Central Switzerland and Ticino

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t Picturesque Chapel Bridge over the River Reuss

Experience Central Switzerland and Ticino

The cradle of the Swiss Confederation and the birthplace of the legendary hero William Tell, central Switzerland is at both the geographical and the historical heart of the country. Bordering the east and south shores of Lake Lucerne, Schwyz, Uri and Unterwalde, known as the Waldstätte, or Forest Cantons, formed an alliance in 1291 that marked the foundation of the Swiss Confederation. Champion of the people William Tell became the stuff of legend by inciting the peasant rebellion, in 1307, that would go on to overthrow Habsburg rule, but it wasn’t until the latter half of the 15th century that he appears in a collection of folk tales.

While William Tell was reputedly leading uprisings to the north, the dukes of Milan were fighting over what is now the southern canton of Ticino. Separated from its northern neighbours by the Alps, this Mediterranean-influenced region is bordered on almost all other sides by Italy. It was annexed by the Swiss Confederates in the early 16th century, but it only joined the Confederation as a free canton in 1803. This large, Italian-speaking canton in the sunny foothills of the southern Alps has a pace of life that is markedly more relaxed than elsewhere in Switzerland.

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