10. Vacation memories: Bellinzona – part 1

We took our kids from Toronto, Canada to Switzerland on vacation. This is our adventure.

This is a multi-part series. Scroll down to the end of this post for a list of the previous stories in chronological order.


Waking up in the tiny village nestled into the mountain side in the Swiss Italian Alps the next morning is indescribable.

Should I show you instead?

After yesterday’s train adventures, my uncle generously showed us around his beautiful home, and even supplied us with enough food to last us for at least a couple of days. He knew with the delay we’d have no access to shopping later, given that small villages only have one store and limited hours of operation.

Based on what he supplied us with, we knew we wouldn’t starve. He even included fruit for the children. πŸ™‚

The next day was Saturday and the plan was to attend the Bellinzona open air market.

So this market is a whole thing. Everyone who’s been to the market tells us we must do the market. There is no point to coming down here and not go to the market. Make sure you go to the market, they kept insisting.

I’ve been, many moons ago. It was at this market that I bought my wooden bowls and matching spoons, hand-crafted by the locals here.

Get the prosciutto and the salami, they said. Get the Grappa, it’s made by local vineyards behind the hospital!

The vineyards are plentiful around here I tell you. But they are tiny. Basically, everyone has a vineyard to supply themselves with some wine for the upcoming season, and if they don’t then the neighbour does.

Every parcel of land in this gorgeous part of the country is either converted into a vineyard, a vegetable patch, or a flower garden.


So anyway, the plan was to leave Momo and Fiorella, my aunt’s dogs, in the house while we went to the market. It was going to be too hot for them anyway. My aunt walked them earlier in the day, up to the alpine pool and the creek along an alpine trail, and they were going to sleep all day.

My uncle left us his car. (OMG he is so generous…I can’t even begin to explain how this made me feel.) He returned to Zurich on his motorcycle after he showed us around and left us for as long as we wanted to stay.

“I’m coming down on Friday, with my buddies,” he said. “You have the place until then.”


My aunt drove us down in his car to Bellinzona for about 9 am-ish and we looked forward to checking out this famous market.


The entire town was asleep.

There were no stalls, no people, nothing. It was…weird.

Even all the local shops in the area were closed.

My aunt discovered some women sitting on a bench beside a lovely roman church and approached them. It seems, she found out, that there is some big catholic festival happening, and the market is cancelled, they informed us.


But you know what? It was ok. It was better than ok. We got a chance to walk around the old town on the cobblestone roads, take in the fabulous architecture, the coloured stucco on the walls, the flower-decorated cast-iron balconies, all the beauty without being bumped and tripped over by the masses.

It was lovely.

Plus, the famous castle in Bellinzona was a sight to behold as well. We toured it like proper tourists and took a million photos.

To be continued…


  1. Vacation memories: travel day – part 1
  2. Vacation memories: travel day – part 2
  3. Vacation memories: from flight attendant to passenger 20 years later
  4. Vacation memories: arrival in Zurich
  5. Vacation memories: exhaustion and a trip down memory lane – part 1
  6. Vacation memories: exhaustion and a trip down memory lane part 2
  7. Vacation memories: exhaustion and a trip down memory lane part 3

7.1Vacation side note: what is wrong with me?
8. Vacation memories: Swiss train adventures

8.1 Vacation memories: after arrival in the village
9. Vacation side note: writing surrounded by beauty

14 thoughts on “10. Vacation memories: Bellinzona – part 1

  1. Talk about old world charm! Here is my takeaway from this post – The Market may be really important, but the Church is even more important. Cannot say I can say that would happen anywhere I have been. Nope. The only thing around here that would cause a huge market to close would be a hurricane, and even that is a big “maybe”

    Liked by 1 person

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