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The Castelgrande, Castello Montebello and Castello Sasso Corbaro protected the city of the Bellinzona, the capital of the canton of Ticino – a well-preserved example of late-medieval defensive structures located at a key strategic point on the Alpine pass. Each castle is worth a visit by its own right, but together with their defensive walls they offer a fascinatingly beautiful step back in time. A great place to stop for lunch – two hours is plenty.

We ate at **Il Fermento in the old town, which is a brewery with vaguely Italian food. Quite good.

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