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IMAGES: GETTY; ALAMY


WEEKENDER


Pastel-coloured buildings lining Ascona’s waterfront promenade


TICINO’S BEST Festivals


FOR MUSIC LOVERS


Lugano’s Estival Jazz festival sees famous and up-and- coming jazz musicians — along with pop, rock,


blues and world music artists — from around the globe


performing in free, open-air concerts in Piazza della Riforma. (9-11 July).


FOR FILM BUFFS


The Locarno Film Festival has a focus on offbeat


themes and global, young and female filmmakers.


Alfresco screenings take place every night in the magnificent Piazza Grande,


which can hold approximately 8,000 spectators. (5-15 August 2020).


DAY TWO ASCONA & LOCARNO


MORNING Just 30 minutes from the Italian border, Switzerland’s lowest- lying town, Ascona, has a laid-back feel. Take a stroll along the picturesque waterfront, lined with pastel-coloured buildings, and enjoy an espresso overlooking the glittering blues of Lake Maggiore. Get closer to the water on a standup paddleboard or on a sailing lesson with Asconautica or take a boat trip to Ticino’s treasured botanical garden on the twin Brissago Islands, thick with subtropical trees and blooms.


AFTERNOON Grotto restaurants are a key part of Ticinese food culture, and lunch at Ascona’s Grotto Baldoria means feasting at communal tables on simple but delicious dishes, including charcuterie, polenta, risotto and stews. Work it off with a hike up Monte Verità (‘mountain of truth’), home to a tea plantation, a Japanese-style tea house and Casa Anatta Museum, dedicated to a group of anarchists, vegetarians, nature enthusiasts and free-love advocates who set up a co-operative here in the early 20th century.


EVENING Back at Ascona’s lakeshore, drink in the sunset with an Aperol spritz or glass of local wine at the Sea Lounge in the old port. Pair it with a sandwich or salad, or for a splurge head to La Brezza, Hotel Eden Roc’s Michelin-star restaurant. The four- to seven-course tasting menus offer delicious dishes such as Mediterranean red mullet with fennel and couscous, and ravioli with braised roe deer shank and Jerusalem artichoke. If time, plan an evening treatment at the hotel spa — the ideal spot for R&R.


FOR PARTY ATMOSPHERE At Bellinzona’s Rabadan — Switzerland’s second-


largest carnival — expect lots of parades, brass


bands, street theatre and


late nights. It all kicks off on Maundy Thursday, when the


(symbolic) keys to the city are handed over to the ‘king’ (the carnival leader) for five nights. (February 2021 dates TBC).


May/Jun 2020 41


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