Ascona with its some 5000 inhabitants is often called the Queen of Lake Maggiore for its cultural heritage as well as for its touristic possibilities. In the space of a few meters, the town offers quarters as if straight out of an antique print or shop-windows with an exclusive contemporary stamp.
600 m/ 1968 feet a. s. l. it nestles in the foothills of the Alps, near the delta of the Maggia river, close to famous Locarno in the canton of Ticino in the southern part of Switzerland.
This unique location, together with a wide variety of landscapes, the Mediterranean climate and the well known hospitality of the Ticinese people, make Ascona a famous holiday resort.
Ascona can be reached from Zurich by car via National Highway N2 (Lucerne-Gotthard-Chiasso) or by train. Distance from Zurich approx. 200km.
Places to visit
From a touristic point of view Ascona has a lot to offer. Its artistic and cultural heritage, dating from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, is still very much alive in the old center of the little town called "borgo". Many artists who lived in Ascona from the sixteenth century on, left behind clear evidence of their talent.
The house, with its three-storied early-Baroque facade and stuccoes by Giovanni and Battista Serodine, dates from 1620. Today it is regarded as one of the most important baroque works in Ascona.
St. Peter and Paul Church
The colonnaded basilica, with its choir enclosed on three sides, was built between 1530 and 1534. The interior contains paintings by Giovanni Serodine: Maria's Coronation (1617), the Sons of Zebedee (1617-21) and Chris at Emmaus. The vaulting frescoes are by Peitro Francesco Pancaldi-Mola.
Santa Maria della Mesericordia Church
The present nave was built in 1399, but the choir dates from an earlier building. The walls feature frescoes by the Seregnesi and Antonio da Tradate (1455-1526). The altar panel is by Giovanni Antonio della Gaia (1519), while the Madonna della Quercia, brought to Ascona by Viterbo in the mid-16th century, adorns the left side-altar.
Collegio Pontificio Papio
The college was founded in 1580 by Bartolomeo Papio of Ascona and developed at the urging of Pope Grepory the 13th. The architecture is by Pellegrino de Pellegrini from Puria (Valsolda), and features a splendid two-storied inner court dating from 1585-1602.
San Materno Chapel
A castle-like building was constructed around the chapel's remains. Bronze-Age and Roman graves have been discovered in the cemetery nearby. The castle, the oldest fortified building in Ascona, seems to have been razed in 1518. The Majestatis Dominae painting in the apse of the chapel is of great interest to art historians.
Castello dei Ghiriglioni
The castle, believed to have been built around 1250, originally had four towers and was surrounded by a moat.
Casa Beato Pietro Berno
The birthplace of St. Beato Berno, a missionary who died a martyr in India in 1583. The house was an old people's home until 1934. Currently it houses an art gallery.
Besides swimming, tennis, squash or fitness facilities Ascona also offers possibilities for less common sports such as surfing, water-skiing, sailing, flying, horse riding, fishing, curling, ice-skating and many more...