Ticino: History & Tradition

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Ticino has always been a key strategic point on the European map due to it being the main thoroughfare linking central Switzerland and Italy. It has been the theatre of much bloodshed, including 16th-century battles between the armies of Como and Milan and the battle of Giornico in 1478.


TI history

One of the three Bellinzona Castles (more information here)


Napoleon established the Ticino region in 1803, naming the region after its main river. In the mid-19th century, the inhabitants of the region underwent great hardship and this led to mass emigration (see OltreconfiniTi). The opening of the San Gotthard road (1980) and rail tunnels (1882) played a key role in the economic development of the region.


Living traditions

The different dialects of the Ticino region are still alive and well and help to preserve the region’s heritage and traditions, some of which are listed in the Inventory of Living Traditions in Switzerland. Ticino is renowned for its chestnuts, dry-stone walls, slate roofs, Epiphany songs and the caroller’s songs, fairs of San Martino (in Mendrisio) and San Provino (Agno), traditional Holy Week processions, historical parades and militias in Leontica, Aquila and Ponto Valentino (Blenio Valley) and carnivals, with the most famous being the Rabadan in Bellinzona.


TI history


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Gazzetta Svizzera