Like Locarno, Ascona is located on the delta of the Maggia River, on the south bank. Although the village was active and known in the Middle Ages, finds discovered in the areas of San Materno and San Michele indicate the presence and activity by man in the area as early as the Neolithic period.
Today, Ascona is an important and exclusive international tourist destination known for its mild climate, beautiful village, spacious beach and exceptional history. The old town centre - built around the 16th-century Church of Santi Pietro e Paolo – is fascinating and quite charming. The marvellous baroque façade of casa Serodine (Serodine house) is worth pointing out, as are the magnificent collegiate established by Bartolomeo Papio in 1584, and the castello dei Ghiriglioni (Ghiriglioni castle) built in 1250. This is also home to the Museum of Modern Art where works by Klee are exhibited.
The patriciate played an important role in the development of the village as it was responsible for creating the renowned Golf Club di Ascona back in 1928 (now one of the absolute top in Switzerland), and more recently the Ascona harbour with room for 274 boats of various sizes.
Ascona has always attracted important personalities, so much so that on the hill behind the city is the renowned Monte Verità - one of the most alternative experiences of the 20th century: a nudist and vegetarian community, a revolutionary utopia, later frequented by some of the most important artists and intellectuals of the 20th century, including Jung and Hermann Hesse. This cultural centre and the three museums created to explain this important experience are certainly worth touring.
Ronco sopra Ascona - the balcony over Lake Maggiore - is easy to reach and has an unrivalled view of the lake and mountains.
Ascona is in a turmoil from the end of June to the beginning of July thanks to the JazzAscona festival dedicated to the world of jazz and the city of New Orleans. This important event captures the town’s attention and attracts thousands of enthusiastic, curious people.
A new music event takes place at the end of August: Settimane Musicali di Ascona, which usually takes place through October. It's the most important classical music event in Italian Switzerland.
Every year between the end of July and the beginning of August, Ascona invites horse enthusiasts to the Concorso ippico internazionale CSI di Ascona, an event dedicated to horse-riding with participants from all around the world.