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The municipality of Bellinzona is located in the Swiss canton of Ticino. Ticino is part of the Italian Switzerland. Bellinzona is home to around 43,000 people and is the second-biggest city of the canton after Lugano. Bellinzona sits at the foot of the Saint-Gotthard Massif east of the river Ticino.
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Even in bad weather Bellinzona offers a wide array of leisure activities, such as the many regional museums. The area is home to several event stages and free theatre groups working not only in Switzerland but also internationally. Since 1979 Lugano has been host to Estival Jazz, the biggest Jazz festival in Europe. The three Bellinzona castles, Castelgrande, Castello di Montebello and Castello di Sasso Corbaro form the historic town wall of Bellinzona, featuring the arsenal and many exhibitions. In 2000 the castles and the Murata were awarded World Heritage status.
Bellinzona is probably the most Italian city of Switzerland and an important hub along the north-south route. It is the gate to Italy in the north, and in the south Bellinzona is the key to the Alps. The Lombard charm of the city is best shown in the squares, courtyards and originally restored houses. The medieval Bellinzona boasts a vibrant social and cultural life with many shops, cafés and weekly markets. Ticino in summer features a great outdoor programme, including climbing, hiking mountain biking and swimming. Monte Tamaro is about 20 km from Bellinzona and boasts an Alpine slide, a bike park and a mountain biking trail. Racing cyclists love to explore the various mountain passes, such as San Bernardino Pass, Nufenen Pass and Lukmanier Pass. For a day trip visit the holiday resorts of Locarno and Ascona. Locarno sits between the north-western shore of Lago Maggiore and Monte Cardada. Cardada - Cimetta is known as the “Pearl of Lago Maggiore“ and the ideal region for extended hikes.