29 September 2011

love set in concrete

A train journey to and from Zurich via the Gottardo to Ticino can be an emotional affair. It certainly is for me. The staggering contrast between the two landscapes (and cultures) divided by the great Gottardo mountain always releases a wave of amazement, wonder and overwhelming love (homebound) and (yearning) outbound. These train journeys remind me more and more of the deeprooted sense of belonging that I feel for this land. A friend recently commented that the landscape surrounding the Gottardo is not necessarily good for the mood; ominous granite walls rising steeply to the sky aren't that cheery.  I agree, but I guess it also depends which side of the mountain you are on. The north side makes me melancholy whereas rising on the southside (the Ticino side) or indeed descending into it after exiting the long tunnel releases lots of bubbling endorphins.
What really nails it though is the A2 Biaschina viaduct. Concrete at its most beautiful; tall slender legs, plunging down into the green vast valley below - the surrounding space and scenery enhances this fantastically engineered structure's proportions to stunning effect. A great example of Ticino's love-affair with concrete and a prime example of mine with Ticino.
The proper way to admire this beauty is by train, for sure.

The Biaschina Viaduct project was realised by Christian Menn.

26 August 2011

katja snozzi

Only a few days left to view Katja Snozzi's considerable collection of work "Mondomomenti" at the Palazzo Casorella in Locarno. The exhibition runs till Sunday 28th August at 5pm.
A collection of 127 moments, also featuring amongst many others some of the world's most famous individuals such as Arafat, the Dalai Lama and Fidel Castro - Snozzi has reported on and been witness to many of the world's major events. Ticino's rich cultural and artistic resources once again reaffirmed through this singular event and artist.

23 August 2011

Cyrano at the Castello Visconteo in Locarno

After much anticipation, theatre company Cyranoreve is proud to present its second edition of Cyrano at the Castello Visconteo Locarno. For theatre lovers and romantics an inspiring and beautiful production of the notable duellist and poet's travels, as interpreted by Director Simone Romerio and brought to life by his fabulous group of actors. The setting couldn't be more romantic; Locarno's medieval castle lends itself fittingly to the story and accommodates the audience within its walls for a memorable evening under the Ticino stars.Tickets for sale at the Tourist Information Office in Locarno. Performances start at 20.30 on 1st, 2nd and 3rd September, as well as 9th and 10th and 16th and 17th September.

    Graphic design by Valentina Lungo Archetti

05 October 2010


Questo venerdì, 8 ottobre 2010, al Ristorante alla Cantina a Tegna, ore 19.00

Conferenza-concerto Gastronomia e musica

"Il rapporto fra il cibo, il vino e la musica conta una lunga e prestigiosa tradizione, 
questo quanto cercheremo di mostrare nella nostra conferenza concerto.
Attraverso un percorso narrato alternato a dei brani musicali eseguiti dal vivo, 
andremo idealmente a spasso per la storia, alla ricerca di alcune situazioni 
particolari in cui il cibo, il vino e la musica hanno stretto un legame speciale."

I quadri storico-musicali saranno 
alternati alle portate gastronomiche

Eros Rizzoli, relatore
Amanda Rougier Appignani, voce
Andi Appignani, pianoforte e organo

Trevor Appignani, chef de cuisine
Gino Fontana, sommelier

Conferenza concerto, cena e vini
Fr. 65,-

Posti limitati, è gradita la riservazione
091 780 75 57

25 August 2010

athletix city 2010

Time again for all you athletes and parkour-fans out there to head sharpish down to Locarno's Piazza Grande. If you were there last year no doubt you'll be back but for all you newcomers, be sure to participate in this year's edition of Athletix-City! As last year, killer events and cool prizes promise a fantastic action-packed day. Barefoot running on the cobbles, flying over obstacles and hurdles - you know, the usual stuff... We're counting down the days and are really looking forward to seeing you there!

02 August 2010

tempted again

We just spent another memorable evening (it's becoming a bit of a habit...) at Ristorante Tentazioni in Cavigliano. If you haven't been already, do go during your stay here in Ticino. Matthias is a fantastically passionate chef and incredibly welcoming and friendly. His team of staff are equally professional. I have to mention the very special risotto that was prepared for us, as a one off, made with 'ciccit' (a typically local delicacy - sausage made with goat meat) - by far the best risotto we had ever tasted. Desserts were of course sublime, thanks to Elvira, Matthias' wife and confisier.
Below is just one of the many culinary (and visual) delights that appeared before us.


01 June 2010

Using their 20 years plus experience in restaurant, hotel and retail interior design, Wallner & Soar is a refreshing addition to the local business community here in Ticino.  A creative and dynamic couple previously based in England but with Swiss roots, is serving up plenty of ideas and bringing exciting opportunities to the hospitality and retail sectors. Perfectly placed between Ascona, Losone and Locarno, they offer no obligation consultations and a great track record. Check out their website here.

20 May 2010


Hats off to owners Matthias and Elvira Althof Solér of Tentazioni in Cavigliano. We cycled along there in the late afternoon sun to be greeted by keen and eager-to-please waitresses bearing elderflower-infused proseccos and a beaming chef serving up spectacular bites in quick succession. The owners mingled professionally and quietly after giving us a much appreciated guided tour of the upstairs quarters. 
Here is a couple with vision and guts (read up on their professional pedigree here); embarking on a project such as this outside of Ascona is not something that you often see round these parts. Say what you will, but stretching the boundaries, doing the "not so obvious" always appeals so much more. The location is Ticino-picturesque at its most stunning, especially on a day like today when the mountains are bursting with green foliage and the sky is electric with blue - all  this is offset rather beautifully by the purple, mahogany and pale grey colour scheme that defines the interior of Tentazioni. If they deliver what they promise and if all is maintained, then I am sure this will take off well and proper with locals and tourists alike! 
So to recap: it's a restaurant and hotel (boutique hotel, as they like to call it). Rooms start at CHF 180 a night including breakfast and the restaurant's menu is beautifully uncomplicated in its structure - prices range from CHF 45 for 2 courses, to CHF 85 for 5 courses - and if you're really starving then you can go for the sumptuous 8 course menu at CHF 120. The beauty of this menu is that you choose your course (or "temptation") as you please. The price is fixed and you just need to decide how many courses you can manage...
As yet we are unable to judge on the chef's creations, although the apetizers this afternoon were creative and seriously  delicious. Our aim is to return soon for a proper "degustation". Watch this space.

17 May 2010

are you tempted?

Here's something new...
Things are obviously happening round here, at the foot of the Centovalli. First the newly refurbished Ristorante Alla Cantina in Tegna and now, after much anticipation, the Ristorante/Boutique Hotel Tentazioni in Cavigliano. We'll be going to the launch aperitivo on Thursday afternoon. Watch this space.
Not forgetting to mention our meal at the Cantina in Tegna last Friday, which was without the shadow of a doubt delicious, we wish the management all the best in its endeavours to swiftly overcome some initial teething problems (electricity & the maitre-d'-issue, please!); we shall return once things have settled down.

13 May 2010

meteo and food

Everyone knows the weather here in Ticino has been disgusting for the past 2 weeks. Unheard of in Ticino. Especially for the month of May. But people, it's snapping out of it now. Brighter days are coming and from Saturday 15th steady improvements await us. Tomorrow we are dining at the newly refurbished, newly re-opened Ristorante Alla Cantina in lovely Tegna (at the foot of the Centovalli). The chef there, a certain Trevor Appignani, is rather good. I return tomorrow or latest on the weekend with a review of our meal. No pictures as yet but if you fancy popping by, click here. For bookings call 091 780 7557.
We also went there for the reopening Aperitivo a couple of weeks ago, there's a wonderful courtyard dining area, with arches, columns and a great sense of tranquillity. 

11 March 2010

new service in Ticino

Looking for an English course in the UK?
Courses for adults and for young learners organised for you right here in Ticino!

02 February 2010


You may have gathered, but then maybe not unless you actually live here..., that the Carnevale season is among us and that no weekend or weekday is complete without the dutiful and rather insane pre-Lent tradition of dressing up (adults, not just kids), eating risotto like there's no tomorrow and I suppose drinking wine must also be part of it. Well if this IS your cup of tea then swing on by and take a seat on the many wooden benches and tables and start celebrating to your hearts content. Here's a list of where to go.
For the first time ever, we have agreed to take part in the infamous Stranociada in Locarno on 12th January... there will be over a dozen of us dressed up as Sherlock Holmes, Pirates, Gangsters, Cows, Kings and Queens and goodness knows what else. What a spectacle. I still can't believe we agreed to go along and will let you know how it all went. I guess we'll see you there...
Not to be forgotten is the hugely popular Bellinzona Rabadan. The Carnival season wouldn't be complete without it.

09 January 2010

fishing for bugatti

My friend kindly reminded me of this fascinating discovery made in the depths of the glorious Lago Maggiore, just off the lungolago of Ascona. At the time it caused quite a worldwide stir and some of you carbuffs may very well remember it. If it's news to you, you can read up on the full story here.