Marcote isn't a place for glitz and glamour. Instead, this former fishing village in the canton of Ticino offers serenity, historic architecture and a chance to reconnect with nature.
Also known as “The Pearl of Ceresio,” the town is nestled against Lake Lugano, a glacial body of water straddling the border between Switzerland and Italy.
Spring is a beautiful time for a scenic drive to Marcote. After arriving, stop at Scherrer Park, named for Arthur Scherrer who purchased the property that sits at the foot of Mount Arbostora in 1930. The park has two distinct types of plants — Mediterranean and Asian. Within the Mediterranean garden, you'll see fountains, statues, and renaissance and baroque buildings. The Asian area is rife with bamboo forests that lead to Thai, Arab and Indian buildings. This is a place to relax and get lost among fragrant plants such as camellias, wisteria, oleanders, camphor, eucalyptus and many others.
If you prefer history to nature, visit the Santa Maria del Sasso church, which dates back to the 13th century and has a beautiful view on the edge of the lake. Over the centuries, the church has been rebuilt in various architectural styles, including renaissance and baroque. A monumental staircase with 404 steps was added in the 18th century. The church and surrounding buildings contain several types of artwork including frescos, paintings and carvings. Take time to stroll around the grounds and visit the beautiful cemetery, which is the final resting place for many artists.
With winter fading, now is a great time to rent an Enterprise car for a weekend getaway. Fresh air and beautiful scenery are about a 2-hour drive from Zurich and a 3-hour drive from Basel.