Visiting Ascona-Locarno this year? You’re in luck, as there’s a lot of great stuff happening. Dive in to all manner of music, theatre, cinema, food and drink with our pick of the top events from the area’s culture-packed calendar. And if you’re not planning on visiting Ascona-Locarno this year – well, maybe it‘s time to rethink!
Art and performance
Photo: © Ascona-Locarno Tourism / A. Pizzicannella
Giant, jewel-bright plastic animals invade the historic streets of Ascona. Founded in 1993, the Cracking Art movement creates colourful abstract creatures to playfully raise awareness of the disposable nature of today’s consumer culture.
Until Jun 30. Ascona.
Photo: © SlowUp Ticino
Any wheels you want, as long as they’re unmotorised. That’s the rule at this celebration of car-free travel. Skate, scoot, cycle or hike along a 50km route from Locarno’s Piazza Grande to Bellinzona, taking in food stalls, entertainment stages and bars along the way.
Apr 14. Locarno-Bellinzona.
Photo: Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Ascona sends in the clowns – and acrobats, mime artists, musicians and fire eaters – from all over the world to perform 100 free shows all over town. A massive hit with kids, the ‘Street Artists Festival’ celebrates its 16th edition this year.
Jun 7-10. Ascona.
Photo: © Museo Casorella
This recently opened exhibition space is an essential visit for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that it’s housed in a beautiful 16th century residence near the marvellous Visconteo Castle. The aim of Museo Casorella is to further boost Locarno’s artistic reputation, which shouldn’t be difficult thanks to a fine collection of some of the city’s most significant works, including paintings, sculptures and prints.
Open Tuesday-Sunday. Locarno.
Food and drink
Photo: © Ascona-Locarno Tourism
Discover hotspots from the people who know best – the locals who eat there. Book a self-guided tour and create your own culinary itinerary based on insider tips. You’ll eat at venues tourists would love to find, but rarely do. Staying ahead of the pack has never tasted so good.
Choose your date and book online. Ascona and Locarno.
Photo: Ticino Turismo / Christoph Sonderegger
Here’s your chance to find out what makes the wine from Ticino so darn quaffable, at a weekend of open wine cellars across the region. As you stroll from winery to winery, you’ll learn about techniques from the experts, as well as tasting the results, of course.
June 1 and 2. Around Ticino.
Photo: © Amis da la forchèta
Indulge yourself at Ticino’s own celebration of meals on wheels at this weekend-long festival of street food. Cuisine from around the globe will be served up from trucks, caravans and Piaggio Ape cars, and there’ll be music and entertainment to soundtrack all that glorious eating.
April 27-29. Locarno.
Music and film
Photo: Ascona-Locarno Tourism / A. Pizzicannella
Bringing the sounds of jazz, swing, blues and R&B to the city’s streets with almost 160 concerts, JazzAscona features late-night jam sessions and tribute gigs, many of them free and alfresco.
June 20-29. Ascona.
Photo: MSF Moon&Stars Festivals SA
Passes the musical baton to Locarno, where megastars including Christina Aguilera, Liam Gallagher and Jamiroquai will play nine days of pop and rock gigs in the Piazza Grande.
July 12-21. Locarno.
Photo: Locarno Film Festival / Massimo Pedrazzini
More fun at the Piazza Grande. A month after Moon&Stars the grand square forms the focal point of an 11-day movie marathon, which this year presents a special programme of black cinema.
August 7-17. Locarno.