After our wonderful visit and walk round Isole di Brissago, we hopped on the ferry for the short trip back to Ascona on the mainland. This charming town lies adjacent to Locarno and is easily reached by car or bus in a matter of minutes but if you have more time the ferry ride along Lake Maggiore is the more scenic and leisurely option.
Ascona has the romantic feel of an old fishing village combined with the glamour and chicness of a lakeside Swiss/Italian resort. The promenade along the lake is dotted with pretty cafes, restaurants and hotels taking full advantage of the superb setting. We were very hungry by the time we arrived and keen for a late lunch! To be honest I don’t think we could have made a bad selection as all the menus we inspected looked wonderful but we were drawn to the vibrant colours of the Albergo Al Porto Ristorante and so alighted on their front terrace, sat back and basked in the warm spring sunshine. It was quite idyllic – the food was delicious, the view of the shimmering lake mesmerising and the atmosphere laid back and casual. The restaurant is attached to the Al Porto hotel and I’m pleased to say it is still very much in business and you can find out further details here. The website for the most part is in German, which is interesting given that Ascona is in Italian speaking Ticino. I should therefore imagine that it is used frequently by Swiss German visitors coming down in search of southern sunshine. You don’t need to speak German or Italian to admire the photos though!
We eventually prised ourselves off our chairs and set off to explore the little streets that led off the promenade.
The Old Town of Ascona has buildings dating back to medieval times, cobbled streets that all ultimately lead back to the lake and many pretty shops and boutiques. We didn’t have much time so I couldn’t explore the shops (Monsieur Le Chic did not seem too perturbed by this!). We did come across two fine looking churches, Santi Pietro e Paolo, (which has a magnificent interior though we hadn’t time to go inside) and the impressively named Church of Santa Maria della Misericordia (part of the Catholic school, Collegio Papio).
We wended our way back to the lakeside promenade and enjoyed a last walk along the front to the end and back before reluctantly setting off back to our Locarno base via the ferry.
Le Chic En Rose is setting off on travels in the near future – more details next week! In the meantime I’ll leave you with a lingering look at Ascona from Lake Maggiore. Caio for now!
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