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Bellinzona is a city in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Ticino, at the foot of the Alps and traversed by the Ticino River. It preserves its medieval atmosphere while offering modern services.
By carMotorways A2 and A13 are the main roads connecting the city. The A2 heads north through the Gotthard Pass to Lucerne, Basel and over the border with Germany, as well as south towards Lugano and on to Italy. The A13 heads north-east towards Austria, passing the San Bernardino pass and Chur.
By trainBellinzona is also conveniently connected by the Gotthard railway, and is a standard stop for many intercity trains between Zurich, Lugano, Chiasso and Locarno. Regional services here are operated by TiLo and connect the town to the nearest airport (Milan-Malpensa (MXP)), and to Biasca and many other destinations.
By busPlenty of bus services can be found at the train station. They're operated by PostBus Switzerland and offer alternative ways to travel to a range of destinations in the region.
In 2000, the Castles of Bellinzona were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
phone: +41 91 825 59 06The castle dominates the town 462 meters up the hill. It was built in only six months in 1479 as the highest fortification in Bellinzona.
phone: +41 91 825 13 42The most picturesque of the three. Probably built in the 13th century and restored in the 1970s, the Montebello Castle is a spectacular example of a medieval castle and houses a very interesting civic and archeological Museum.
phone: +41 91 825 81 45Remodeled in the last years by Aurelio Galfetti with bold architectural solutions, among which the elevator in the rock and the helicoidal ramp to reach the summit directly from the Piazza Mario della Valle. There is a historical Museum in one wing of the castle, with an architectural section as well as an artistic-historical one. In the south building, there is an elegant restaurant with its annexed wine cellar where almost all of Ticino's wine production can be tasted.
Monastero di Santa MariaIn the northern part of the city, the monastery is build in the top of an hill. From there there's a view on the Riviera valley and the northern part of the city. You can reach the monastery by walking (on an ancient trail in the wood) from the neighbourhood of Claro (it takes 25-30 minutes) or by car (following the mountain road that lead to the monastery). Anyway, by car you should pay 10.- to reach the monastery, at the barrier situated at the beginning of the mountain road.
Ponte della TorrettaAn historic broken bridge, surrounded by a park long the river. There are some public grill-places around it, that can be used in the summer.
address: Castione-ArbedoBeach bar, where the Moesa river from Graubünden joins the Ticino River, which gave the canton its name. Only open in Summer. Drinks, music, possibility to barbecue and swim. Beware of the strong current and the cold water.
Giardinoaddress: Via OricoHidden ristorante/pizzeria frequented by locals offering good quality medium-priced Italian cooking only 7 minutes walk from the main train station.
phone: +41 91 825 43 33address: Piazza Stazione 35
phone: +41 91 825 37 92address: viale Stazione 29
- There is a possibility to stay in old historical houses at the Humanità Hostel in Cabbiolo, about 25 km from Bellinzona. +41 91 830 14 81,
phone: +41 91 825 15 22address: Via Nocca 4This youth hostel is located in the building of an old boarding school.