Visit The World At Home - Episode Six: Ticino - Also Known As Switzerland´s Sunny Living Room
If you long for Italian Holidays - like I do - the best compensation you can get is Ticino, that Swiss canton bordering Italy. It´s almost Mediterranean deep down in its heart and soul.
When I was young, I spent holidays at picturesque Lago Maggiore, but I used to know the Italian part much better back then, because my family had their summer house in a small village near Luino for almost thirty-five years, and later on one of our best friends baught a historic farm house in the hills above Maccagno. The Swiss side, famous for its International Film Festival in Locarno as well as the glamorous Ascona sidewalks and romantic restaurants at the Maggia Valley, I only learned to know much later in life.
Last week we went to Lugano, more precisely to a little village at the foot of famous mountain "Monte Brè" with its mind blowing views and artistic history. Gandria sticks to the shore of the lake, you have to leave your car at one of the rare parking lots at the main street up hill and walk down to the hotel - at least, as long as there are no boats going back and forth from Lugano to Gandria.
But the place is worth every step, as many of them and as steep as they might be.
We took one of the three rooms at the single open hotel " Locanda Gandriese" - willing to share a bathroom with the other two rooms, but we were the only guests; the views from two large windows were stunning enough to reward every inconvenience.
The hotel has also a beautiful terrace towards the border to Italy where you watch the sun set while enjoying excellent Ticinese cooking, like a perfect Risotto or a freshly caught grilled fish.
As long as it is not too hot don't miss the scenic walk form Gandria to Castagnola, it is called "Olivenweg", but you will see all kind of Mediterranean plants along the hike, underlining this wonderful feeling of being right in the South.
You will also pass by another little Albergo we might book next time, with its private beaches, boats and more rooms with adjusted bathrooms. The "Elvezia al Lago", normally open from March every year, was still closed due to Corona - but when you have a closer look, you can see the opening date - 1.6.20 - is arriving very soon now.
What felt to me like the silver lining at the horizon of travelling again.
Maybe not that far away as we used to go, but still into another world.