Wednesday, January 31, 2018

RSI Open Doors

Listen up! The RSI (Radiotelevisione Svizzera Italiana) are opening up there doors on Saturday. Wouldn't you like to have a peak into their studios of Comano?

For the past 60 years, RSI has been committed to offering the Italian-speaking Switzerland public news shows, radio programmes, debates, surveys, culture, sports, entertainment, documentaries, cooking programs, game shows, childrens' hours and much more. These programmes bring together a large part of the Italian Swiss audience via radio, television, mobile phones and tablets.

Journalists, conductors, presenters, directors, operators will be available to present (and to let you experiment) their work as well as show you their technical means. You can sit in the place of the presenter of the TeleGiornale, visit the Sport Studio and the kitchen of Cuochi d’artificio, browse in their virtual studio and meet some familiar faces that enter our living rooms every day in the makeup room. You can also have a good laugh, trying to present the weather yourself.

Venue: RSI Open Doors
Where: RSI Studi TV, Via Curelia, 6949 Comano
Date: Saturday Feb 3rd, 2018
Time: 15:00
Entrance is free
For more info call Tel. 091 803 51 11 or write to

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Nonna's favourite family recipe

It seemed fitting to share one of Nonna's recipes today. I have taken a page out of Expat boy's homemade cookbook which he published age 15. The story behind the dish says it all...

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Ticino's Carnival tradition

Lugano and its surroundings will surprise you the most fun-filled days of the year, i.e. those dedicated to "Carnevale" kicking off in Roveredo on January 30th. On Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, Bellinzona hosts the festivities with "Guggenbands" and a large masked parade. A carnivalesque tradition that is repeated in Chiasso when the communal authorities hand over the keys of the city to the Prime Minister who, to mark the occasion, transforms it into the Free Republic of Nebiopoli. According to the Ambrosian rite, the party continues in Tesserete near Lugano with “risotto and luganighe” a go-go and a large masked parade led by his majesty .

Traditionally associated with showmanship, Carnival is all about having fun, indulgence and letting go. In a peasant community like the one that existed in Ticino until around the mid-20th century, Carnival represented a time of plentiful eating, due mainly to the fact that this period preceded Lent, a time devoted to abstinence, fasting, penitence, moderation and spiritual discipline, especially at mealtimes.

The traditional Carnival dish was "risotto" accompanied by "luganighette" (traditional Ticino sausage) and it was also customary to eat chestnuts with cream. Carnival was also one of the rare occasions dedicated to having fun and socializing with others. Music and dancing encouraged contact between young people. "Tombola" (a form of Italian bingo) was played and contests to climb the "Palo della Cuccagna", i.e. a greasy pole, were held in a bid to capture the gifts and food dangling from the top. In towns and villages, Carnival was marked by plays, masked balls and the circulation of satirical newspapers.

The end of Carnival was announced by the ringing of a bell and in some regions by a bonfire. In the areas in which the Roman rite was celebrated, Carnival festivities ended on Mardi Gras while in other places, in keeping with the Ambrosian rite, it continued until Saturday.

Click here for the Ticino Carnevale calendar 2018

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Carnevale in Ticino 2018

The definition of Carnival: A festival celebrated with merriment and revelry in Roman Gatholic countries during the week before Lent, during a few days (three to ten) before Lent, ending with Shrove Tuesday. Any merrymaking, feasting, or masquerading, especially when overstepping the bounds of decorum; a time of riotous excess.

Carnevale in Ticino is as big a deal as it is in Basel just that nobody knows about it! That is if you don't live in the Ticino. We don't have skiing holidays like the rest of Switzerland, we have Carnevale holidays .... eventough everybody goes skiing!!!

Bellinzona's carnival is Ticino's most famous celebration. Following the Roman-rite, the party starts on Thursday night when the keys of the city are handed over to King Rabadan, who will rule the happy crowds until the following Tuesday. But not only Rabadan: many more carnivals are warming up the cold winter days in the Canton.

In Locarno, the "Stranociada" is an appointment not to be missed on Friday night, where the old town is invaded by masks, little tents, Guggen, music and pure fun until early in the morning.

The Nebiopoli Carnival in Chiasso is the most important Roman-rite carnival in the Sottoceneri region, and its peculiarity is the absence of a king: in fact, the hand-over of power during the carnival goes to a Prime Minister, who transforms the town into the "Free Republic of Nebiopoli"'. During the "republican week", masked groups and Guggen transform the streets of the centre into a place where fun rules. The peak of the celebrations is Mardi Gras Nebiopoli masked parade, featuring large numbers of floats, groups, bands and Guggenmusik.

In many different locations throughout the Canton, celebrations take place only at the end of the Carnival week, following the Ambrosian rite. Biasca, Brissago and Tesserete can pride themselves with some of the busiest Carnivals, with their Saturday parades featuring masked groups, floats and Guggen music bands. The large masked parties in public spaces all over the town centres start on Thursday night, with games, free risotto for everybody, many confetti and bands performing live music. A wild world of colors, masks and sounds, eventually winding down only on Sunday morning.

Here is the entire calendar for the Ticino Carnevale: Carnevali-in-Ticino-2018. So pick and choose your venue and start partying! Have fun!!!

Monday, January 22, 2018

What is the Swiss Federal Topographical Bureau?

swisstopo is participating in the Year for Cultural Heritage by exhibiting its many contributions in this field. Discover its rich program throughout 2018, from the founding document that is the Dufour map to the documenting of the long-term evolution of the landscape based on geodata of increasing variation.

The constant evolution of the Swiss mapping tradition since the creation of the “Swiss Federal Topographical Bureau” in 1838 by Guillaume-Henri Dufour allows to precisely document over a century of landscape changes. swisstopo’s maps and geodata are true witnesses to the landscape of their time and also reflect its techniques, concerns and culture in general.

Topographical maps thus constitute cultural assets of national importance in their own right, as well as having the characteristic of graphically representing many of these objects. Just as important as its maps, swisstopo also has an important collection of aerial and terrestrial photographs, the oldest dating back to 1915. The evolution of techniques and tools throughout the Office’s 180-year history is an equally important cultural heritage.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Foreign population in Switzerland

With 19 entries per 1000 inhabitants on average in 2014, Switzerland is leading the European immigration countries, far ahead of Germany (11), UK (9.8), Spain (6.6) and France (5.1).

The high rate of immigration in Switzerland is certainly not new. Immigration is a recurring theme of the last fifty years, one on which Switzerland has voted repeatedly in the polls. In February 2014, voters narrowly approved a popular initiative for stricter immigration controls.

The proportion of foreigners and their nationality of origin vary considerably in different regions of Switzerland. French-speaking Switzerland, in the west, home to the largest proportion of foreigners, contrasts strongly with the situation in central Switzerland. Citizens of Germany, France and Italy are, not surprisingly, more likely to live in regions where their native language is spoken.

It should also be noted that Swiss citizenship is not automatically acquired by all. Even many foreigners born in Switzerland retain only their original nationality. According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, almost 396'000 foreign nationals were born in Switzerland in 2015, accounting for about a fifth of the "foreign" population. Among foreigners living in Switzerland who were born elsewhere, some 44% have lived in Switzerland, as a permanent resident, for 10 years or more.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Expat with Kids' word cloud

With a little time on my hands this morning I decided to dig up an app I hadn't used in years. Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. Well, I am happy to see Expat with Kids, Lugano, Ticino and Switzerland came out on top.

Happy weekend to all!

Friday, January 12, 2018

When the Swiss get creative...

It all started in 1993 with a cow step dancing. Some people smiled others didn't but SwissMilk has continued down this advertising campaign theme over the decades having a cow named Lovely dancing samba, skeleton riding, playing football, mountaineering and signing capella.

Wishing you a lovely weekend with lots of snow and hopefully some sunshine, I am hoping you'll enjoy SwissMilk's latest ad as much as I did.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Lugano's Olive path

How could we resist the beautiful sunshine? Spending a few days in Lugano over the holidays we were very lucky with the weather. When in Switzerland do as the Swiss, so, we stepped into nature for an invigorating breath of fresh air!

We opted for a hike along the "Olive Path" - a route through lush country with impressive panoramas - enjoying a landscape reminiscent of the Mediterranean. The trail wound along the lake and passed across the remains of old olive groves and areas on which this prized tree is being planted anew. The path thread its way through several little plantations of young olive trees as well as several examples of very old trees.

At the end of the trail lies one of Ticino's most charming village called Gandria. Between its alleys and stairways we discovered charming little corners, miniscule terraced gardens, old staircases and walls decorated with frescos. It was a perfect place to play hide and seek...

The view down the valley towards Gandria.

The view towards Lugano.

A glorious day in the Ticino, Switzerland's sunniest canton called "Sonnenstube".

Feeling like I'm in Ibiza.

After a swift 3km hike we arrived in Gandria.

Church of Gandria.

The village is so small only about 250 people live there.
Gandria can only be reached by foot, bike or boat.

Luckily no one steals their neighbours' firewood in this village.

Off-season stillness and peace.

A romantic entrance.

Imagine arriving to your doorstep via boat?

Olive trees wherever you look...

... or palm trees!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Sun-kissed Ticino

While the rest of Europe is being battered by winds up to 140km, ski resorts are closed due to excessive snowfalls and rain is forecast across the Northern Continent, the Ticino is enjoying some lovely days of sunshine and spectacular moonlit nights.

Admittedly, I would have loved to go skiing these holidays after having watched all the snow falling across the Alps over Christmas on TV, however, I am now not so sure.

Villages are snowed in, valleys cut off, routes blocked due landslides, chalets evacuated and entire ski areas closed due to danger of avalanches. Even the Gotthard tunnel - which runs 57km through the Alps - was closed this afternoon due to an accident, while I am strolling along the lake side of Lugano enjoying the beautiful blue skies.

Swiss Meteo forecasting rain at least for another two days across the country except...

... in sunny Ticino.

Blue skies wherever you turn.

Feel like a dip in the lake?!?

Lugano's 15m high Christmas tree in Piazza Rifoma.

A spectacular full moon on January 1st, 2018 over Monté Bre.
Although the "biggest full moon of 2018" doesn't look that different from a typical full moon, it is at the moon's closest point in orbit, called perigee, but it appears a bit bigger and brighter than other full moons.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Best of Expat with Kids 2017

You may or may not have seen the "Best 9 of 2017" grids popping up on your Instagram feed these past days? Well, I could not resist the trend and composed my own collage with the nine most-liked Ticino photos from Expat with Kids in 2017. This is what my #2017bestnine looks like... my heart is clearly still in Lugano...

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