Overlooking the azure waters of Lake Maggiore, Ascona is a picture-perfect town in southern Switzerland renowned for its annual jazz festival. It boasts an enticingly mild climate, a cafe-lined promenade and an atmospheric Old Town, which is clustered with Mediterranean-style architecture.
In the heart of Ascona is the Church of St. Peter and Paul, a 16th-century landmark with a soaring bell tower dominating the Old Town. Stroll through the narrow streets leading to Ascona’s pedestrianised lakefront and watch the boats coming and going from one of the alfresco cafes.
Art enthusiasts shouldn’t miss a visit to the Museum of Modern Art, which occupies a beautifully preserved 16th-century building overlooking Via Borgo. Highlights of the collection include Jawlensky’s “Head of a Girl” and the “Red House” by Paul Klee, as well as works by Otto Niemeyer, Albert Kohler and Ernst Frick.
Rising above Ascona is Monte Verita (“Mountain of Truth”), which was inhabited by a colony of artists and intellectuals in the early 20th century. It is now home to a Japanese teahouse and a museum that details the alternative lifestyle and beliefs of the colony. One of the preserved buildings has been adorned with a panoramic painting by the Baltic German artist Elisar von Kupffer titled “The Clear World of the Blessed”.
Getting around Ascona
Ascona is around 1.5 hours’ drive from Milan and Malpensa Airport, which has flights to destinations across the globe. Regular trains connect from the Spanish capital to the railway station in nearby Locarno. From here, buses continue to Ascona, which is compact enough to explore on foot.