Bellinzona Journals

Bellinzona - Gateway to Southern Switzerland

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An October 2005 trip to Bellinzona by Sierra

Sasso Corbaro Castle Photo, Bellinzona, Switzerland More Photos
Quote: Bellinzona is the capitol of the Ticino canton. It marries the joie de vivre of Italy with some of the best of what Switzerland has to offer. The city was once a strategic gateway between Italy and Switzerland, as evidenced by the trio of castles in town.

Bellinzona - Gateway to Southern Switzerland

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Overview

Charming Bellinzona Photo, Bellinzona, Switzerland
Quote:
Bellinzona, population 19,000, is the capital of the Ticino canton of Switzerland. Unlike its more well-known neighboring cities of Lugano and Locarno, Bellinzona made its mark on the region due to its location as a primary defense site for the north-south alpine passes. The three castles and the city walls that dominate the central part of the valley are the city’s best-known landmarks and tourist draws, but there is a lot to be explored and enjoyed in the area. While Bellinzona enjoys local renown for its various festivals and celebrations, most foreign travelers – not aware of what is to be seen and enjoyed here – pass through on their way to another location. It’s their loss, f...Read More

Osteria Pedemonte

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Restaurant | "Ristorante Pedemonte"

Osteria Pedemonte Photo, Lugano, Switzerland
Quote:
On the Via Pedemonte, which runs behind the Bellinzona train station, is a local restaurant called Ristorante Pedemonte. (It should be noted, however, that you can barely hear the trains inside). As it is not obviously marked, you might accidentally pass by, unless you notice the menu and small sign posted by the door. Warm and cozy and clean and tidy, with a friendly staff, this is the kind of restaurant you hope to discover when travelling: locals crowd this restaurant for lunch and dinner, enjoying marvellous cuisine. The staff is very friendly, but be aware they do not speak English. The Ristorante Pedemonte blends the freshest local ingredients in a combination of Itali...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 12, 2005

Osteria Pedemonte
Via Pedemonte 12
Lugano, Switzerland 6500
+41 (0)91 825 33 33

Gianfranco Peverelli Panetteria

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Restaurant | "Gianfranco Peverelli Panetteria - Pasticceria"

Gianfranco Peverelli Panetteria Photo, Bellinzona, Switzerland
Quote:
Directly across from the Collegiata dei SS Pietro e Stefano, you can find Gianfranco Peverelli Panetteria-pasticceria (Peverelli tearoom), where you can find a variety of light fare, pastries, chocolates, coffee, and spirits. The café holds a memorable place in local confectionery history. In 1997, Giulia Clerici-Cariboni, an employee of the café, created the tasty treat that won the Confectionery for Bellinzona competition, called bissoli. Castelgrande once housed a mint, and the mint created a coin called the Bissolo, which depicted a snake curled around a stake. If you look closely at the snake, you see it is cut into three pieces by the design, each o...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 17, 2005

Gianfranco Peverelli Panetteria
Piazza Collegiata 8
Bellinzona, Switzerland 6500
091 825 60 03

Sasso Corbaro Castle

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Attraction

Sasso Corbaro Castle Photo, Bellinzona, Switzerland
Quote:
Perched high above the city like a watchful gargoyle, the petite Sasso Corbaro Castle is the youngest of the three main castles in Bellinzona. The Sasso Corbaro was built to fill what was considered a dangerous gap in the impenetrable line of city defenses – a spot high above the city where marauders could slip through. Built between 1478 and 1482, the smallest of the city’s grand castles is in the final stages of restoration. To reach Sasso Corbaro, you must be prepared to climb. The local buses will take you most of the way up the hill, and then you must hike a short distance from there. (If you have a private car, a limited number of spaces are available at the top of the...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 9, 2005

Sasso Corbaro Castle
Via Sasso Corbaro
Lugano, Switzerland
+41 (0)91 825 59 06

Castillo de Montebello

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Attraction

Castillo de Montebello Photo, Lugano, Switzerland
Quote:
Of the three castles in Bellinzona, my favorite was Castillo de Montebello, which rises above the city like a graceful stone galleon.Montebello was built circa 1300 and later connected to the city's defenses via walls. The fortress served as part of the city's defenses for many years, until falling into neglect in the early 1400s. When walking around the castle, look for what looks like lines of red brick embedded into the walls; these indicate where the first series of extensions and renovations (1462-1490) started from. The workmanship of the late 15th century gave the castle its shape as can be seen today. Today, the castle is among the best surviving example...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 11, 2005

Castillo de Montebello
Via Daro
Lugano, Switzerland

Castelgrande

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Attraction

Castelgrande Photo, Bellinzona, Switzerland
Quote:
It is easy to see why the magnificent Castelgrande was an important military stronghold: it sits high above the city of Bellinzona on a natural island of granite in the heart of a major pass at the southern end of the Alps. Archaeological finds have revealed that people lived there at least as far back as the Neolithic period (5500-5000 BC). The castle as we know it today was started circa 1242, and extensive building, expansion, and renovations continued on the site for 250 years. There are a few different ways to reach the castle: you can walk up the Salita Al Castelgrande or climb the steps from near the Piazza Collegianta. The most popular method is to take the elevator ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 12, 2005

Castelgrande
Piazza del Sole
Lugano, Switzerland

Collegiata dei SS. Pietro e Stefano

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Attraction

Collegiata dei SS. Pietro e Stefano Photo, Bellinzona, Switzerland
Quote:
If you come to Bellinzona by train, turn left out of the station onto the Via le Stazione, which will take you to the heart of the old city in less than 10 minutes' walk. Here you can explore the lovely Collegiata dei SS. Pietro e Stefano. The facade of the church is typical of Italian churches, with a relatively simple facing and limited ornamentation. Depending on the time of day and the light, the stones seem to change colors, giving depth to the carvings and statues. However, unlike the austere Protestant churches of the north, the Collegiata is richly ornamented with baroque paintings, carvings, and statues. From the tile flooring to the vaulted ceilings, there is somet...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 12, 2005

Collegiata dei SS. Pietro e Stefano
Piazza Collegiata
Lugano, Switzerland 6500

Rabadan

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Attraction

Rabadan Photo, Bellinzona, Switzerland
Quote:
If you are looking for a European Mardi Gras, especially one that is family-friendly, look no farther than Bellinzona's Rabadan. For the week before Ash Wednesday, Bellinzona becomes "La città del carnevale," the "Carnival City." The Rabadan celebrations date back to 1862, and in fact, the word "rabadan" in the local dialect means "uproar" or "hubbub." During the "città del carnevale," the core of the old city is pedestrians-only, and people buy a pin that will give them access to many parties and activities around this area. There is even a competition held for people to submit designs for these pins, and they are considered collectibles. You can buy the pins onlin...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 13, 2005

Rabadan

Lugano, Switzerland
+41 91 825 08 05

Castelgrande and Old Town

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Attraction | "Bellinzona - Castelgrande and Old Town"

Castelgrande and Old Town Photo, Bellinzona, Switzerland
Quote:
Whether you have just a couple hours or a few days to spend in Bellinzona, there is a loop tour you can do that can take you as little as 90 minutes or the better part of the day, depending on how much time you spend at each location.From the main train station, turn left down the Viale Stazione. Across from the post office, turn right down Largo Elvezia. Walk one block to the Piazza del Sole - here you can see across the Piazza to Castelgrande, the large castle that rises above the center of the town.Cross the Piazza to the elevator for Castelgrande. The elevator takes you up to the eastern bailey of the castle, where you will enjoy ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 17, 2005

Castelgrande and Old Town
Loop Tours
Bellinzona, Switzerland

Palazzo Civico

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Attraction

Palazzo Civico Photo, Bellinzona, Switzerland
Quote:
In the German-speaking parts of Switzerland, the town hall is usually called the Rathaus; in the French-speaking sections, you may find it called the Municipo. Here in Bellinzona, it is known as Palazza Civico. This historic building was completely rebuilt in 1924 using the stone from the original building. The two oldest remnants of the original building were salvaged and can be viewed on either side of the entrance on the piazza side of the building. The building is quite striking and attractive on its exterior, but you need to walk inside to really appreciate the full beauty, where you can view the inner balconies. If you look closely you will note tha...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 17, 2005

Palazzo Civico
Via Camminata 2
Bellinzona, Switzerland 6501
+91 825 21 31

About the Writer

Sierra

Sierra
Chicago, Illinois