Ticino is the southernmost canton of Switzerland. The borders consist of Italy to the south and to the north, the Swiss Alps. It is reached from northern Switzerland: either through the Alps via the Gottard Tunnel or over via the famous Gottard Pass. Ticino is the only canton that speaks solely Italian and thus, has the feeling, even the look of Italy, but it retains the Swiss efficiency. Swiss forces captured this pocket of land from Italy in the 15th century in their final campaign, south of the alps. As a result of its location, Ticino is the warmest part of Switzerland and is also prone to intense summer storms. The highest number of lightning strikes occur here per year across the entire continent of Europe.
Comprised of mountains, forest and lakes it is hard not to be overwhelmed upon arrival. To the west of the canton are some very impressive valleys that are definately worth a visit. Aside from the fantastic people and architecture, these geographical phoenomenons made up the majority of my highlights. The two valleys that I can highly recommend are named valle Maggia and valle Verzasca. Valle Maggia is the swimming destination in Ticino. The fast flowing glacial river is cold, so make sure it is a hot day! The Valle Verzasca is more of a hiking destination with spectacular bridges and architecture dotted along the drive up the valley.
So pack your swimming gear and practice your Italian as this is one small part of the world that is highly worth a visit.