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November 8, 2021

What is Bellinzona?

Nestled in the southern tip of Switzerland’s scenic Ticino canton, Bellinzona is a historic town that goes way back to the Middle Ages. This simple little village possesses all of the Old World charms which draw tourists from all over the world each year. It is home to many timeless treasures which cast their medieval aura and have a fascinating story to tell.

The Fine Treasures of Bellinzona

Bellinzona is famous for its ancient wonders, which include three famous castles that were listed in the UNESCO World Heritage sites for their medieval splendor. They are the world-famous Castelgrande, the Montebello and the Sasso Corbaro. The Castelgrande had been gifted to the Bishop of Como during the reign of Otto III after a territorial expansion from the Holy Roman Empire. The Castelgrande fell into other hands but was given back to the Bishop of Como after a brief battle where Henry Ii defeated Arduino. The regifting was done by Enrico II, who fought for Henry II at that time. Today, the castle is seated amid a vast metropolis of deep greenery nestled in the silent regions of the mighty Swiss Alps. It is dotted by a circle of smaller buildings and appears to exert its austere nobility over the town to this day.

Bellinzona’s Best Local Attraction

Bellinzona is famous for a variety of local attractions, including the aforementioned historic castles and the wonders of the Alps. Yet there’s another local attraction that has been around for only a century, and that would be the Rabadan festival. This lively local event attracts over 150,000 people. The celebration includes five days of food, drink and other festivities. 

The events start when a townsperson is appointed as “king” and is given the keys to the town. The king is allowed complete dominion over the annual festivities, which include a children’s parade. Visitors come from surrounding countries such as Italy only to enjoy local music and magnificent parades with giant floats. On the fifth and final day, everyone is treated to a baked risotto, one of the many acts of coming together that are treasured by the peaceful Swiss natives.


  1. Dolores Soldo

    wish you had photos of thecastles, especially the Castelgrande

  2. Henry F Fabian Jr, MD, MBA

    Nice article but contains a significant historical error in the text. There was no “Enrico II”. King Henry II and “Enrico II” are the same person, “Enrico” is Italian for “Henry”- so Enrico II did not fight for Henry II- The Arduino battle cited in the text was won by Henry II


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