I like being in Ticino. On the way by bike, paddling on the lake, hiking in the mountains, swimming, sailing. There is everything. Wilderness and silence, adventure, art, modernity and past, exciting architecture, smuggling, history, politics, wealth and scarce budgets. Holidays in Ascona are exciting and relaxing at the same time, independent from the weather and in what direction one is heading.
Today I decided going hiking on the Monti di Pino. This is a day trip, since the steep ascent requires fitness and means a height difference of 871m. The view into the valley, across the lake and into the mountains is breath-taking and hard to beat. At the foot of the mountain lie Ascona, Ronco, Italy, in the blue sky fly hawks and birds whose names I don’t know, on the rocks green and brown lizards frightened taking their heels. Since it is very windy today several sailing boats are on the lake but from here on the top they look tiny, just like out of an airplane.
The top is ascended and after almost one hour – I cannot get enough from this view – I start with the descent back to the valley. The hiking paths are still not very busy and most of the time I am on my own. Spring makes itself felt in vegetation and the fresh air and the plants mix to a colourful, unique and unforgettable combination.
And then I see the Osteria da Peo and on the door a sign that it is open. Yes, a coffee would be nice. Just, it does not stop with the coffee. The authentic fresh cuisine together with the dazzling view over the lake and the mountains cannot be excelled by any Gault Millau chef. It is hard choice between the rabbit, knuckle of veal, tripe and lamb. In the end I go for Osso Bucco with polenta. It is delicious. The meat melts away on the tongue, the sauce is strong and aromatic and the polenta is creamy and rounded. I did not expect such culinary top performance here. And the coffee at the end tasted just like freshly roasted.
In case you do not have any plans for the weekend and the weather is nice, consider hiking on the Monti di Pino from the Ascona side. But don’t take any provisions, since it would be a culinary sin to miss the Grotto da Peo and that would be a pity.
Monti di Ronco Sopra Ascona da Elisa e Cris
+41 917917000 open until end of September.