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Why is Ticino Switzerland’s favourite Easter destination?

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Why is Ticino Switzerland’s favourite Easter destination?
A quaint Ticino town overlooking Lago Maggiore. Image by Jonathan Reichel from Pixabay

Like every year at this time, traffic jams are forming on the roads leading to Ticino. The reason is that many residents of other Swiss regions like to spend this holiday in the Italian-speaking canton. Here's why.


Each Easter, Switzerland’s southern-most canton experiences an influx of tourists from other Swiss areas, seeking Ticino’s sun, warmth, and an ambience that is totally different from the country’s other regions.

This year will be no different, so the national railway, SBB, is adding 49 trains to circulate between the Swiss-German part of the country and the Italian-speaking canton.

As it lies close to Italy, with which it shares a border, Ticino has a distinctly Mediterranean feel — including palm trees — and a laid-back vibe that is rare in many other Swiss cantons (especially the German-speaking ones).

As some here often point out, “Ticino is just like Italy, only cleaner.”

And precisely because of its proximity to Italy — in fact, until the 16th century the region belonged to the Duchy of Milan — cultural differences abound between Ticino and other cantons. Some of them have been described in this article:
READ MORE: Polentagraben: The invisible barrier separating Switzerland

But there are others as well.

For instance, in Switzerland’s unofficial cultural hierarchy, each linguistic region is believed to have adopted the mentality and attitudes of the countries they border.

Thus, Swiss Germans are considered to be most efficient and organised and Ticino residents the least, with French-speaking regions falling in the middle.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Swiss Italian, Switzerland's third language

So what attracts people from other cantons to Ticino?

There are a number of things:


Other than the things mentioned above — laid-back Mediterranean vibe and vegetation —  the canton has, possibly because of its southerly location, a milder climate than other parts of Switzerland.

Weather is usually better south of the Alps than north.

Over the long Easter weekend, for instance, the forecast for Ticino calls for mostly sunny days, with temperatures reaching 19C. 

In other parts of Switzerland, meanwhile, temps will not exceed 15 to 17C.


Distinct design

Unlike cantons north, west, and east to it, Ticino’s towns and villages have a  — yes — Mediterranean architecture, no doubt influenced by its southern neighbour.

There are lots of red-tiled terra cotta roofs, colourful buildings, wrought-iron, latticework balconies, and other typical features of the style.

Ticino's Mediterranean architecture (here the city of Lugano). Photo: Pixabay

For many Swiss, being in Ticino feels like vacationing in Italy — without leaving the country.

And speaking of architecture…

Many authentic Medieval stone buildings in the small, mountain-top villages of Verzasca valley provide a different, more rugged picture of the canton.

It just goes to prove that Ticino’s landscape is very diverse.

Verzasca Valley. Photo by Delia Giandeini on Unsplash


Typical regional food is different from other cantons’.

Though those unfamiliar with local specialties might assume they are similar to Italian food, that is not the case.

Typical Ticino dishes are polenta (hence the polentagraben reference) and risotto, both served in various styles, with the addition of mushrooms, vegetables, meat, or fish.

Meat sauce over polenta. Image by Sian Rose from Pixabay

The restaurants also have a different feel from those elsewhere in Switzerland.

Local taverns, the grottos, are quiet hideaway places, where tables are set in the shade of trees, and simple, local food and wine are served.



Ticino is dotted with a number of lakes, the two largest of which are Lago Maggiore and Lago Lugano.

The first one is divided between Ticino and the the Italian regions of Piedmont and Lombardy, and the latter one is situated between Maggiore and Lake Como in Italy.

Both settings are very picturesque and ferries provide many scenic sightseeing opportunities on both sides of the border.


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