Ticino (//), sometimes Tessin (/ /,), officially the Republic and Canton of Ticino or less formally the Canton of Ticino, is one of the 26 cantons forming the Swiss Confederation. It is composed of eight districts and its capital city is Bellinzona. It is also traditionally divided into the Sopraceneri and the Sottoceneri, respectively north and south of Monte Ceneri. Red and blue are the colours of its flag.
|Republic and Canton of Ticino|
|Subdivisions||115 municipalities, 8 districts|
|• Executive||Council of State (5)|
|• Legislative||Grand Council (90)|
|• Total||2,812.21 km2 (1,085.80 sq mi)|
|• Density||120/km2 (320/sq mi)|
|ISO 3166 code||CH-TI|
|Highest point||3,402 m (11,161 ft): Adula (Rheinwaldhorn)|
|Lowest point||195 m (640 ft): Lake Maggiore|
Ticino is the southernmost canton of Switzerland. It is one of the three large southern Alpine cantons, along with Valais and the Grisons. However, unlike all other cantons, it lies almost entirely south of the Alps. Through the main crest of the Gotthard and adjacent mountain ranges, it borders the canton of Valais to the northwest, the canton of Uri to the north and the canton of Grisons to the northeast; the latter canton being also the only one to share some borders with Ticino at the level of the plains. The canton shares international borders with Italy as well, including a small Italian enclave.
Named after the Ticino, its longest river, it is the only canton where Italian is the sole official language and represents the bulk of the Italian-speaking area of Switzerland along with the southern parts of the Grisons. In 2019, Ticino had a population of 351,491. The largest city is Lugano and the two other notable centres are Bellinzona and Locarno. The canton is a major tourist destination and is renowned for its distinct culture and gastronomy, and also for its warmer climate, especially around Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano.
The land now occupied by the canton was annexed from Italian cities in the 15th century by various Swiss forces in the last transalpine campaigns of the Old Swiss Confederacy. In the Helvetic Republic, established 1798, it was divided between the two new cantons of Bellinzona and Lugano. The creation of the Swiss Confederation in 1803 saw these two cantons combine to form the modern canton of Ticino. Because of its unusual position, the canton relies on important infrastructures for connections with the rest of the country. The first major north-south railway link, the Gotthard Railway, opened in 1882. In 2016, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the first flat route through the Alps, was inaugurated.