Porto-Ronco right on Lake Maggiore, and Ronco sopra Ascona, “the balcony above Lake Maggiore,” are situated an eight minute drive west of famous artist town Ascona in the Canton Ticino. In close vicinity to each other, they are two ancient and picturesque villages in peaceful settings that offer stunning panorama views over the lake, the Brissago Islands and surrounding mountains.
Ronco sopra Ascona has long been known as an artists’ village and offers many cultural events throughout the year. Narrow alley-ways, a cobble-stone piazza and arcades between the houses contribute to its rustic charm. San Martino Church in the nucleus of the ancient village on the pinnacle of the hilled terrace of 350 m elevation contains beautiful frescos going back to the 15th century.
Porto-Ronco lies a five minute drive below Ronco sopra Ascona directly on the shores of Lake Maggiore with direct access to lake, swimming, the harbour and boat trips up and down the lake and to the Brissago Islands.
Fresh fish from Lago Maggiore
Ivano Conti is one of the few professional fishermen on Lake Maggiore and I meet him early one morning, pulling his boat into the small Porto-Ronco harbor. As I’m finding with so many Ticinese, he is immediately open to chat. Peeling out of his rubber overalls he tells me how his uncle taught him how to fish when he was seven years young and how with ten he threw professional nets, delivering fish to his clients by bicycle .
CONTI’s PESCHERIA is proudly announced over the light blue shop. The delivery van is waiting to pick up the day’s catch for the local restaurants. An early customer wants to buy her family’s lunch. Ivano shows me a spectacular lake trout he just caught last night. This fish is sold to one of his most loyal restaurant clients and dialling the number, he makes me a reservation for dinner right on the spot.
Ronco sopra Ascona
Ronco Albergo e Ristorante – A charming family hotel & restaurant
Five minutes up the road from Porto Ronco at the Albergo e Ristorante Ronco in Ronco sopra Ascona, Guillermo (Willy) Gasparis, owner of the family hotel, awaits me. With mediterranean charm he seats me at a table on the terrazza with a million dollar view overlooking Lake Maggiore, the towns and mountains.
Willy tells me that his hotel used to be an abbey until the 17th century, when the monks sold the building to the Gasparis family. An albergo run by the same family since, the 1920’s guests would stay at his grandfather’s two and three months at a time, but never in the summer! July and August the hotel was closed; – getting a tan was absolutely not in fashion in those days.
Ronco Albergo e Ristorante today is a modern, charming family-run hotel with 26 rooms with a fantastic view, a swimming pool, a first-class restaurant and perfect service. And it is definitely open during the summer!
Art-Hotel Ristorante Posta al Lago – Another charming family hotel & restaurant…
…in Porto Ronco is expertly run by Signora Bettè and her long-term staff. Located right on Lake Maggiore with a view to the Brissago Islands, it takes twenty paces from my small apartment with kitchen before I can submerge in the silken calm of the lake for my daily swim.
On the fantastic terrasse right over the water you can enjoy a sumptuous breakfast while watching Ivano bring in his catch, savour lunch or tea, or eat a romantic dinner with the moon reflected in the rippling water. Right next to the hotel you’ll find the official Porto-Ronco boat platform with regular rides to Ascona, Locarno and Luino, Italy, with its famous weekly outdoor market.
Porto-Ronco or Ronco sopra Ascona – the choice is yours and either are definitely worth vacationing in. Stay in either and you’ll get the views, swimming, dining and activities of both of these charming towns.
Please share your experience of Ronco or the glorious Canton Ticino and leave a comment below.
Switzerland travel enthusiast. Cat lover, bicyclist and classical music fan. I prefer walking over running and enjoy a good Swiss card game of Jass with friends. More about Silvia and Swiss Wanderlust »
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