Ascona lies on a sunny bay on the northwest bank of Lake Maggiore. The resort in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, in the canton of Ticino, is one of the most exclusive tourist destinations in the country. The municipality is only three kilometres away from Locarno, which is historical closely connected to Ascona. Only the delta of Maggio River divides the two towns. Right behind the delta are the mountains of the Swiss Alps.
Ascona – poetry town
One of these mountains is the Monte Verità (Hill of Truth). This place has an interesting history: There was founded a colony which preached the return to nature. A large number of famous artists lived at the beginning of the 20th century together on this hill in Ascona. Among them were such legendary persons as Hermann Hesse, Erich Maria Remarque, Ernst Toller and Isadora Duncan.
But the history of Ascona is much older. Already during the Middle Ages was Ascona a residence of old aristocratic families. The powerful family of the Duni built the large castle of san Michele. Unfortunately it declined after the extinction of the family and only the tower remained. Today there is a prestigious hotel with the name Villa san Michele in Ascona. San Michele was the biggest castle in Ascona. Two smaller castles are preserved up to now: The castle of the Griglioni and the castle of the Orelli.
The castle of the Griglioni is situated on the quay in the north of Ascona. The renaissance castle was the residence of the Griglioni family and was probably used to observe the lake. Its first parts were already built in 1250. Some parts of the original castle complex declined in 1513. Two of the four towers of the castle still remained up to now. Today the castle complex accommodates a castle hotel and some private living houses.
The castle of the Orelli is a small complex built by Francesco Orelli in 1540, who actually had his main recidence in Locarno, was used as a shelter for followers of the new protestant movement in the 17th century. Today the castle in the north of Ascona accommodates the prestigious Hotel Castello del Sol.
The Lake Maggiore old quay of Ascona can be used as a boardwalk again, after the main traffic was been directed through a new tunnel under the Monte Verita. The landmark of Ascona is the tower of the church Santi Pietro e Paolo. The court of the Golf club Ascona features 18 holes.