cafes and little stores
to poke around in. You can have some pizza, pasta. Choose from a variety of delicious gelato
flavors. The food’s Italian. They speak Italian and yet, yes were in Switzerland. The market sells all kinds of products, especially
the local handmade crafted items. There is fabrics and products in wool, ceramics
and wooden objects. You can find some wonderful local foods at
the market like fresh cheese, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. And some of the vendors sell this secondhand
merchandise like old CDs and books, and even music tapes and clothing can be found here. It’s all very down to earth, very local. These are casual part-time vendors just selling
their stuff. We notice the paving in the piazza was smooth,
water-worn stones in various colors, really quite beautiful. Hotel Dell’ Angelo is a convenient place to
stay right on the main piazza. We’ll show more about that later. A posted map gives you an idea of how small
the old town is. We’re going to go explore it. There is a historic castle here nearly 500
years old and it houses the Archaeological Museum. We’ll take you inside the castle museum coming
up later in the program. And you’ll notice the streets here are very
narrow. There’s no cars allowed in this part of the
old town. It’s strictly for pedestrians, which always
makes it lovely for a stroll, very safe for the families, nice and quiet and peaceful
here. Locarno’s old town goes for about six blocks
by four blocks so it’s not really huge, but it’s big enough to enjoy a nice stroll and
have a poke around in the art galleries and look in some of the antique stores. Quite a few modern shop-fronts along with
the mix. To give you an idea of the scale and location
of the old town look at the map that shows the overview of Locarno and then the Piazza
Grande and just above it those few streets, the pedestrian zone of the old town. You’ll notice as you walk around these quiet
lanes there are not many tourists up here. It’s mostly local people. It’s just a few blocks off of the main piazza,
but many visitors wouldn’t even realize that this pedestrian zone is right next to the
main square of town. So by all means when you’re in Locarno, go
ahead, enjoy that Piazza Grande and we’ll show you the waterfront shortly and some other
parts of town, but be sure to get up into these little lanes. It’s so charming, and there’s a few bars and
cafes up here and little shops, and it’s a residential zone as well. It’s a place where locals just spend some
time of day chatting with their neighbors and generally just hanging out. It’s kind of simple place to enjoy the mundane
aspects of living here. You’ll feel part of the scene instead of being
just a tourist. Those narrow lanes are just short block over
from the main piazza, so it’s easy to just walk back and forth, go to one area and then
come back down to the big square. You’ll find the Tourist Information Office
on the Piazza Grande in a nice new modern building, and they’ve got plenty of maps and
brochures and information for you inside. There’s a map posted for you out front that
shows the location of Locarno and Lake Maggiore. There are some nice boat rides you can take
on Lake Maggiore. Let’s show you a 30 minute round-trip ride
over to the town of Magadino back, and forth crossing the northern tip of the lake providing
a nice view from the water, looking back at Locarno. It’s Lake Maggiore, which is really a huge
lake. It goes for many miles right down into Italy. There are some nice boat rides that you can
take on Lake Maggiore. For example if you’re up early, you could
catch a short ride leaving at 8 AM. But in this case you can just take a short
boat ride, if you choose, it just takes about 15-20 minutes to go across this little inlet
of the lake. So that’s what we did. It was curious, though,. It was so early in the morning that there
was nobody else on the boat. It was like an 8 AM departure and it had to
leave anyway because they had to go across to the other side to pick up some passengers
and there you will see some people were getting on, but it’s kind of like reverse rush-hour,
nobody’s leaving the village at 8 AM except a few oddball tourists. From the lake you have a nice view looking
back at Locarno. Here you can see how the village is just surrounded
by the mountains. The snowcapped peaks in the distance and the
valleys beyond and just a small town, population about 10 to 15,000 here, a number of hotels
along the waterfront and the residential homes up on the hill. Just crossing the lake over to the next village
and there we’re going to pick up some local passengers. It’s a mix of some students heading over to
the University for their classes, some workers going into Locarno for the working day – short
stop and then we’re on our way. We just stop at the small town of Magadino. It just takes 15 minutes to go from Locarno
across to Magadino, and then 15 minutes to go back to Locarno. However, there are some much longer boat rides
that you could take on Lake Maggiore. You could go for 3 1/2 hours if you wanted
to head on down to Isola Bela. That’s down in the Italian part of Lake Maggiore
near the town of Stressa as we will show you in the map in a moment. It makes a very worthwhile daytrip, which
provides yet another reason for spending a few days in Locarno. There’s a combined ticket where you can travel
by train, Locarno down to Stressa and enjoy time in that area, and then take the boat
back up to Locarno. It’s a full day excursion. Now we’re back in Locarno. Coming up in 5 minutes. We will take you on another boat ride over
to Ascona, a beautiful waterfront village, and then later. We will bring you up into the valleys and
do a little hiking. It’s an easy walk from the boat to the main
square. Now we’re going to take you on another extended
walk in the pedestrian lanes of the old town seeing some new sites. And the town is right across the street, so
everything is very convenient here in the heart of Locarno. Right away the pedestrian zone begins again,
lined with those arcades, and that leads you back into the Piazza Grande. You’ll always find yourself coming back to
this main central square. And there are some smaller piazzas up on the
side streets as well. You find yourself walking in circles here
but when you come to a spot from a different angle it looks like different street or a
different restaurant. They have a Mediterranean climate here in
the Ticino in the south part of Switzerland. Very pleasant temperature. You will even find palm trees growing. They don’t get any significant winter weather
here. It doesn’t get real cold. They might have the occasional dusting of
snow, but that would be pretty unusual. The climate here is technically classified
as humid subtropical which might be kind of surprising to hear about Switzerland, but
it is the southern, sunny section. In fact, they have sunshine more than 56%
of the time. So it’s all really quite moderate, quite lovely
temperature, great place to come anytime of the year. Next were going to experience firsthand some
of the history of the area with a visit to the castle. Just a block beyond Piazza Grande you get
to Castello Visconteo, which is the Municipal and Archaeological Museum. There is the turreted tower, and crenellated
walls all around it. And we’re going to have a look inside this
castle. You pay your admission. In this case the museum building is part of
the historical exhibition because the building itself is as old as some of the contents on
exhibit. It’s the only museum you really need to see
in Locarno. And they do have a nice little display with
some ceramics and glassware as we will show you. And they brought together some artifacts from
the surrounding region. You’ve got the old columns and capitals and
some architectural details. They were doing some restoration of a painting,
here. There are some original frescoes on the walls
of this castle. This castle has an old primitive feeling to
it. You can almost imagine back in the day, 500
years ago when there were some elegant banquets in these rooms and they’ve done a very nice
job of renovating the castle and installing some modern display cases with really excellent
lighting. Some ancient Roman glass. You might be surprised that 2000 years ago
the Romans made some beautiful delicate glassware and even 3000 years ago the Egyptians were
making glassware. And there’s some little signs that tell you,
and label the artifacts, tell you little bit about the history. It even looks like there is a dungeon, there’s
some small rooms down the basement. They might’ve locked somebody away. Right next to the museum there is a highway
underpass where they did some archaeological excavations and they found some Roman artifacts
on the site. That is a free attraction just a couple blocks
from Piazza Grande. Well, now we’re getting hungry so we tried
Ristoranti Sensi. It was only a block from our hotel, so very
convenient and worked out really well. They have lovely pastas and salads and fish,
chicken, meat, everything could imagine on the menu. It’s the beauty of eating in Ticino – you
can have Italian cuisine and Swiss service. Note the arugula on top, looks like a salad
but it’s really a pasta dish with pesto and arugula and tomato, and sliced Parmesan – delicious,
hot right out of the kitchen. And they have a wide variety of other dishes,
chicken, fish, and vegetarian items. Swiss produce a range of red and white wines
of very high quality, even though they’re not well known outside the country because
the production amount is quite small. Were going to show you a lot more of Locarno
at the end of the segment with a special 3-screen presentation that really packs in a lot of
information for you. But first we’re going off on several day trips
out from Locarno. Were going to take you to the waterfront village
of Ascona and. We will take you up into the mountains for
a trip to the nearby valleys. We’ve been visiting the city of Locarno in
the south of Switzerland. And now we’re going to take a little trip
over to the nearby village Ascona. Here too, you can go by boat from Locarno,
or you can just take the city bus. It only takes about twelve minutes on the
city bus to get over here to Ascona. We’ll show you on this map how easy it is
to get over there by city bus, then we will take you walking through the narrow lanes
of the small pedestrian center. and then getting back by boat on the lake
is a nice alternative. We’ll show you that boat ride at the end of
the segment. When you get off the bus it’s quite easy to
get your bearings. This is a small village after all, Ascona
only has a population of about five thousand people, and an area of about 2 square miles,
so it’s easy to get around. If you get disoriented, just ask someone for
directions to the lake. It’s a short walk. And as you can see in the map, the central
village area is only several hundred meters wide. But you will discover many beautiful sights
in this small area. It’s really worth the trip over from Locarno. You’ll probably be drawn first to that waterfront
picturesque scene and row of restaurants and shops along Lake Maggiore. But you also find that those little pedestrian
lanes just inland have great attractions: shops, art galleries, more restaurants, and
beautiful buildings. We will show you both sides of town in our
brief visit. You’re going to see that this is very pretty
little village. It’s another one of these picture postcards
come to life, especially along the waterfront promenade with its row of outdoor restaurants
and colorful facades – very inviting to sit on the terrace, have a drink, relax, have
a meal and watch the people stroll by. Notice this outdoor canopy for an important
football match at this lakeside bar that is getting ready for a big night with the games. Like Locarno, this town has an Italian feeling
to it even though we’re still in Switzerland, the country’s southern canton of the Ticino. There really is something very special about
this kind of waterfront where you don’t have any cars. You’ve got the lakeside and you’ve got beautiful
buildings with the restaurants and a broad area for pedestrian promenade, and trees and
gardens. It seems so classic and typical in your imagination
of the ideal waterfront village, but in reality you just don’t run into this all that often. There is normally a road and cars or something
in the way of the view. Here it’s all laid out in a perfect setting. You can see how popular boating is here for
fishing and pleasure craft and just cruising. For the visitor it’s all part of the picturesque
scenery. You’ll reach a landscaped garden with flowers
and a playground for the kids at the end of the promenade. After you’ve had a good look at the waterfront,
perhaps you had a meal or drink, then take a stroll inland to these pedestrian lanes
just a block or two away. You can wander around here for another hour
or two if you’re going to do some shopping or have a drink, or just do some sightseeing. It’s just big enough that you can get a little
bit lost, but so small that you’ll quickly find your way again. You’re going to run into some friendly fellow
visitors. People here are in a good mood – they’re
on holiday. Ascona is a popular destination for the Swiss. It is like their little Mediterranean seaside
village. It’s something rather exotic and different
than you find in most of the rest of Switzerland, snow-covered mountains and all that, and it’s
really not that far away from the northern part of the country. You can drive down here or take the train
and arrive within a few hours from much of Switzerland. It’s an easier stretch than going on down
to Italy and provides a lot of the same rewards if not more so. Because the town is so small you’re going
to find that these little back lanes are one of the main attractions. And we will show you the distance on a map. If you were to walk around the entire little
village it’s only 1 kilometer and then if you got ambitious and wanted to walk the little
side lanes that’s another kilometer. So you can walk through the entire village
in just over one mile of walking. So it’s an easy stroll. Of course you’ll want to spend time looking
in the shops and have a coffee, maybe get a gelato, and just look around. You might often find in your travels that
just this simple little aimless stroll is one of the most pleasurable activities. You certainly don’t need a map here, just
follow your nose, take a left, take a right and you might find yourself walking around
in circles, but that’s all part of the fun. Of course, a desirable setting like this is
been occupied by people for a long time. The earliest archaeological remains go back
to the late Bronze Age. There is settlement here during the Roman
time later on, and it was during the Middle Ages that the area got its name, Ascona, and
it was always linked from that time on with nearby Locarno. Many of the locals, especially the older folks
don’t speak the nation’s two main languages Swiss-German or French. They just speak Italian. Now they might speak a little English, especially
people who are working in the shops and restaurants – they’re going to speak some German and
English, and of course Italian, maybe a little French. Most Europeans who work in the travel industry
are multilingual and so you don’t have any problem getting taken care of in the shops
and restaurants. Even in a little out-of-the-way village like
this. It’s a good time to brush up on your basic
Italian, however, such as buon giorno and grazie, si, prego, vino, pasta, basta, grazie,
toilet. Just for fun and show little courtesy. You can see Ascona in a couple hours, but
you might find this is a nice place to drop anchor for a few days. You could spend the night here in one of the
thirty-four hotels and keep busy eating in the sixty-three restaurants. It had been sunny here a little earlier in
the day and then it was cloudy bright. And then we got some rain showers, so it was
time for the umbrellas. But it’s kinda nice though with these cobblestones. You get that glistening light reflected off
the cobblestones, especially if we were here at twilight. That would really be magical. We tolerate the rain for a while and then
it clears up. Temperatures are very pleasant here in the
month of May. Fortunately, the climate in the south of Switzerland
is considered subtropical, kind of like the shores of the Mediterranean. The weather can change pretty quickly here
when you’re near the mountains. We are right next to the Alps after all and
right on the shores of Lake Maggiore. One way to escape any bad weather is duck
into a restaurant and have a nice meal such as at Ristorante Carra. It serves Mediterranean cuisine in a refined
setting and a varied menu. They make their own fresh pasta Italian-style. Remember, we’re in Ticino, which is very much
the Italian side of Switzerland. And so you’ll find that most of the restaurants
in Ascona feature Italian food. Of course, there’s a variety of other sorts
of fast food, delis, take-out counters, pizzeria, anything you want. While those little lanes are attractive and
certainly worth your time, there is nothing like the waterfront promenade here at Ascona. That’s what makes the place so very special. You could easily return to Locarno by bus,
you already know where the bus stop is, but why not consider the other option? Looking at the signs and the boats and schedules,
hmm, the bus stop is 5 blocks away and the boat dock is right in front of us. Luckily, our timing was perfect because it
was arriving and we only had a few minutes to purchase our tickets which we quickly did. You could buy an all day Swiss boat pass for
$20. Of course they are very efficient and quickly
selling you the right ticket, one-way back to Locarno. You can pay with cash or credit card, ask
a few questions while you’re at it, and then move along. If we miss this boat we have to wait for another
hour, so it would be a good idea to be aware of the boat schedule and adjust the timing
of your visit accordingly. We got on the boat just in time for them to
pull up the gangplank behind us, and cast off. Luckily our timing was perfect because at
the moment we decided to take the boat, it was arriving and we only had a few minutes
to purchase our tickets which we did quickly – only ten Swiss francs about ten, eleven
dollars. Of course they are very efficient and quickly
selling you the right ticket. And you can pay with cash or credit card,
ask a few questions while you’re at it, and then move along. If we miss this boat we have to wait for another
hour. We got on the boat just in time for them to
pull up the gangplank and cast off. Suddenly we find ourselves on the boat enjoying
the view of the Ascona waterfront as we away. Alternatively, it would’ve been easy to walk
up to the bus stop and ride back to Locarno that way. But this was a lot more fun, and it only takes
25 minutes by boat from Ascona around to Locarno. It’s a nonstop ride, and you’ll discover it’s
quite scenic, and actually faster than the bus because there we were at the boat dock
ready to go. The boat is comfortable, you can sit outdoors
on the deck, especially in such nice weather. Yes, the rains have stopped. Or you can sit down below. Inside they’ve got a snack bar and not crowded
because we’re here in the month of May. Imagine in the summer time the boat would
probably fill up, but we-re enjoying a lot of space here. How unusual, they have an eighteen-hole golf
course in Ascona. A few years ago it was voted the country’s
best golf course. You don’t see that many golf courses anywhere
in Europe as you’re traveling around, nothing like in places like America. Elsewhere in town they’ve also got a miniature
golf course and a couple of small museums and eleven historic sites in Ascona. The boat company is called Navigazione Lago
Maggiore, and operates cruises throughout this very large lake, most of which is in
Italy. They also have cruises on Lake Garda and Lake
Como – a whole series of operations you can pick from. The same boat company operates cruises throughout
Lake Maggiore, most of which is in Italy and is quite a large lake. And also they have cruises on Lake Garda and
Lake Como – quite a whole series of operations you can pick from. You could easily build a rewarding vacation
by cruising the lakes of southern Switzerland and northern Italy. We will be taking you on another short bruise
in a different episode when we go down to Lugano and take a ride to Gandria. That’s in our other show about the Ticino
focusing more on Lugano. Locarno’s a great home base for visiting the
southern part of Switzerland. You’ve got excellent restaurants, a lot of
shops, and excellent hotels to pick from, and it’s a charming town as we’ve been showing
you with its main piazza and the arcaded columns all around and the quiet little pedestrian
streets in the back lanes. There is our lakeside Hotel Geranio, which
worked out perfectly for us. It’s only one block away from the train station
and it’s right on the waterfront a block away from the main part of central Locarno, very
nice and friendly people there too. As you get off the boat you find you are right
here in the center of town. Ciao, ciao. So it’s very easy to just walk across the
street over to the main square, the Piazza Grande and discover more about Locarno. Well after resting up overnight and exploring
a little bit of Locarno, it’s up in the morning at our Hotel Geranio, and were getting ready
for another daytrip excursion. We’re going to take you out to see the valleysm
the nearby valleys and do little hiking. But first breakfast. Typical of European hotels, the breakfast
is included in the price of your room and it’s quite a nice spread: there is breads
and there’s meats and cheeses and juice and cereals and fruits and all kinds of good stuff. It’s always nice to get together with your
fellow travelers in the morning and chew over last night and yesterday and the day’s activities
coming up. The hotel setting right on the waterfront
provides a nice view for us in the morning. You could sit outdoors if you like and enjoy
the terrace and the scenery. Or just take your breakfast inside the dining
room. Hopping on the bus, we’re going off on an
adventure this morning were going to take a bus ride up into one of the nearby valleys. Now this is one of the great things to do
while you’re in Locarno, is to head into the mountains and you can take your pick of several
different deep valleys that go way into the Alps. We’re driving up into the valley called Valle
Maggia and visiting the small village of Binasco. Wonderful view of Binasco here. It’s a very picturesque spot. It looks like it popped right out of a postcard
with that old, stone, arched bridge. Little cloudy, a little overcast but we really
had some nice views and we’re able to walk around in, a couple of these little stone
villages. The buildings are made from stone which is
quarried nearby. They’ve got lots of good quality stone for
building available in these valleys. So, usually architects, local builders, take
advantage of local materials, in this case it’s stone. And then going a little bit further. This was quite a day. Some of these stone villages were abandoned
about 100 years ago when the region fell on economic hard times. And the residents, many of them uprooted themselves
and moved to California. And there they established a wine-growing
industry and they started producing a wine that they called Italian Swiss Colony Wine. Member hearing about that Italian Swiss Colony
Wine. Well, here’s where the people originally came
from. They are, wiss but of Italian cultural ancestry
in the sense that they speak Italian, and they formed a little colony in California. So a lot of these villages have got some empty
homes, empty buildings and yet the people who are living here today seem to be doing
fine. They’re in modern Switzerland, after all,
which has a very strong economy. There some spectacular scenic highlights. There’s waterfalls and there’s a beautiful
river that goes right through the middle of this valley. We will be doing some walking on the way back. We’re taking the bus in and then we are going
take some little strolls in a few more of these villages. Most of the buildings are occupied today and
they are quite nicely maintained actually. They look so ancient, they they kind of look
like hobbit homes that have just grown up out of the earth. All of those natural stone building materials
are very organic and functional and attractive. And you can stop for some refreshments at
a couple of the villages as well. Here we took a little stroll, just walked
for about a mile along the stream. And it is nice and level, very comfortable. Through a pleasant forested valley, and then
anytime you feel a little tired you can just go back over the road and catch the next bus
coming by, which is what we did in a little while. It’s a very well-marked trail. Back on the road, look for the bus stop, and
you’ll probably have to wait a little while, the buses are not too frequent here. Usually once every hour, so you want to time
your walk so that you’re not waiting too long. And then it’s about a 45-minute bus ride from
Binasco back into Locarno town. There are some other options while you’re
up here. You could change bus in Binasco and go explore
a different side valley. Up in Bavona Valley you could visit the old
town of Sonlerto, a little village. And if you like more hiking you could walk
from there back to Bignasco, it’s about a two-hour walk. But probably the route that we’ve just shown
you is going to be perfectly satisfactory for most travelers. It’ll take you about half a day. So this is only if you’re spending more than
one night in Locarno. If you have a few days relaxing in that charming
Lakeside city, this is certainly an activity you might enjoy. After the big day we rest up overnight, and
this time were showing you the Hotel Del Angelo which is another place that we stayed at in
a different trip to Locarno. Really quite nice, located on the Piazza Grande
in the center of town. And they put on a very good breakfast as usual
with Swiss hotels. Typically, breakfast begins about 7 o’clock
in the morning and we get started our day’s activities, about 8:30, get an early start,
and in this segment were going to take you out walking through Locarno town, especially
show you some of those little back lanes, starting out in the main square. There’s a morning market right next to the
Piazza Grande so it’s kind of interesting to have a look at the at foods they, and here’s
a fellow making some polenta, it’s made from a cornflower. Nice advantage of a hotel that’s right on
the main square, you can go for a morning wa and right away you’ll see some kind of
activities. You’ll probably see the beer truck, it’s out
there every day carting away the empty kegs and bringing in the fresh ones. Not too many things open at 7:30 or 8 o’clock
in the morning. Bakeries opening up, there is couple of coffee
shops that are open. Of course the stores are not open at that
hour. They also have a casino, you could do a little
bit of gambling. Strolling along now in the Piazza Grande. It’s really a marvelous urban setting with
the arcaded sidewalks. And you’ve got restaurants that are indoors
as well as outdoors and somewhat sheltered from the rain and the sun by the arcades,
by the awnings and the roofs. A variety of stores along here. You’ve got a department store, you’ve got
the restaurants of course and gelato, there’s bars, cafes, clothing, a whole variety of
merchandise for sale. In the German-speaking part of Switzerland
they might call it the Hauptmarkt and in the French side on the west, this would be the
Grand Place, but here it’s Piazza Grande. You see on the map in red the main square
and those little lanes that extend out from it that we’re walking on. And there’s the train station and boat dock
locations. We will focus on the center of town now and
take you on a stroll through the lanes. As happens so many times when visiting a place
you focus on the main square, the monuments, go to a museum, perhaps, go down to the waterfront
and overlook the real heart and soul of the city, that local place where people stroll
and hang out and shop and live. And this is very much the case here with Locarno. It’s a lot of fun to just take a walk on these
streets and they’re easy. They’re not very steep. It’s quiet. There’s no cars. It’s a small area. You really can’t get lost. Just stroll around. You might find yourself walking in circles
a little bit, but that’s okay, you go up one lane and then back down the same lane in the
other direction. It looks like a different place maybe. And you can easily find your way back to the
main Piazza anytime, just head downhill. You’ll notice it’s also prime shopping area. These are more stores for local people or
for some discriminating visitors. They’ve got art galleries, there’s antique
shops, clothing stores. They even have some small hotels in the neighborhood. This antique store, Bellerio Antichita, has
indoor and outdoor display areas, and not only do they sell works of art, but you can
purchase furnishings. You can get cabinets and chest tables, and
cupboards and chairs dating back hundreds of years and still functional. Open since 1956, it’s worth going inside and
wandering around. And of course you’ll always find the neighborhood
cafes and bars and restaurants up here. You might get better prices than down on the
main square. They have a Mediterranean climate here in
the Ticino in the south part of Switzerland. You’ll even find palm trees growing. They don’t get any significant winter weather
here. It doesn’t get real cold. They might have the occasional dusting of
snow but that would be pretty unusual. It’s a very pleasant temperature. You can see there are easily enough things
to keep you busy in Locarno for several days. You don’t want to just drop in for one hour
and have a quick look at this town. It’s worth exploring. In the midst of these narrow lanes, you do
run into the occasional little piazza, with the inevitable outdoor restaurant and fountain
in the middle. The church of St. Francis is the oldest church
in town. The choir and the cupola date from the 14th
century, and the nave dates from 1528, so here we have a mix of the Gothic style and
the early Renaissance. And next to the church is a former 13th-century
Franciscan monastery. Now this church has got some Baroque side
chapels and some very old fresco paintings that are barely visible on some of the walls. It’s quite unusual to see such an old and
Italian-style church in Switzerland. When you’re in the north of Switzerland you
just don’t see this kind of architecture. Coming out of the church, heading back into
the old lanes, you’ll recognize that little piazza. The fountain surrounded by benches would make
a good place to rest up. You probably realize that Locarno has got
that small-town feeling. Its population is only 16,000 people, which
ranks it 74th in Switzerland in city size. So it’s really just a small town, smaller
than nearby Lugano for example. And yet Locarno offers that full urban experience
but on a human scale. Back on the Piazza Grande just , a couple
blocks away there’s some musical action and swing dancing happening at the outdoor restaurant. For thousands of years people have been living
here. During the Roman era it’s believed there was
a small market center along the lake. And numerous buildings we see today are several
centuries old and yet all in very good condition. With that typical Swiss efficiency of maintenance
and modernizing the interiors. What better way to finish our in-depth visit
than with some more delicious pasta. We have a big series of movies about Switzerland
taking you to most of the great places. We will bring you to Lucerne and up to Mount
Titlis, Mount Rigi, over to Interlaken, up to the Jungfrau. We will see the Shilthorn, Lauterbrunnen Valley,
Trummelbach Falls, Grindelwald, Bern, then on to Zermatt, the Matterhorn, yes we will
have a look at the Gornergrat, up the Sunnegga, do some hiking, show you the village then
on down to Lugano and Locarno in the southern part of Switzerland, the Ticino we also take
you to the great city of Zürich. Look for them in our Swiss collection.

8 Replies to “Locarno and Ascona in the Ticino, Switzerland”

  1. Danke Veil Mal that was beautiful Dennis, and i am looking to move there one day, not just see it i want to live it just as i did in Berlin, and thanks so much for a beautiful video.

  2. I enjoyed your video very much revisiting the beautiful and lovely Ascona and Locarno. I was there on holiday in 1987 and the towns haven´t changed much over the years. The lake and mountains are the same. I love the views and the classical music on your video. Thanks for uploading, Kind regards from Copenhagen, Denmark.

  3. @2:47 lol, old town locarno is not a Pedestrian zone only, its a pedestrian priority zone but cars can and will drive through

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