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SWITZERLAND BY RAIL - REGIONS

TICINO - FALL 2012

Ticino is the southernmost region of Switzerland where Italian is the language and much of the cultural influence, with its main cities, Lugano, Locarno and Bellinzona. There is always something going on this beautiful land of mountains and castles which nestles the lake of Como and Maggiore. Here are some of the happenings and events for the fall of 2012.


Swiss Cheese Awards
Bellinzona - September 27-30
An “Oscar” for Swiss Cheese? For the first time in their history, the Swiss Cheese Awards are extending beyond the Alps into the southern canton. The prestigious international cheesy competition will be held this years in Bellinzona, and is expected to host more than 20,000 devoted cheese lovers and avid gourmets who are interested in tasting the best that Switzerland dairy culture has to offer. As well as sampling of zesty cheeses, the various varieties cheeses on display will be for sale.. Bellinzona will be packed with stands offering hard and soft cheeses from all over the country.

Ticino – Land of Chestnuts
Ascona - October 6 - 13
Bellinzona ChestnutFor centuries the Chestnut (or Maroni) used to be the one and only winter time dish in Ticino. The rule of thumb was that 500 kilos had to be collected so that an adult person could survive the cold season. To this day one in every five trees in in the hillsides of Ticino is a chestnut tree. In the autumn locals can still be found out and about gathering the fallen spiny pods. From a culinary point of view, the fruit has experienced a true revival and chestnuts can be found as an ingredient in many products, from marmalade to cakes, candies, pasta, and even beer! Celebrate the nutty symbol during the autumn fairs in autumn such as the Sagra delle Castagne in Ascona.

Taste of the Onsernone Valley
Loco - September 9, 2012
Farina bóna is the name of an ever more popular specialty of the Onsernone Valley. The product produced by grinding roasted corn was traditionally mixed and eaten only with water, milk or bilberries. Today the farina bóna is used in a variety of dishes, from the dough of short crust cakes to ice cream. These and many other culinary highlights can be tasted at the traditional Farina bóna festival which takes place on the 9th of September in Loco.

World’s Longest Street Market
Bellinzona-Giubiasco - September 2, 2012
Did you know that the Ticino’s largest piazza can be found in Giubiasco? The little village’s Piazza Grande runs 2,350 meters from the Piazza Collegiata, the main square of Bellinzona main. On the 2nd of September the two squares will be connected by market stalls all along the streets in between. Every year the Strada in festa attracts thousands of visitors to what could be the world’s longest market, the book of world records have yet to comment.

Merlot – the Wine of Ticino
Mendrisio - September 28-30, 2012
A full three-quarters of the Merlot grapes of Ticino are grown in Mendrisiotto, so it should be no surprise in the southernmost tip of Switzerland they celebrate the grape harvest in great style. The last weekend of September, a “wine mania” reigns in the main town of Mendrisio. During the grape festival, visitors to the Magnifico Borgo (“magnificent town”) as it is referred to by the locals, can visit a series of marquees and courtyards where they can enjoy the local delicacies and musical entertainment – all while sipping a fine glass of Merlot vintage.

Lugano Autumn Festival
Lugano - October 5-7, 2012
Lugano’s fall festival held in early October traditionally marks the end of the outdoor season. Local cuisine and fine regional wines will be on offer in the grottini of many squares in the town’s picturesque pedestrian center. Apart from indulging in the fine food and wine, visitors can also enjoy a feast of sights and sounds, thanks to performances from local musicians and artists.

One-Hour Tour through Miniature Switzerland
Melide
Miniatur Switzerland MelideSo, traveling all across Switzerland would take a few weeks and an unlimited rail pass? At the Swissminiatur of Melide you can see the whole country in about an hour. Over 120 sights of Switze3rland are reproduced exactly on a 1:25 scale. Miniature trains in precise detail represented include the Matterhorn-Gotthard Express and the newest attractions are the Glacier Express and a complex of buildings from the village of Elm in Canton Glarus.

Four River Springs Trail
Airolo
The Four Springs Trail is an impressive hike through the Gotthard massif to the sources of four major rivers of Switzerland - the Rhine, the Reuss, the Rhone and the Ticino, which flow on through four different countries. The trail leads in five stages through magnificent Alpine scenery, home to marmots and chamois, across moors and high pastures. Each river source is the destination of a day-hike with start and finish points reached by public transport.

New Visitors Center – The Secrets of Monte San Giorgio
Meride - October 3, 2012
The beauty of the scenery around the 1,097-meter high Monte San Giorgio might provide its status as a UNESCO World Heritage, with mountain peaks like pyramids, deep blue lakes and picturesque villages, but it’s the hidden treasures underground which make it really unique. Fossils, some of which are 230 million years old. This fall a new visitor center, designed by Ticino’s star architect Mario Botta, opens in Meride to showcase some of the 10,000 finds unearthed to date

200 Year Promise
Bellinzona-Lottigna 2012
The defeat at Berezina on 28 November 1812 marked the end of Napoleon’s Russian campaign. Troops from the Blenio Valley also fought on the French side. Before the battle, the locals swore that if they ever came home again, they would celebrate their survival every year with a military parade in honor of God. They kept their word! On its 200th anniversary, the Milizie Napoleoniche will once again invade Bellinzona, but the local museum in Lottigna presents an exhibition providing information about the continuing practice, which should be included in the UNESCO World Heritage list of living traditions.

Tribute to Pier Francesco Mola
Rancate - Coldrerio
Pier Francesco Mola, born in 1612, was one of the great artists of the 17th century. The Pinacoteca Züst art gallery in Rancate (Mendrisio) will be exhibiting his paintings, some on show for the first time, as well as pictures from private collections, through 13 January 2013. Frescoes by Mola can be found in Venice and Rome, but also in his birthplace Coldrerio, in southernmost Switzerland. The artist immortalized himself with a self-portrait fresco, found in the newly-restored Chiesa della Madonna del Carmelo.

Baroque Gem Restored
Riva San Vitale
After a five-year restoration, the Santa Croce church in Riva San Vitale on Lake Lugano has a new look. The church, consecrated in 1599, was commissioned by the Della Croce family from Ticino. The origins of the plans for this Baroque masterpiece with its imposing dome are unclear, though some clues point to Carlo Maderno (1556-1629). The master builder, born in Capolago, a neighboring village of Riva San Vitale, most famous for having designed the façade of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Lugano Museum of Art - Window on the World
Lugano - September 16, 2012 – January 6, 2013
In art, a window is an element which plays an important role in creating perspective. Lugano’s Museo d’Arte offers a large exhibition to this topic. Entitled “A Window on the World: from Dürer to Mondrian and beyond”, the event will feature works by De Chirico, Klee, Matisse, Bonnard, Magritte and Monet.

Lugano Casino - 100 years of Roulette - 36 hours of Poker
Lugano – November 2012
Lugano’s Casino is now a hundred years old. In order to support the city’s reputation as a resort of international renown, the local theater company applied for a gaming license at the turn of the 19th century. Opening in 1912, the ball started rolling in 1912. It was actually a game called Boule, not the lawn variety, but similar to today’s Roulette. To celebrate the 100th anniversary, in November of 2012, the casino will organize a poker tournament, where some of the world’s best gamblers will take part. The culture museum - Museo delle Culture - will also present an exhibition on the history of gambling.

Youth Film Festival
Bellinzona - November 17-24, 2012
Bellinzona’s international youth film festival held among the castles, Castellinaria was founded in1988 and is entirely focused on young people. Each year there are two competitions - one for short films and another for feature length movies. The Castellinaria focuses on encouraging the exchange between different cultures.

Ice Skating - Pirouettes on the Piazza Grande .
Locarno - November 29, 2012 – January 6, 2013
During the cold months the picturesque square at the heart of Locarno which during the summer hosts the Locarno Film Festival and the Moon and Stars music concert series turns into a romantic ice rink in Locarno on Ice. The skating and twirling will be to the beat of Jazz concerts organized by JazzAscona. Just like during the summer, but asking the question how does a Jazz trmpetre play with gloves on?

Christmas Market - Mulled Wine by Candlelight.
Lugano - December 1, 2012 to January 6 2013
Lugano Chritmas marketThe switch of the lights on the big Christmas tree in the Piazza Riforma in Lugano will be flipped at 5:30 pm on the first of December, marking the opening of the Ice Rink and the annual Christmas Market in the center of Lugano. Open to 8:00 p.m. every evening, over 150 stalls offer a wide range of food and crafts delights, as well as culture, wellbeing, and antiques. The festive atmosphere will be complimented by a series of jazz concerts entitled “Christmas in Jazz”.

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