Ticino

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Repubblica e Cantone Ticino
Canton of Switzerland
Coat of arms of Repubblica e Cantone Ticino
Coat of arms
Map of Switzerland, location of Ticino highlighted
Location in Switzerland
Coordinates: 46°19′N 8°49′E / 46.317°N 8.817°E / 46.317; 8.817Coordinates: 46°19′N 8°49′E / 46.317°N 8.817°E / 46.317; 8.817
Capital Bellinzona
Largest City Lugano
Subdivisions 157 municipalities, 8 districts
Government
 • Executive Executive Council (5)
 • Legislative Grand Council (90)
Area[1]
 • Total 2,812.2 km2 (1,085.8 sq mi)
Population (12/2012)[2]
 • Total 341,652
 • Density 120/km2 (310/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
Joined 1803
Languages Italian
Website TI.ch

The Republic and Canton of Ticino or Ticino (Italian pronunciation: [tiˈtʃiːno]; German: Tessin [tɛˈsiːn]; see also in other languages) is the southernmost canton of Switzerland. Ticino borders the Canton of Uri to the north, Valais to the west (through the Novena Pass), Graubünden to the northeast, Italy's regions of Piedmont and Lombardy to the south and it surrounds the small Italian exclave of Campione d'Italia.

Named after the Ticino 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 sections of Graubünden.

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 cantons of Bellinzona and Lugano, which since the formation of the Swiss Confederation five years later have been the canton's districts.

History[edit]

In ancient times, the area of what is today Ticino was settled by the Lepontii, a Celtic tribe. Later, probably around the rule of Augustus, it became part of the Roman Empire. After the fall of the Western Empire, was ruled by the Ostrogoths, the Lombards and the Franks. Around 1100 it was the centre of struggle between the free communes of Milan and Como: in the 14th century it was acquired by the Visconti, Dukes of Milan. In the fifteenth century the Swiss Confederates conquered the valleys south of the Alps in three separate conquests.

Between 1403 and 1422 some of these lands were already annexed by forces from the Canton of Uri, but subsequently lost. Uri conquered the Leventina Valley in 1440.[3] In a second conquest Uri, Schwyz and Nidwalden gained the town of Bellinzona and the Riviera in 1500.[3] Some of the land and Bellinzona itself were previously annexed by Uri in 1419 but lost again in 1422. The third conquest was fought by troops from the entire Confederation (at that time constituted by 12 cantons). In 1512 Locarno, the Maggia Valley, Lugano and Mendrisio were annexed. Subsequently, the upper valley of the Ticino River, from the St. Gotthard to the town of Biasca (Leventina Valley) was part of Uri. The remaining territory (Baliaggi Ultramontani, Ennetbergische Vogteien, the Bailiwicks Beyond the Mountains) was administered by the Twelve Cantons. These districts were governed by bailiffs holding office for two years and purchasing it from the members of the League.[3]

Ticinese franco, currency of Ticino until the introduction of the Swiss franc in 1850.
Stone house in Valle Verzasca

The lands of the canton of Ticino are the last lands to be conquered by the Swiss Confederation. The Confederation gave up any further conquests after their defeat at the battle of Marignano in 1515 by Francis I of France. The Val Leventina revolted unsuccessfully against Uri in 1755.[3] In February 1798 an attempt of annexation by the Cisalpine Republic was repelled by a volunteer militia in Lugano. Between 1798 and 1803, during the Helvetic Republic, the districts of Bellinzona and Lugano were separate cantons, but in 1803 the two were unified to form the canton of Ticino that joined the Swiss Confederation as a full member in the same year.[3] During the Napoleonic Wars, many Ticinesi (as was the case for other Swiss) served in Swiss military units allied with the French. The canton minted its own currency, the Ticinese franco, between 1813 and 1850, when it began use of the Swiss franc.

In the early 19th century, Ticino was the poorest of the cantons of Switzerland. According to the contemporary Franco-Danish scholar Conrad Malte-Brun, "in no part of Switzerland is there more poverty, bordering on wretchedness, so much idleness, and so little industry".[4] Until 1878 the three largest cities, Bellinzona, Lugano and Locarno, alternated as capital of the canton. In 1878, however, Bellinzona became the only and permanent capital. The 1870-1891 period saw a surge of political turbulence in Ticino, and the authorities needed the assistance of the federal government to restore order in several instances, in 1870, 1876, 1889 and 1890-1891.[5]

The current cantonal constitution dates from 1997. The previous constitution, heavily modified, was codified in 1830, nearly 20 years before the constitution of the Swiss Confederation.[6]

Geography[edit]

Hamlet of Brunescio on the left flank of Vallemaggia

The canton of Ticino is located in the south of Switzerland. It is almost entirely surrounded by Italy which lies to its east, west and south. To the north lie the cantons of Valais and Uri, to the northeast the canton of Graubünden.

Its area is 2,812 square kilometres (1,086 sq mi), of which about three quarters are considered productive.[7] Forests cover about a third of the area, but also the lakes Maggiore and Lugano make up a considerable part of the total area. These lakes are known with the above listed names, but are officially named Lake Verbano and Lake Ceresio.

The canton is split geographically in two parts by the Monte Ceneri pass. The northern, more mountainous part, the Sopraceneri, is formed by the two major Swiss valleys around Lake Maggiore: Ticino valley and Maggia valley. The southern part, the Sottoceneri, is the region around Lake Lugano.

The Ticino river is the largest river in the canton. It drains most of the canton, flowing from the northwest through the Bedretto valley and the Leventina valley to enter Lake Maggiore near Locarno. Its main tributaries are the Brenno in the Blenio valley and the Moesa in the Mesolcina valley in Graubünden. The lands of the canton are shaped by the river, which in its mid portion forms a wide valley, commonly known as the Riviera.

The western lands of the canton, however, are drained by the Maggia River. The Verzasca valley is located between the Ticino river and the Maggia river. There is also a smaller area that drains directly into the Lake Lugano. Most of the land is considered within the Alps (Lepontine Alps), but a small area is part of the plain of the River Po which drains the north of Italy.

Climate[edit]

The climate of Ticino, while remaining alpine, is noticeably milder than the rest of Switzerland's, enjoying a higher number of sunshine hours and generally warmer temperatures.[8] Additionally, Ticino is prone to fierce storms and has the highest level of lightning discharge in the whole of Europe.[citation needed]

Government[edit]

The current Constitution of the Republic and Canton of Ticino, originating from a draft approved on 18 August 1801 during the Helvetic Republic,[9] was approved on 14 December 1997.[10] In its preamble, it states that it was created by the Ticinese people (popolo) "in order to guaranty peaceful life together with respect for the dignity of man, fundamental liberties and social justice (...) faithful to its historic task to interpret Italian culture within the Helvetic Confederation".[10]

The Grand Council (Gran Consiglio) is the legislative authority of the canton, exercising sovereignty over any matter not explicitly delegated by the constitution to another authority.[10] The Gran Consiglio has 90 members called deputati (deputies), elected in a single constituency using the proportional representation system.[10] Deputies serve four-year terms, and annually nominate a President and two Vice-Presidents. The Gran Consiglio meets in Bellinzona, the cantonal capital.[10]

The five-member Council of State (Italian: Consiglio di Stato), not to be confused with the federal Council of States, is the executive authority of the canton, and it directs cantonal affairs according to law and the constitution. It is elected in a single constituency using the proportional representation system. Currently, the five members of the Government are: Marco Borradori, Paolo Beltraminelli, Manuele Bertoli, Norman Gobbi and Laura Sadis. Each year, the Council of State nominates its president.[10] The current president of the Council of State is Marco Borradori.[11]

Since a referendum in September 2013, Ticino is the only Swiss canton where wearing full-face veils is illegal.[12]

Political subdivisions[edit]

Districts[edit]

Districts of Ticino canton

The Canton of Ticino is divided into 8 districts:

Municipalities[edit]

There are 157 municipalities in the canton (as of November 2010). These municipalities (comuni) are grouped in 38 circoli (circles or sub-districts) which are in turn grouped into districts (distretti). Since late 1990 there is an ongoing project to aggregate some municipalities.

Demographics[edit]

A view of Lugano, the largest city in Ticino
Swisscom Telecommunications headquarters in Bellinzona, designed by Mario Botta

Ticino has a population (as of 31 December 2012) of 341,652.[2] As of 2008, the population included 82,794 foreigners, or about 25.2% of the total population.[13] The population density (in 2005) is 114.6 persons per km2.[7] As of 2000, 83.1% of the population spoke Italian, 8.3% spoke German and 1.7% spoke Serbo-Croatian.[7] The population (as of 2011) is mostly Roman Catholic (69%) with a Protestant (5%) minority.[14]

The official language, and the one used for most written communication, is Swiss Italian. Despite being very similar to standard Italian, Swiss Italian presents some differences to the Italian spoken in Italy due to the presence of French and German from which it assimilates words. Dialects of the Lombard language such as Ticinese are still spoken, especially in the valleys, but they are not used for official purposes.

Despite the dominance of Italian-speakers, fluency in German is an important prerequisite in many jobs, be they in shops and restaurants catering to German-speaking tourists or in the insurance and banking business.[15]

Economy[edit]

Tertiary sector workers make up 76.5% of the Ticinese workforce, compared to the Swiss average of 67.1%. Commerce (23.1%), tourism (10.1%) and financial activities (3.9%) are all important for the local economy, while the contribution from agriculture and fishing is marginal, employing 6.5% of the workforce on a Swiss average of 15.4%.[16]

Lugano is Switzerland's third largest financial center after Zurich and Geneva.[17] The banking industry alone has 8,400 employees and generates 17% of the gross cantonal product.[17] Because of Ticino's shared language and culture, its financial industry has very close ties to Italy.[17] In 2008, Ticino had an unemployment rate of 5%, higher than in rest of Switzerland, where it was estimated at 3.4%, and particularly high for foreigners (over 8%).[18]

Frontalieri, commuter workers living in Italy (mostly in the provinces of Varese and Como) but working regularly in Ticino, form a large part (over 20%) of the workforce, far larger than in the rest of Switzerland, where the rate is below 5%. Foreigners in general hold 44.3% of all the jobs, again a much higher rate than elsewhere in the Confederation (27%).[19] Frontalieri are usually paid less than Swiss workers for their jobs, and tend to serve as low-cost labor.[20]

Italy is by far Ticino's most important foreign trading partner, but there's a huge trade deficit between imports (5 billion CHF) and exports (1.9 billion).[21] Many Italian companies relocate to Ticino, either temporarily or permanently, seeking lower taxes and an efficient bureaucracy:[22] just as many Ticinese entrepreneurs doing business in Italy complain of red tape and widespread protectionism.[23]

Transport[edit]

The Gotthard Base Tunnel, currently under construction, will be the longest railroad tunnel in the world[24]

There are several tunnels underneath the Gotthard Pass connecting the canton to northern Switzerland: the first to be opened was the 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) long Gotthard Rail Tunnel in 1882, replacing the pass road, connecting Airolo with Göschenen in the Canton of Uri.[25] A 17 km (11 mi) motorway tunnel, the Gotthard Road Tunnel, opened in 1980.[26] A second rail tunnel through the pass, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, is currently under construction. When completed, it will be the longest tunnel in the world,[24] reducing travel time between Zürich and Lugano to 1 hour 40 minutes.[24]

Treni Regionali Ticino Lombardia (TiLo), a joint venture between the Italian Ferrovie dello Stato and the Swiss Federal Railways launched in 2004, manages the traffic between the regional railways of Lombardy and the Ticino railway network via a S-Bahn system.[27]

The Regional Bus and Rail Company of Canton Ticino provides the urban and suburban bus network of Locarno, operates the cable cars between Verdasio and Rasa, and between Intragna – Pila – Costa on behalf of the owning companies, and, together with an Italian company, the Centovalli and Vigezzina Railway which connects the Gotthard trans-Alpine rail route at Locarno with the Simplon trans-Alpine route.

Lugano Airport is the busiest airport in southern Switzerland, serving some 200,000 passengers a year.[28]

Education[edit]

There are two major centres of education and research located in the canton of Ticino. University of the Italian Switzerland (USI, Università della Svizzera Italiana) in Lugano is the only Swiss university teaching in Italian. The University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI, Scuola Universitaria Professionale della Svizzera Italiana), in Manno, is a professional training college focused on a practical method of teaching in the areas of applied art, economy, social work, technology and production science.[17]

There is also a small American and Swiss accredited private college, Franklin College Switzerland, located above Lugano,[29] as well as The American School in Switzerland in Collina d'Oro, a K-13 international school accepting day and boarding students.

Culture[edit]

There are four daily Italian-language newspapers published in Ticino: Corriere del Ticino, laRegione Ticino, Giornale del Popolo and Il Grigione Italiano.[30]

The city of Locarno is host to the Locarno International Film Festival, Switzerland's most prestigious film festival.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Arealstatistik Standard - Kantonsdaten nach 4 Hauptbereichen
  2. ^ a b Swiss Federal Statistics Office – STAT-TAB Ständige und Nichtständige Wohnbevölkerung nach Region, Geschlecht, Nationalität und Alter (German) accessed16 Septemeber 2013
  3. ^ a b c d e "Switzerland". Encyclopædia Britannica 26. 1911. pp. 933–4. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  4. ^ System of universal geography founded on the works of Malte-Brun and Balbi — Open Library (p. 373)
  5. ^ Constituting Federal Sovereignty: The European Union in Comparative Context By Leslie Friedman Goldstein, page 132
  6. ^ "The Constitution of Ticino". Ti.ch. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 
  7. ^ a b c Federal Department of Statistics (2008). "Regional Statistics for Ticino". Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  8. ^ Walkingworld - THE TREKKING 700 ROUTE
  9. ^ "Il Canton Ticino si appresta a festeggiare i suoi 200 anni" (in Italian). swissinfo. 2001-08-20. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Constitution of the Republic and Canton of Ticino" (in Italian). Federal Authorities of the Swiss Confederation. 1997-12-14. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  11. ^ "Il Consiglio di Stato – Potere esecutivo" (in Italian). Portal of the Canton Ticino. Retrieved 9 July 2009. 
  12. ^ Squires, Nick. "Burkas and niqabs banned from Swiss canton". Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  13. ^ Federal Department of Statistics (2008). "Ständige Wohnbevölkerung nach Staatsangehörigkeit, Geschlecht und Kantonen" (Microsoft Excel). Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  14. ^ "Population résidante permanente de 15 ans et plus, ventilée selon l'appartenance religieuse et confessionnelle et le canton". Office fédéral de la statistique. 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  15. ^ Sociolinguistic Studies in Language Contact: Methods and Cases edited by William Mackey, Jacob Ornstein, page 426
  16. ^ "Aziende per settore e sezione di attività economica" (in Italian). Ufficio di statistica. 2008-01-15. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  17. ^ a b c d "Ticino". United States Commercial Service. 2007-03-14. Retrieved 2008-11-06. [dead link]
  18. ^ "Disoccupati iscritti e non e tasso di disoccupazione" (in Italian). Ufficio di statistica. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  19. ^ "Occupati stranieri e frontalieri" (in Italian). Ufficio di statistica. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  20. ^ Frontalieri in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  21. ^ "Commercio estero". Ufficio di statistica. 2009-07-01. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  22. ^ "Seicento ditte italiane in fuga verso il Ticino" (in Italian). Il caffè. 2009-07-05. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  23. ^ "In Italia c'è ancora troppa burocrazia" (in Italian). Il Caffè. 2009-07-05. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  24. ^ a b c "Alp Transit 2016: verso nuovi equilibri territoriali" (in Italian). Portal of Canton Ticino. 2006-10-20. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  25. ^ Hans-Peter Bärtschi: Gotthardbahn in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland, 2004-07-29.
  26. ^ Gotthard Pass – The traffics from the late 19th century to the present in German, French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland.
  27. ^ "Tilo: un primo bilancio positivo". Portal of Canton Ticino. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  28. ^ "Airport traffic statistics". Airports Council International. 2005-12-06. Retrieved 8 July 2009. 
  29. ^ About Franklin - The International Imperative - Franklin College
  30. ^ "Il Grigione Italiano". Ilgrigioneitaliano.ch. 2010-06-26. Retrieved 2012-01-28. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Marcello Sorce Keller,“Canton Ticino: una identità musicale?”, Cenobio, LII(2003), April–June, pp. 171–184; also later published in Bulletin – Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Musikethnologie und Gesellschaft für die Volksmusik in der Schweiz, October 2005, pp. 30–37.

External links[edit]