The whisper of the wind, the buds on the branches, blue skies and crystal-clear waters: spring in Ascona-Locarno is an explosion of colours, fragrances and emotions. Nowhere more so than in the region’s parks and gardens.
The Dolce Vita returns: With the birds singing, the days getting longer and the sun’s rays becoming more intense, nature is waking up bringing with it our need to be outdoors, to breathe in the scent of spring and feel the breeze by the lake. On foot or by bike, it’s time to take the opportunity to get out in the sun along the region’s wonderful hiking and biking trails, in sun-drenched flower-filled parks or on the terrace, with a good coffee and the first delicious ice creams of the year. Simply put, Dolce Vita!
This climate – where the absence of long periods of frost and the acidity of the ground favour the flourishing of the region’s unique flora – is ideal for one of the richest camellia parks in the world, opened on the occasion of the World Camellia Congress held in Locarno in 2005.
It was a prestigious opening for what has become an international attraction and a benchmark in the field of botanics for its landscape value, so much so that in 2010 it became part of the prestigious circle of the International Camellia Society’s Gardens of Excellence. At the time of its opening, the park was home to approximately 500 species of camellia that – thanks to the relationships forged at the congress and the exchanging of unusual varieties with growers from Italy, Germany, Belgium, USA and China – have now become almost 1,000!
On the right bank of Lake Maggiore, winter is less forgiving, even if the sky is mostly clear and the weather often already feels spring-like. Although the supposed frost period lasts for more than 30 days, temperatures never drop too far below freezing, making this area excellent for cultivating camellias, rhododendrons, azaleas and magnolias.
In the summer, the sun, which struggles to climb over the mountains on this side of the lake during winter, floods the area, bathing in light the hill that is home to the Gambarogno Botanical Park, which covers a total area of 20,000m2. Here the gardener Otto Eisenhut has created a park that today contains 950 varieties of camellia and more than 450 varieties of magnolia, alongside azaleas, rhododendrons, pines, junipers, ivy, exotic firs and varieties that are rare in Europe. Thanks to this vast range of plants, during the flowering period the park becomes a riot of incredible colours, fragrances and sensations. It is a daydream, dreamt by a man and pursued over the years with love and dedication.
The Ascona-Locarno region boasts an impressive number of parks and gardens that, thanks to the special climate of Lake Maggiore, put on a high-quality botanical spectacle.
In spring, the region is tinged with a thousand colours brought even more to life by the reflection of the sun on the water, and the towns are set off by a floral frame that gets them ready for summer. The lakeside gardens in Locarno and the Monte Verità park in Ascona, to name only a few of the region’s many options, become a spectacle that can’t help but catch the eye. Capture your spring with a single image and share it on social media with the hashtag #myasconalocarno. Don’t forget to tag us!