Although our main reason for going to Ticino was to see the Chestnut Festival in Ascona, however, since we were staying at the youth hostel in Locarno, this allowed us to do some sightseeing of the town of Locarno, which is also situated on the shore of the beautiful lake Maggiore (which is shared between Switzerland and Italy).
As mentioned in the previous post, the hubby and I had been to Locarno twice before … each time on a day excursion. And since we have always liked the place, we were looking forward to exploring other parts of Locarno which we had not been to. In particular, knowing how much this wife of his lurrrrve plants and flowers … the hubby was thinking of taking me to the islands of Brissago (Isole di Brissago), which are located near Ascona (but not that far either from Locarno), home to a famous botanical park in the canton of Ticino.
But sometimes, thing does not always work out according to plan. In the end, instead of heading to Isole di Brissago, we ended going to Italy! Well .. as some of you might have come to realise from reading some of my earlier sharings of our trips … travelling with the hubby is almost always full of surprises … as our itineraries are seldom fixed! Buttttt … that is what makes it interesting lah! hehehe …
Anyway, here are some shots of our short stay in the beautiful town of Locarno (feel free to click on the photos for larger prints or to move the pointer of your mouse on any picture to display background information) …
Locarno, not long after we had arrived at the train station … and making our way to the youth hostel … which is supposed to be about 15 minutes walk from the train station. The beautiful lake Maggiore (Lago Maggiore in Italian) is just further ahead.
Piazza Grande (Grand Square) … where the famous Locarno International Film Festival has been held every August since 1946. During the festival that lasts for more than a week, an open air screening is held in this very piazza … which can accommodate more than 8,000 spectators!
I have to admit the atmosphere was quite different when we were here in 2008 during the festival. But we did not come here to attend the Film Festival lah … it was only to meet up with a colleague friend of mine who was here for that very purpose! Lucky him! And even though we were here only for an afternoon, I could feel the excitement of the festival in this town! 🙂
The same piazza … the next morning when we made our way to the lakeside and to the train station. I must say that the different colours of the buildings here and the almost uninterrupted alignment of arcades that run along the northern side of the piazza with the hills in the background are certainly features that stand out ... I loikeee it!! 🙂
What is left of the palazzo of Castello Visconteo … located just after the Piazza Grande. This castle was the former residence of a famous Italian family who used to rule over Milan from the 13-15th century, the Visconti … but now houses the Archeological Museum.
The impressive fortifications of Castello Visconteo, dating back to the 14 or 15th centuries (which had replaced older ramparts, as the castle is believed to have been started in 998). For those who would be interested, this castle can be rented for private events, I have read.
And since we are members of the Swiss youth hostels (even though we have left our youth quite sometime ago, unfortunately, hehehe …) we therefore chose to stay at a youth hostel. However, unlike the old and traditional building that we stayed in at Klosters, the youth hostel here is housed in quite a modern looking building. It so happens that our room was the one with the orange awning partly rolled down. 🙂
The reception area … which is very spacious and clean. And since it is autumn, pumpkins were therefore featured in their table top displays … both on the coffee table near where the hubby was sitting as well as beside the reception counter!
Even though we were staying at a hostel … privacy is still a must lah! So, we normally request for a double or twin room … preferably one with a toilet and shower! Thankfully, since the youth hostel in Locarno is quite new, they were able to provide such a room … phew!!
The next morning after checking out, we made our way down to the pier at the lakeside. The walk from the youth hostel to the pier was quite a nice one … especially when we saw snow on top of the mountains in the background. Very pretty.
Passing by rows of table which had been placed partly on the road … as they were being prepared and readied for an open day at the local casino.
Nearing the pier of Locarno … from where we could take a ferry …
… since we were thinking of going to Isole di Brissago! Quite a pretty lake view from the pier, no? The major part of Lago Maggiore (Lake Maggiore) is on the Italian side. So from here … it is not far to go into Italy.
A side view of Locarno from the pier … with two snow-covered mountain tops (Pizzo di Vogorno 2,442m and Poncione Rosso 2,505m) just behind.
After checking and considering the cost of the ferry trip to Isole de Brissago, the entry fee … and the time that we would be able to spend at the park before having to leave for home … we decided that maybe it would be better if we visited the park during another trip to the region. Instead, we agreed to make use of the day travel card that I had to travel further south … and stop by another popular lake town … but in Italy! So we left the pier and started walking along the promenade running along Viale Verbano … heading towards the train station.
The promenade along the lakeside … and as you can see from the waves, it was quite windy that morning.
The small harbour … with more mountains in the background. I must say that this landscape is as impressive as Le Grammont and its sisters if we compare it with the setting we are used to back home in Lausanne.
A nice lake, palm trees, green hills and some snow-capped mountains … what more could you ask of a landscape, no?
In spite of the chilly wind, there were a number of people who strolled along the promenade (even though it might not seem so on the pictures we took). We actually sat here for quite some time while we admired the landscape and, as usual, … did a bit of people watching … hehehe … it was very relaxing and highly pleasurable, I can tell you that! 🙂
And again, a very simple but colourful display of pumpkins as we made our way towards the train station from the lakeside promenade. After checking the train schedule and realising that we had more than enough time to do more sightseeing in the area before the train would depart, we proceeded to do just that.
There are some lovely buildings to be seen in the streets up of Piazza Grande, in the old town (Città Vecchia).
Casa Mariotti, built in 1750 and which has belonged to the Mariotti family since 20 December 1811. I guess the owners must have started to think about how to celebrate this bicentenary! 🙂
Another beautiful building in the old part of Locarno which I really like … but which unfortunately have not been able to identify.
Medieval European streets were often quite narrow … because there usually was little space left in the area enclosed by the city walls. But what I like about the streets here is the colourful buildings … just as in Piazza Grande.
One last view of the lake area before we made our way to the train station to catch our train to Como, Italy!