Lago Maggiore: the Italian flair in the Swiss Alps

Written by Susanne Gottlieb & Greta Lun

Reading time ~01:06 min.

Discover Ticino with GlobeAir

Dive into Switzerland's southernmost corner

Ticino, Switzerland’s southernmost corner, has always been a mixture of influences. A duality that also attracted the native South Tyrolean Claudio Caser, a man with an embracing smile, working as a concierge in Ascona. We met with Mr Caser and asked him to show us his favourite places around the area; here is what this feature is all about.

Our first impression is stunning: here at the northern shore of Lago Maggiore, the lush flora advances up the steep cliffs. Tiny stone villages are allotted along the shoreline. Due to the proximity to the Mediterranean, palm trees and cypresses spread up next to chestnut trees, making this region the “Florida of Switzerland”. On day one, Caser takes us on a hike to the alpine hut “Rifugio Al Legn”.

From here, we enjoy an incomparable 360-degree view above the lake.To get the full experience, there is the possibility to lodge overnight, watching the lake bend its way through the valley and the sunset behind the mountain tops. Maybe next time!

Returning from our hike, we stop by at a so-called Grotto, a small pub that invites hungry passers-by like us to take a rest. “Once they were used as storage rooms, over the centuries they developed into little taverns,” Claudio tells us. “These places range from arched stone caves to simple countryside houses.” The traditional snacks served are a real treat. We especially liked the goat cheese (büscion) and the roast hare (coniglio) with polenta.

Written by Susanne Gottlieb & Greta Lun

Reading time ~02:34 min.

A unique cusine

Culinary treasures in Ticino

To discover more culinary treasures and take some of them home, we visit a traditional market along the lake. Serving the typical products of the area, they are a meeting spot for the locals to purchase Ticino’s typical cheeses, salami and any product with chestnuts. Foodies can also buy the Valle Maggia bread, the biggest shape is called “la ruota” as it is as big as a car wheel. Unfortunately, it’s a bit too large for our baggage! Another speciality is the “Farina Bona”, a type of cornflour that is slightly roasted. Claudio lets us taste some Amaretti cookies which are made with it.

The GlobeAir pick

Exclusive things to do and see in Ticino

A cultural journey around Lugano and Lago Maggiore.

  • Mario Botta's San Giovanni Battista: Ticino's famous architect Mario Botta designed the church in the early 1990s. Grey Riveo granite and white Peccia marble from the region form its characteristic stripes. The elliptical building with its angular roof and chess pattern design is a stunning piece of architecture and a tourist favourite.
  • Piazza Grande: This is a must-see in Locarno, especially when the square turns into a movie theatre during the famous movie festival, or into a concert venue during the Moon&Stars Festival. To watch the shows from a table at Pizzeria Portico and enjoy a nice meal is a privilege and our fellow concierge Claudio Caser can make it happen for you – he just needs to show up to the venue in person!
  • Ponte dei salti: Over the year, this little gem with a Caribbean vibe has developed into an impressive attraction for Instagrammers. Located in the valley of Lavertezzo, a bumpy old stone bridge spans the green waters of the river Verzasca. Thanks to our concierge, we can suggest you the perfect spot close by a chapel.

Eating and drinking in Lugano

A culinary journey

Discover our top picks in Lugano and Lago Maggiore.

  • Ecco Restaurant, Hotel Giardino: Once Europe's youngest 2-Michelin-starred chef, Rolf Fliegauf has developed his cooking style from molecular into a more puristic approach where every ingredient retains its original flavour. The French based, creative dishes are all about appealing textures and well-balanced acidity. Today, Fliegauf is one of Switzerland’s most decorated chefs, holding 6 stars, since he heads another ECCO in St. Moritz and recently opened one in Zurich.
  • Osteria Borei, Brissago: Are you ready to taste the best risotto in the area? The hike up the mountain may be tiring but is rewarded with an amazing view. This osteria offers many typical dishes, like the braised beef, roast veal, horse filet, roasted potatoes and vegetables. Claudio Caser can arrange fo you to take a helicopter ride and arrive there in style for 500 francs.

Exclusive tours

Only with GlobeAir

Our concierge Claudio Caser opens up the doors to your exclusive tours.

  • Madonna del Sasso: The pilgrimage church is home to a beautiful historic library – but it is not open for visitors since it is located in the private living area of the Padres. Claudio Caser can make a call to Padre Paolo and arrange a private tour. The oldest handwritten volume dates from the 14th century.
  • Lago Maggiore: Maro Meier, the founder of the sailing school Asconautica, has seen all the stars and starlets living alongside the lake – another great recommendation from Claudio Caser. Going on a boat trip with him means learning the history of Lago Maggiore and a little secret or two.

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