Bellinzona, capital of Ticino, is famous for its 3 castles (UNESCO World Heritage Sites). It lies east of the Ticino River, at the foot of the Alps, with its impressive castles and battlements locking the valleys stretching down from Gotthard and Graubünden.


Bellinzona, the capital of Ticino, is famous for its three castles, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2000.

The city is located at the foot of the Alps and its impressive castles and endless ramparts lock in the valleys that descend from the Gotthard and Graubünden mountains. When one thinks of Ticino and its gentle way of life, one thinks above all of the Lake Maggiore (Locarno, Brissago...) and Ceresio (Lugano...) regions. We tend to forget Bellinzona, which forms a singular contrast with the holiday resorts located further south.

The castles of Castelgrande, Montebello and Sasso Corbaro once formed an impassable barrier on the north-south axis of the Alpine passes, and their endless ramparts are very well preserved and very impressive.

The bulk of the monumental complex dates back to the work done by the Dukes of Milan in the 15th century to deter Confederate warfare. Hey yes, contrary to what one might imagine, this incredible barrier was not built to defend Switzerland, but to protect the Duchy of Milan, threatened by the expansion of the Confederation!

In the past, these fortifications barred the entire valley and, with their walls, towers and gates, they still inspire wonder today, constituting a unique walking destination as long stretches of these ramparts are accessible, offering superb views of the city.

This guide features more places in the same region, check them out!
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