Those who live and work in Ascona are faced with two temptations: to take a break in the square or to read in the library, since both places offer an extraordinary view of the lake.
German-speaking seniors like to move to Ticino; that is well known. However, why are people of working age settling in the South Canton? Often this happens, directly or indirectly, for emotional reasons but equally for love of the southern Helvetic landscape. Both are a great motivation for finding a job in Ticino. If these working people put down roots in Ascona on Lake Maggiore, they must overcome a typically Nordic way of thinking: “The sun shines so wonderfully in the blue sky, so you should take a stroll or at least walk along the lake’s shore.” Many newcomers feel, at least in the early days, as if they were on a kind of long-term vacation. However, the bright sunshine all year round is a real feature of this southern canton - and it makes the workday decidedly less grey. German-speaking people working in Ascona, are lured not only by this, but also by the famous lake promenade, called simply “Piazza”, flanked by a picturesque village centre, wonderful old plane trees and a unique view across the lakefront to Italy. Thus the Piazza represents a permanent invitation to a coffee break. There is more: that is not all: in the middle of the Piazza, just where new young plane trees were planted and the lake view is therefore the best, German-speaking visitors have even more to do: the “Biblioteca Popolare”, Ascona’s lending library. Either side of the entrance, you will find benches made of stone, and these are very popular in winter because they offer the best place in the Ticino winter sun. Even when it gets very cold, you can sit outside the library, at lunchtime with only with a shirt on. As most of the holiday guests are German-speaking, the library can score points with one more special feature: it is the only public library in Ticino that has more books in German than in Italian. If you settle down in the reading room with the many newspapers and magazines (or take them to the “reading garden”), there is even a better experience: holding NZZ (Neue ZürcherZeitung) you can enjoy the best lake view a library can offer in Switzerland. The library is also a place of cultural interaction.
There are monthly readings or lectures on contemporary literature, on the history of Ascona and on e-music. There will also be discussion evenings in German and Italian about individual reading material. During the events, personalities from the European cultural and intellectual world will also be introduced, including the writers Erich Maria Remarque, Max Frisch, Alfred Andersch, Friedrich Glauser and Karl Kerényi. The lending library also dedicates some of its events to the prose and lyric works of local people, such as Maria Rosaria Valentini, Daniela Calastri-Winzenried, Alberto Nessi, Eveline Hasler, Lauro Tognola, Alberto Jelmini, Claudine Giovannoni, Daniel Maggetti or Anna Felder. Moreover, for all those who are specifically interested in Ascona’s history and traditions, a so-called “totem” has been available since several months. This is a large touch screen with about 450 films designed by the TV/RADIO Station of the Italian part of Switzerland. These visual contributions cover the last eighty years of local history. Also, not far from the library you can find the antique bookshop “La Rondine” and the bookstore “Ascona, both offering many books on the lake and his history.
After choosing your place in the sun
with views of the lake you can also contemplate the history of Monte Verita (“Hill of Truth”). Early vegetarians and the forerunners of the hippies culture in Europe gathered here. After enjoying your coffee, you can also go and browse the windows of numerous shops and boutiques in the picturesque village center. Yet the lakeside plane trees always beckon and you feel lucky to find a free bench whether for a coffee, some work or to mingle with tourists in the year-round sunshine.