Bellinzona



Bellinzona (population 20,000) isn't a ski resort but it was on the way to Lugano and it's famous for having THREE castles. The photo to the left was taken from the courtyard of one castle and you can see the other nearby and if you look way up atop the hill you'll see the third. It's a belly busting ride cycling up to the hilltop castle but centuries ago the views allowed soldiers and those with look-out duties to see approaching travelers. To understand the castles you have to know a bit of history. Surrounded by mountainous terrain, this narrow valley was of great strategic importance. This was a major route for travelers, traders and their goods from Italy to the rest of Europe. This is is a view of the second castle located above Bellinzona. The third castle anchors the town center and you can see that the base was built on solid rock. All three castles have been designated UNESCO world heritage sites. Here's a view of two of the castles as one comes into town.