The Charming Destination of Bellinzona, Switzerland
The town of Bellinzona, in Switzerland, might not be the biggest and most popular with tourists, but it is also these facts that make the town the perfect destination. Without the overcrowded streets, bustle of city life and thousands of visitors trying to find their way, Bellinzone is filled with historic charm, original and unique gifts and a peacefulness that rejuvenates the mind and soul. Its beauty is beyond compare, the people are friendly, and is a treasure trove of historic buildings and a rich heritage.
In 2000, the three castles, Castelgrande, Castel Sasso Corbaro and Castle Montebello, located in Bellinzona were declared to be UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These magnificent structures are vital to the history of the town and of Switzerland. The town only became part of Switzerland, or the Swiss Federation, in 1516, and has many reminders in its architecture of its foreign influences. Beautiful courtyards, restored houses, neo-Classical buildings and breathtaking churches are scattered across the town, all amongst the luxury boutiques, cafés, shops and stores.
The three massive castles are not the only attractions in Bellinzona, as the town has a variety of festivals throughout the year and lively attractions such as the market that is held every Saturday at the Piazza Nosetto. Visitors will find the Old Town to be extremely nostalgic, complete with original wrought iron railings, stone gateways, signs and merchant homes that seem to be frozen in time. Art enthusiasts will find spectacular paintings from the nineteenth and twentieth century, both Italian and Swiss, displayed at the Villa dei Cedri municipal art gallery. The Italian Classical architecture found at the Teatro Social is also perfectly preserved and a sight to behold.
Events that have become attractions in their own right, include the traditional Rabadan Festival that has been celebrated in Bellinzona for more than a hundred and fifty years and takes place in February; while May becomes a month for romantics and lovers as the open air cinema brings film to life in the Castelgrande. In June, the rhythm of Bellinzona picks up a little with the Piazza Blues Festival, and the Bacchica Bellinzonese traditional wine festival brings music, festivities and great tasting wine to the town during September. More taste follows in October with the annual cheese market; whilst the Castellinaria Youth Film Festival in November sheds some attention on the youth. The Christmas Market in the Old Town is always a festive experience during the month of December, and visitors will find many unique items here to take home to loved ones.
Bellinzona might be a small town, but those who decide to visit this amazing destination in Switzerland will not be disappointed. It has all the beauty, history and attractions expected from a holiday destination, without the large crowds of tourists, dense population and impersonal atmosphere often found in big cities. The town of Bellinzona is truly one of the gems of Switzerland.