Twelve fascinating facts about Ticino

August 19, 2021, 9 Comments

There’s nothing I like more than unearthing a few juicy facts about a place. If you’ve read any of my books, you’ll know that they are full of little gems like these.

Fact 1: Ticino has two of Switzerland’s 13 Unesco world heritage sites. Monte San Giorgio, beside Lake Lugano, and the three castles of Bellinzona. The castles and their walls stretch over the hills above the city, making a striking first impression when you arrive.

Fact 2: with a population of around 353,000 people, Ticino is the eighth most populous canton. That means it’s sandwiched between Lucerne at No 7 and Valais at No 9.

Fact 3: the highest point in the canton is Adula or Rheinwaldhorn, at 3402m. The lowest point is Lago Maggiore at 193m, also the lowest point in Switzerland.

Fact 4: although it’s 220m high, the Contra Dam is only the fourth tallest in Switzerland. But it’s possibly the most famous, thanks to its starring role in the opening sequence of the film, GoldenEye, when James Bond jumps off the top.

Fact 5: Ticino has an area of 2812 square kilometres, making it the fifth largest canton, behind Vaud but ahead of St Gallen. Half of the canton is covered in forests and woods.

Fact 6: across all cantons, Ticino has the lowest annual birth rate at 7.1 births per 1000 people, compared to a national average of 10. It also has the lowest marriage rate of any canton.

Fact 7: both of Ticino’s main lakes are shared with Italy. The Swiss part of Lago Maggiore is less than a fifth of the lake’s total area, whereas Lake Lugano is nearly all Swiss.

Fact 8: in the National Council, there are eight seats allocated to Ticino. To date the canton has also had eight Federal Councillors, including the current Foreign Minister, Ignazio Cassis.

Fact 9: Ticino became a canton in 1803. Before that it was effectively a Swiss colony, having been conquered in the 16th century. Under the Helvetic Republic of 1798, it was divided into two cantons, Bellinzona and Lugano.

Fact 10: Bellinzona is both the lowest and the most southerly cantonal capital. It became the fixed capital in 1878, after six decades when the capital rotated every six years between Locarno, Lugano and Bellinzona.

Fact 11: if Ticino were a village of 100 people, 18 of them would be children but 23 of them would be seniors. That’s the highest percentage of over 65s in any canton.

Fact 12: the local transport company in the Locarno area is the Ferrovie Autolinee Regionali Ticinese, or FART for short. Despite its name, it runs on a regular timetable.

This article is one of a series about Ticino. You can also read about Lugano & Locarno, Cardada Cimetta and SwissMiniatur.

9 Comments on "Twelve fascinating facts about Ticino"

  1. Karen Ciucci Thursday August 19th, 2021 at 11:22 AM · Reply


  2. Ma. Tiffany Orapa Thursday August 19th, 2021 at 12:29 PM · Reply

    Bellinzona became the capital of Ticino at 1878.

  3. Barbara Ray Thursday August 19th, 2021 at 01:53 PM · Reply


  4. Claire Thursday August 19th, 2021 at 02:48 PM · Reply


  5. Rebecca Self Thursday August 19th, 2021 at 05:27 PM · Reply

    Bellinzona — Che bella citta!

  6. Julia Semmer Thursday August 19th, 2021 at 11:14 PM · Reply


  7. Ursula Thursday August 19th, 2021 at 11:17 PM · Reply


  8. Steve Friday August 20th, 2021 at 02:36 PM · Reply

    Bellinzona. Although I just copied the answer from the comment above, so they deserve the prize really :/

  9. Martin Friday August 20th, 2021 at 03:51 PM · Reply


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