The Windows of Bellinzona, Ticino, Switzerland

Windows Bellinzona Ticino Switzerland

The city of Bellinzona, Switzerland is perhaps best known for its trio of handsome medieval castles, inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 2000. Yet, this historic city, which sits at the foot of the Alps, has more to offer than these impressive fortifications. Bellinzona also has an elegant Old Town district, a spot which we explored with our dear friend, Claudine, likely already known to you since she is the adoptive mother of our former Ukrainian foster kitten and 2014 travel buddy, Cocoa.

As Shawn, Claudine and I waited to pick up Cocoa from the Swiss veterinarian following his neutering surgery (it would be our first time seeing Cocoa since we handed him over to his new family last autumn!), we dodged tiny raindrops in Bellinzona on a August afternoon. The town is the capital of the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino. Knowing that I was ‘collecting windows’ for my collage series, animal-lover Claudine was quick to suggest that I photograph window #2 featuring a pair of pigeons perched atop it.

In the coming weeks, I’ll feature much more about our time in the Mediterranean paradise of Ticino, but in the meantime I wanted to share these eye-pleasing windows from Bellinzona. Can you spot which ones are examples of trompe-l’œil  optical illusions which trick a viewer’s eye into thinking they’re actually three-dimensional?

Finally, because some of you have requested it, here’s a sneak peek of Cocoa via Facebook, and how he’s grown up to be such a handsome and healthy cat, thanks to his loving family.

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Last October, a 500-gram bundle of mischief and joy came into our lives on the streets of the stunning Ukrainian city of Lviv. The kitten’s story commenced in a sad fashion, when he was discarded behind a series of dumpsters right before our eyes. But there was a happy ending! We took the kitten, traveled with him for about 1,000 km. (600 mile), overland from Ukraine to Germany on trains, trams, and taxis. Once in Germany, we set to work to market Cocoa’s availability. We blogged and posted social media updates, we posted paper flyers all over my parents’ village in Germany’s Alps, hoping that a loving family would step forward to adopt him. One dear blog reader, Claudine, was quick to step forward and express an interest in being Cocoa’s forever home. Having just lost a beloved feline of her own, and as a hard-working cheerleader for the world’s less-fortunate animals, we knew that Claudine and her family would be the perfect fit. After two years of correspondence, Shawn, Claudine, her daughter and I met in person for the first time last November, on the edge of Germany’s Bodensee. We shared laughs and tears at a café overlooking the picturesque lake, and then handed little Cocoa over. I'm delighted to say that we're off to visit Cocoa, Claudine, and her family this weekend in beautiful Ticino, Switzerland. More updates from Austria, Switzerland and Italy coming up, as we begin our journey this morning! #kitten #tbt #rescuecat #travel #whywerescue @ticinoturismo #animals

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Where in the World?

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

38 thoughts on “The Windows of Bellinzona, Ticino, Switzerland

    1. Darlene, we have more stories coming covering our time in Switzerland with Cocoa’s family, but I just started with this little appetizer. :) I’m glad you like the series. Thank you for your comment, and enjoy the week ahead!

      1. It made me smile to read that you’re now embarking on ‘window safaris’ too. :) Certainly, Bangkok’s wats have some stunning windows? I wasn’t ‘collecting windows’ the last time I was in Bangkok, but I do remember the temples’ elaborate architecture. Admittedly, I haven’t seen much more of the country – would love to return!

    1. Carol, it’s funny you would mention having your own windows dolled up, as my parents are in the process of choosing an artist to do the fresco-like painting on the front of their home. We hear that it can last for about 20-30 years, at least here where there is lots of rain. Perhaps we can send the artist your way? :)

    1. Ynah, as I look at the windows and the architecture, I often wonder about the craftspeople who created them, and the people who commissioned them to do so. From utilitarian windows to more elaborate ones, each was created by someone with a story. I see you’re from the Philippines. I hadn’t started my windows / collage series back when we visited in 2011, but I would like to return. The Batad Rice Terraces were one of our trip highlights.

    1. Hi Kirsty, I can see why you’re drawn to that cheerful pair as well. It was grey and rainy the day we visited, so this vibrant architecture helped infuse a nice dose of color. Wishing you a splendid day in London; thank you for stopping by.

  1. I’m really thrilled to read more of you adventure in the southern Switzerland :-)
    and I’m so deeply happy that we met again and that you both had good time with us…
    Kisses from the whole bunch of us <3 claudine

    1. Claudine “& the Band”, a more in-depth post featuring all of our Ticino adventures (and Prince Cocoa!) is on its way shortly. Putting together the video and blog post has been such a fun way to relive our lovely August days together. Hugs to you too!

    1. Stephen, I would like to return and see Bellinzona’s castles bathed in sunlight someday, but the low-hanging clouds did add a certain mystique to them. Thank you for stopping by, and enjoy the week ahead!

    1. Hi Vickie, while I’ve certainly marveled at many international doors and their brass hardware (even purchasing a traditional door knocker at a hardware store in Marrakech, Morocco), I can’t say that I’ve yet done a door collage. My husband and I have recently moved to Malta, where elaborate door knockers abound. Perhaps that will be my maiden collage. During your world travels, what particular destinations’ architecture have made an impression on you?

      1. Tricia, good question. By far the most captivating are the mosaic tiles on the exterior of Islamic madrassahs, misuse, ands mausoleums in Samarkand and Bokhara. They are fitting for the best of world architecture. You can see them in my 2014 posts from early September or do a search. I don’t know much about Malta, are there any Muslim influences there? If so, you might know what I mean.

      2. Vickie, I’ve seen a lot about Samarkand and Bokhara, and would someday like to visit Uzbekistan. How much time did you spend there? I have not been to Isfahan, but the architecture seems reminiscent of what you saw in Uzbekistan. As for Malta, we’ve so far been only attending to administrative tasks and not much sightseeing, but I cannot wait to get out and explore! The Maltese language is said to sound very much like Arabic (though written in a Latin script) and the architecture also has Arab influences (arabesques on churches, etc.) and many Maltese towns still have Arab names (Mdina, Rabat, etc.) It’s a fascinating island. Thanks for pointing me in the direction of your architectural posts!

      3. Hi Tricia, I just noticed that I had not responded to your questions until now! My apologies. I spent a week in Uzbekistan with a private driver and guide, and found this very efficient. Three days in each would be sufficient, but I spent only two in each. I am interested in going to Isfahan to see the royal Islamic architecture there, but hope that these magical cities represented some of the best in their own way. Especially as they are UNESCO world sites, I felt that they were a good introduction to the treasures of this lost period. I can imagine that there are many reminiscent aspects of Islamic culture in Malta, and to trace them would be fascinating.

      4. Thanks for providing these additional details about your journey, Vickie. I’m definitely eager to explore more of Malta’s cultural & historical sites, of which there are many.

    1. Tiffani, so are we! There are so many wonderful cats and dogs waiting for a home around the world; we’re happy we could help facilitate this adoption, and in the process pick up a temporary travel buddy, and dear new friends. Wishing you all the best with your new business venture. :)

    1. Roos, I can appreciate that! :) Someday, when we have a ‘forever home’ I can imagine cobbling together all the architectural elements of places which we’ve greatly enjoyed. A Bellinzona window or two would be a great addition.

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