The Dolce Vita by Lake Maggiore

Ascona traditionally welcomes the new year with a spectacular fireworks display. Rockets fired from inlets around the lake are silhouetted against the dark sky, sending a daylight glow all around, a feast of light that is as special as it is both engaging and moving.

Over the course of a century, a once poor fishing village on the shores of lake Maggiore has transformed itself to become a small village for artists and visitors drawn from all over the world who fall under its almost magical spell, some of whom go on to make it their new home. Strolling along the sunny lakefront, closed to traffic and dotted with coffee shops and restaurants, you begin in no time to breathe in an unmistakably Mediterranean-like vitality – this is the real dolce vita.

In the 70s, the Nobel prizewinner for literature Eugenio Montale described Ascona as a «nordic Capri», alluding to that near-perfect balance of north and south which still holds true today.

Yet Ascona is also rich in history. The distinctive plane trees were donated to the town in 1885 by people from Ascona who emigrated to France and wanted to provide grace and shade to the lakefront. It is a special haven both for those who shun the sobriety of the north and others who are overwhelmed by the boisterous warmth of the south. Many find this wonderful, sun-kissed borgo an ideal place to recharge their batteries and so it comes as no surprise that Ascona and many neighbouring places are rich in evocative charm and radiate an irresistible positive energy. Ascona has forever nestled on her lake yet has not always remained the same. On the contrary: today it has 5500 inhabitants and is continually evolving. The lakefront has been resurfaced and at the entrance to the pedestrian area there is a new square and fountain. Hotels and restaurants have taken quality to the next level and the luxury hotels, of which three are five starred, are focused on enriching the amazing experiences and opportunities that only Ascona can offer.