Observing the three castles from a distance you might think that they got there just by chance but a closer look at this small town, situated in the middle of the valley floor of the River Ticino, which connects the Alps to Lake Maggiore, might make you reconsider. In fact, the capital developed around the fortress in the course of the centuries, acquiring a multicultural identity that derives from its enviable position and has determined its role as a pulsating cultural hub at the heart of Europe.
In the Bellinzona area, where routes to the St. Gotthard, the Luckmanier and the San Bernadino intersect, contrast is a source of vitality and culture, albeit accompanied by respect for tradition. There is an ongoing dialogue between the medieval architecture of the fortifications (World Heritage site) and the old town with its many ancient monuments, and contemporary works by eminent architects of our times; works which have enhanced the town centre and the entire region. Bellinzona’s noisy and colourful market has survived for centuries and now continues to exist side by side with major scientific research centres. Numerous galleries, museums and theatres guarantee a lively cultural scene and are constantly in competition with the squares where openair events and the most famous Carnival in Ticino bring life to the ancient quarters of the old town centre.
The silence offered by ancient churches and libraries provide a contrast with the many and varied sports events on offer. Whether you choose to enjoy the delicacies of haute cuisine or prefer to sample the traditional, simpler fare of a “grotto”, the food on your plate and the wine in your glass will have been produced locally. It is this fascinating mosaic of contrasts and shades that has made Bellinzona worthy of its recognition as a World Heritage Site.