Strategically positioned and heavily fortified, this scenic valley city has been enthralling visitors for centuries.

Bellinzona Key to the Alps

The ancient Romans saw the defensive advantage the natural landscape in this valley provided and erected a frontier post, which was later expanded by the Lombards, and ultimately made into a heavily fortified Milanese town, controlling access to the Alps from the South. The heavy Italian influence has left its mark on the city, such as the neo-Classical theatre. The picturesque streets and squares are filled with decadent patrician homes and beautiful churches. Yet it is the city’s triple fortifications that are the most arresting. One of only 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Switzerland, they are some of the best preserved fortifications in the country. The Castelgrande is the oldest and mightiest, and offers breathtaking views of the Old Town and surrounding area, as well as a museum covering the history of Bellinzona.

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