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Bella Bellizona

Switzerland is truly a country of diversity, not only in its culture but also in its geography. With its 26 cantons, each offering a unique experience and dialect, it's hard not to be mesmerized by the country's beauty. As a traveler, I can attest that Switzerland is truly broken into three parts - the French, German and Italian. Each region offers a different flavor and way of life.

Recently, my husband and I had the opportunity to explore the Italian part of Switzerland, and let me tell you, it was an experience unlike any other. From the moment we stepped off the train in Bellinzona, we were transported to Italy with the stunning mountain views surrounding us. The sound of the Italian dialect in the streets was music to our ears. I couldn't help but notice how different the simple words like Danke, Merci and Grazie sound in each canton we've visited so far.

The charming town of Bellinzona is located just an hour and a half from Zürich by regular train or you can take the scenic three-hour journey from Zug Station, both are easily accessible by Train Gottardo Hit or SSB.

One of the main draws of Bellinzona are the three castles, Castelgrande, Montebello and Sasso Corbaro, which have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites since 2000. These fortifications, built to protect the ancient town and block passage through the valley, offer breathtaking views of the entire Ticino valley and the surrounding vineyards. The outer parts of the castles are free to visit, while the top of each castle costs 10 francs ($11 USD) per person.

We started our castle tour with Castelgrande, where we spent almost half a day getting lost in the stunning views and the rich history of the castle. After a leisurely morning, we stopped for lunch near the city center at a small restaurant where we indulged in a delicious charcuterie plate and breaded sausage/cheese, paired with a lager beer and beer flight. We learned that European beers are often served in smaller glasses, allowing you to taste a variety of different beers.

After lunch, we continued our castle tour, visiting Montebello and Sasso Corbaro. Each castle offered a unique perspective of the town and the surrounding area. We ended our day with a stroll around the city center, taking in the picturesque stone streets and the friendly locals enjoying their afternoon in the square.

If you are looking for a unique and off-the-beaten-path destination in Switzerland, Bellinzona is a must-visit. With its charming Italian influence, rich history, and stunning views, it's sure to leave a lasting impression. So pack you bags and join me on my next adventure as I continue to uncover the beauty of Switzerland, on canton at a time.

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