If you hear the words “Italian Switzerland,” you might picture Ticino first. However, Italian Switzerland does not only refer to Ticino. The southern part of Canton Graubünden is also Italian Switzerland. In this article, we’ll look at some of the best cities and towns to visit and discover in Italian Switzerland.
With alpine landscapes in the middle of Mediterranean climates, a unique blend of Swiss and Italian influences and cuisine, beautiful gardens, and charming villages, Italian Switzerland is a delight to discover.
Without further ado, here are some of the best cities and towns to visit in Italian Switzerland:
Bellinzona is one of the most popular destinations in Italian Switzerland. An incredibly beautiful and historically rich place, it has a lot to offer.
Bellinzona is a town famous for its castles (Castelgrande, Montebello, Sasso Corbaro). The three castles, the defensive wall, and the ramparts of Bellinzona have been listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 2000. Bellinzona deserves a visit owing to its extensive medieval military architecture, its excellent state of conservation, and its historic influence in managing the whole Ticino valley.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Bellinzona|
* Sasso Corbaro
* Bellinzona’s Old Town
Lugano is one of the must-see places to visit in Italian Switzerland with its Renaissance frescoes on the walls of the Chiesa Santa Maria Degli Angeli Church, its crystal clear lake, and nearby Monte Brè. With more than 60,000 residents, Lugano is the largest city in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino. The city is compact, easily walkable, and filled with fantastic places to explore.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Lugano|
|* Church of Santa Maria Degli Angeli|
* LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura
* Via Nassa
* Piazza della Riforma
* Palazzo Civico
* Catedrale San Lorenzo
* San Salvatore
* Monte Brè
If you would like to learn more about some places that you can visit near Lugano, you can check out our article 8 Best Day Trips From Lugano.
Poschiavo is a hidden gem in Italian Switzerland. Once you visit it, you will see that Poschiavo’s affinity with Italy is evident. A lot of the place’s characteristics are strongly influenced by Italy, including the food, the language, the architecture, and more. However, it is in Graubünden, Switzerland instead of Valtellina, Italy.
Among Graubünden’s most beautiful villages, Poschiavo has also been designated as a protected site. The village is filled with beautiful houses, churches, and narrow alleyways. Markets are held regularly in the town center. This beautiful town of Poschiavo in Switzerland is home to around 3,500 people.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Poschiavo|
|* Runchet da Sotsassa|
* Lago di Poschiavo
* Casa Tomé
* Palazzo de Bassus-Mengotti
* Alp Grüm and Palü Glacier
* Ospizio Bernina
If you would like to read more about Poschiavo, you can check out our article 9 Best Things To Do In Poschiavo, Switzerland.
Ascona is a picturesque seaside village with a lovely waterfront promenade and a charming old town. Today, it is one of the most visited places in Italian Switzerland.
The old town is filled with sights to see, such as the Chiesa dei SS Pietro e Paolo, Casa Serodine, Santa Maria della Misericordia, and others. If you have a little time, you can take a quick boat ride over to the Isole di Brissago.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Ascona|
|* Ascona’s Old Town|
* Santa Maria della Misericordia
* Monte Verità
* Isole di Brissago
Bregaglia in Graubünden is on the border with Italy, particularly Chiavenna Valley (Val Chiavenna in Italian). It is surrounded by the Masino-Disgrazia-Bregaglia group with the famous peaks of Piz Badile, Cengalo, and Sciora. While more mountainous than a lakeshore retreat, it is undeniably still one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italian Switzerland. It is part of the Maloja district together with well-known destinations in Upper Engadine such as St. Moritz, Pontresina, and Sils im Engadin.
Throughout the entire Bregaglia region, you can expect well-tended trails and fantastic mountain peaks.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Bregaglia|
* Palazzo Castelmur
* Palazzo Salis
* Chestnut forests of Castasegna
Perched on a sunny terrace 1,090 meters high is the village of Soglio, one of the most beautiful villages in Graubünden.
The town of Locarno is located in Ticino, on the northern edge of Lake Maggiore. Palms, pines, and chestnut trees surround this place, giving it a Southern flair. There is an abundance of subtropical flora, as well as cafes, frescoes in their churches, and swimming lidos. It is one of the best places to visit in Italian Switzerland.
Piazza Grande is a picturesque town square in Locarno, Madonna del Sasso is a well-known historical site, and the Cardada Cimetta mountain provides a breathtaking view of the region below.
Locarno is near some of Switzerland’s most beautiful valleys, including Valle Verzasca and Maggia Valley.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Locarno|
|* Lake Maggiore|
* Piazza Grande
* Madonna del Sasso
* Falconeria Locarno
* Valle Verzasca
* Cardada Cimetta Mountain
* Maggia Valley
If you would like to learn more about Locarno, you can check out our article Locarno: Top Ideas for a Long Weekend.
Final Thoughts: Italian Switzerland
Definitely one of the most interesting places to visit in our country, Italian Switzerland is a mix of Swiss and Italian cultures. You should definitely check out this region if you’re looking for mountains, rugged valleys, crystal-clear lakes, botanical gardens, and a cuisine that’s all its own. You might think the villages are in Italy, particularly northern Italy, but they are still very Swiss.
Almost all of the Swiss I know fall in love with this region and visit it again and again. It is definitely worth a visit, so don’t hesitate to do so. We have been to this place many times and will continue to do so.
In case you would like to discover the French and German-speaking parts of Switzerland, you can check out the following articles:
Related Posts: Italian Switzerland
- Bellinzona: Everything You Need To Know
- Locarno: Top Ideas for a Long Weekend
- Make the Most of a Long Weekend in Lugano
- Is Ascona Worth Visiting?
- 9 Best Things To Do In Poschiavo, Switzerland
- Cardada Cimetta Mountain: A Must-Visit Destination For Families
- 10 Best French Switzerland Cities and Towns to Explore
- 10 Best German Switzerland Cities and Towns to Explore
- 9 Best Cities To Visit In Switzerland
Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.