swiss cozy murder mysteries Ascona
Behind the Pages

Ascona – This couldn’t be Switzerland

The Switzerland I knew from travel shows and magazines was one of snow covered mountains and wooden ski chalets with steep roofs.

So imagine my surprise when I arrived in Southern Switzerland instead–a sun-soaked land of candy-colored houses, palm trees, and Italian dolce vita.

Ascona, where the Old Bookstore Mysteries are set, is where all the characteristics that make Southern Switzerland so unique come together. Tourists stream in from all over Switzerland to soak up its Mediterranean charm.

There is nothing better on a weekend than to stroll down its lakeside promenade, lined with colorful hotels, sit in one of the town’s busy cafes, and let your gaze linger over the sparking blue expanse of Lake Maggiore to the shores of Italy beyond.

In fact, this southern part of Switzerland extends into Italy, and shares its neighbor’s language, food, and history.

After lunch, leave the busy promenade behind, and slip into one of the winding cobblestoned alleys, tucked behind the grand Italianate palazzos, and explore the numerous boutiques.

The mild climate and continuous sunshine make Ascona, and this whole region of Switzerland, a garden paradise. Starting in March, with camellias, followed by azaleas bursting with bright blossoms in April, a riot of flowers, exotic trees, and tropical succulents greet the visitor at every turn.

No place exhibits this better than the Botanical Garden on the Brissago Islands. The gardens are mentioned in Out Of Print, the first book of the Old Bookstore Mysteries. And a neighboring island plays a central role in the book’s mystery. But the beauty of the botanical gardens is a topic for another post.

All images are the author’s own. Please do not copy or use without author’s permission.

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