Historic Swiss Journeys

 Travel back into the past by car or aboard the Treno Gottardo, a VIP train trip along an ancient trade route that crosses the fantastical Gotthard Pass, a north south journey connecting the German speaking region of Uri to the Ticino, the Italian speaking area of Switzerland.

Prehistoric Pile Dwellings in the Alps

In 2011, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee added the remains of prehistoric pile-dwelling also known as stilt house settlements in and around six Alpine countries that were built from around 5,000 to 500 B.C. on the edges of lakes, rivers or wetlands to their list.

The sites provide glimpses into what life was like in prehistoric times during the Neolithic and Bronze Age in Alpine Europe as well as the way communities interacted with their environment. In an exciting new find, archaeologists diving in Lake Lucerne discovered pile dwellings from the Bronze Age.

Exploring Roman History           

Augusta Raurica near Augst/Kaiseraugst, a 2000-year-old settlement on the southern bank of the Rhine, is located near the beautiful city of Basel. Named after the Celtic Rauriker tribe and the Roman Emperor Augustus, the city at its peak had a population of around 20,000 with workshops, commercial enterprises, taverns, temples and public baths closely strung together. Because no new towns were established during the Middle Ages or our modern area, Augusta Raurica is amazingly  well-preserved.

Visitors can view the myriad of wonders discovered here like the largest silver treasure dating from Late Antiquity, a Roman domestic animal park with ancient animal species, and the architectural remnants of the city, the museum offers great insights into the daily lives of the people who lived here around the time of Christ’s birth.

1821—Napoleon’s End

On May 5 was the 200th anniversary of the death of Napoleon I on the island of St. Helena, where he was placed in exile. His stepdaughter Hortense des Beauharnais also lived in exile at Arenenberg Castle and Napoleon Museum in Switzerland.

As the only German-speaking museum on Napoleonic history, a special exhibition during the “Année Napoléon 2021” will take place from October 10-24, 2021, showing the long lasting influence of Napoleon on Switzerland even today.

Inventing Milk Chocolate

Food and beverages reflect a country’s culinary traditions and customs. Many of today’s Swiss cheese brands go back to the 12th century, but Daniel Peter’s much newer creation in 1875 really took the world by storm—a passion that continues today. Peter was able to solve the problem of how to combine chocolate and milk. Most Swiss cities offer chocolate tours and several chocolate brands features visitor experiences.

Newly Restored LGBT Pioneer’s Spectacular Painting Returns to Monte Verità

After a lengthy restoration, the super large circular painting “Il Chiaro Mondo dei Beati” or “The Clear World of the Blessed”  by Estonian artist and LGBT pioneer Elisàr von Kupffer (1872-1932) is on display at the Monte Verità museum complex located in southern Switzerland near Ascona.


Instead of destroying more than one hundred historic buildings, many of them farmhouses, were instead carefully taken dismantled and rebuilt at the Ballenberg Swiss Open-Air Museum.

The museum is nestled in the beautiful pastoral landscape of the Bernese Oberland and can be reached by bus from Brienz. The many hands-on activities were created to provide insight in old traditional crafts like forging, weaving, and herbal medical treatments

From Zürich to Lugano in Under Two Hours: From Winter to Time in the Mediterranean Sun on Lake Lugano

Copyright Lugano Region © Enrico Boggia

The charming Ticino region is a well-kept secret for travelers in the know wanting to escape winter’s cold. But that’s likely to soon change with with the opening of the Ceneri Base Tunnel this December. Train times between Zürich and Lugano are now less than two hours making a trip to this magical Italian-speaking region of Switzerland within an easy reach of the North.. 

Lugano, the largest town in Ticino, is located in the very heart of breathtaking mountain and lake landscapes, and offers year-round a fascinating mix of culture, cuisine and Mediterranean joie de vivre.Curretnly, a selection of hotels are offering special deals with a 20 percent discount on the daily rate, theme packages with overnight stays, and fixed price offers including dinner.Bookable through ticino.ch/ceneri
Flamel at Hotel Luganodante. Photo courtesy of Hotel Luganodante.

Hotel LUGANODANTE dazzles with its new design

The 4-star Hotel LUGANODANTE, located right at the center of Lugano has a colorful urban stylewith public areas that create an ambience of an open living room looking out onto city living. The 85 rooms and suites, as well as the lounge and conference room, have been decorated to reflect the pleasant and soothing color hues of the lake and surrounding landscape. In the newly opened Flamel restaurant, the Maci brothers wow diners with an innovative gastro concept that blends Italian and French cuisine and offers – in keeping with the French alchemist Nicolas Flamel’s name – a unique flavor experience. www.luganodante.com

Hotel Luganodante. Photo courtesy of Hotel Luganodante.
Monte Brè –An excursion above the roofs of Lugano now also available in winter
The Monte Brè and Monte San Salvatore are two majestic local mountains that are now accessible during the holiday season aboard a historic funicular. Over a half-mile high, Monte Brè is considered Switzerland’s sunniest mountain. Both mountains offer stunning panoramic views of Lake Lugano and the surrounding snowy peaks.
Funicular Mount Bre. Photo courtesy of Funicalar Mount Bre.

Dario Ranza, Kuechenchef, Ristorante Ciani, Lugano. copyright by http://www.steineggerpix.com / photo by remy steinegger
Il Forziere del Vino – Tastings in a sublime Wine Cellar
The luxury hotel Splendide Royal Lugano is home to the stunning Forziere del Vino (“wine safe”), which houses a real treasure – some 500 of the world’s very best wines. The guardian of the safe is Simone Ragusa, a Swiss Master Sommelier in 2015. The stunning Wine Cellar is ideal for enjoying first-class culinary experiences and wine tastings with Ragusa who shares his deep knowledge of the best vini of Ticino and other top-class international wines, also provides insider information about the wines and their producers. Oenophiles up for the challenge are invited to participate in an evening of blind tasting: four different wines are paired with food and answer questions about what they’re drinking.. At the end of the evening, one of the guests is crowned “Sommelier of the Evening”.
Hotel Splendide Royal, Lugano.
Both photos courtesy of Hotel Splendide Royal, Lugano.

Exhibition at the MASI Palazzo Reali – Ticino in the Tide of Change

The Museo d’arte della Svizzera italiana (MASI) will continue to show the monographic exhibition “Ticino in the Tide of Change” in the Palazzo Reali January 10, 2021. Showcasing the work of local photographer Vincenzo Vicarni (1911-2007), the exhibition features more than 100 black-and-white and color photos he took of Ticino from 1936 and 1987. It’s a wonderful way to see how Ticino changed and its inhabitants adapted from the agricultural post-war years to the more urban Ticino of the 1980s. www.masilugano.ch

Da Vinci Experience – Dive into the world of Leonardo da Vinci

From 03.12.20 – 21.02.2021, the Centro Esposizioni Conza in Lugano is featuring a new interactive multimedia exhibition called the “Da Vinci Experience”. Bringing da Vinci’s story, art and inventions to life in multimedia format that includes projections and virtual realities, takes visitors on a sensory journey as they learn about his greatest inventions. In the Inventions Room, visitors interact with many of da Vinci’s original works reproduced in full scale. The Immersive Room is an extensive cinematic experience projecting a series of images and videos of da Vinci’s best artistic works and scientific inventions. The third room – the Oculus Room – houses eight 3D virtual reality stations with VR glasses where visitors navigate, by a virtual paddle boat or flying the roofs, of Renaissance Florence.  davinciexperience.ch

Copyright DaVinci Experience
Carta MAM – five museums in the Mendrisiotto come together in one ticket
At the southern tip of Lake Lugano lies the Mendrisiotto, a region which is not only rich in rolling hills and flourishing vineyards producing the best wine, but also a wide range of different cultural experience including the Carta MAM of the Musei d’Arte del Mendrisiotto (MAM) network. This consists of five different museums: the M.A.X. Museo in Chiasso, the Museo d’arte Mendrisio, the Museo Vincenzo Vela in Ligornetto, the Pinacoteca Cantonale Giovanni Züst in Rancate and the Teatro dell’architettura in Mendrisio. Visitors purchasing a ticket at any of the five museums also will be given the Carta MAM which provides a discount for the other museums and their gift shops. ! www.museidartemendrisiotto.ch

Nuova Segnaletica in Piaazza del Ponte a Mendrisio (FOTO FIORENZO MAFFI)
Lugano ex Convento Santa Maria degli Angioli
Copyright Ticino Turismo – Foto Loreta Daulte

Grand Cafè al Porto – Lugano’s living room since 1803

The narrow alleyway Via Pessina in the old town of Lugano is home to the Grand Cafè al Porto, a café dating back as 1803. A gathering place for the literati, artists and politicians, it is still to this day referred to as the salotto (English: living room) of Lugano.
The jewel in the crown of the Grand Café al Porto is the Cenacolo Fiorentino on the first floor, formerly a monastery dining hall with stunning 16the century wooden ceiling and wall frescoes thought to have be created by Florentine painter Carlo Bonafedi. In more modern times, In March 1945 Cenacolo Florentino was the setting for Operation Sunrise, a secret meeting between German officers and representatives of the Allied powers that resulted in the surrender of German troops in North Italy and shortening the Second World War by several days. The Hall is now available for private engagements.  www.grand-cafe-lugano.ch
Grand Cafe al Porto di Lugano. Copyright by Grand Cafe al Porto / Photo by Remy Steinegger HDR-Image

Photo courtesy of Gabbani.
Gabbani – tradition and innovation
The Gabbani delicatessen in the very heart of the old town of Lugano offers the best in fresh fruit and vegetables, regional cheese specialties, selected charcuterie products, the finest bread and sweet pastries as well as the great wines. The Gabbani name is synonymous with freshness, quality and tradition since 1937 when butcher Domenico Gabbani set up his delicatessen Via Pessina. His son, Lino succeeded him and since 2010, his sons Domenico and Francesco Gabbani have carried on the family tradition. In 2020, they established a boutique hotel, restaurant , wine bar, coffee bar and delicatessen stand on the Piazza Cioccaro.

The hotel has 14 stylishly designed rooms, each with the name of the different type of food upon which the room’s color palette is created. The latest innovation from the Gabbani family is the Ikobani Roof Bar & Restaurant on the fourth floor of the hotel. It serves traditional Japanese cuisine, ranging from classic temaki to fresh sashimi and special dishes such as Kaisen salad, fried fish in Nanban, the house ramen soup and many other traditional Japanese dishes. www.gabbani.com
Ristorante La Serra – a greenhouse with a twist

Located beyond the town’s borders, Ristorante La Serra or, in English, The Greenhouse is housed in an actual greenhouse now transformed into a cozy modern restaurant owned by Mara Bertelli, a yoga teacher. Their the motto “local food, global taste” translates into a menu packed with culinary creations from across the world but based heavily on regional, seasonal ingredients. In addition to the restaurant, there is also a lab which holds cooking classes, yoga lessons and other creative workshops. www.laserra.ch
Copyright Alina Smit – Ristorante La Serra
Restaurant Ciani – the address for gourmets in Lugano’s green oasisThe destination for any gourmet in Lugano is the Restaurant Ciani, where Head Chef Dario Ranza dishes are based on local ingredients and recipes including pasta, risotto and fish. The 15 Gault & Millau points awarded to the restaurant show is indicative of its quality and creativity. Situated at the edge of the Parco Ciani – the town’s green oasis – guests can enjoy stunning views of nature and the historic Villa Ciani while enjoying the restaurant’s modern and elegant design including its lounge, wine bar and large terrace.   www.cianilugano.ch

For more information:
Ticino Turismo
Via C. Ghiringhelli 7
CH – 6501 Bellinzona
T +41 (0)91 825 70 56