USI and Ticino
That part of the Swiss Confederation which lies entirely south of the Alps is known as "Svizzera italiana", Switzerland's Italian-speaking region. It comprises the whole of Canton Ticino and four valleys of Canton Grisons (namely Mesolcina, Calanca, Bregaglia and Poschiavo) for a total population of just over 330,000. Lugano, with its population of more than 58,000, is the largest city of the Cantone and the third financial centre in Switzerland. Bellinzona with its three beautiful castels is the capital. Other towns worth mentioning are: Locarno, Mendrisio and Chiasso which is next to the Italian border.
Italophone Switzerland blends cultural components that are typically Italian with a tradition of politics and administration that is unmistakably Swiss. Ticino has experienced a great expansion in tourism, and has fully integrated its role as a rail and road axis between North and South.
Ticino's climate is temperate with mild winters and hot summers. With the San Gottardo's Glacier lying only a few miles distance from the blossoming shores of Parco Ciani, the region's unique natural contrasts are well known throughout Europe, and make this region one of the most flourishing of Switzterland.