But the Alps are always close by. Mountain tours that start in snow, ice and rock, end in balmy chestnut forests. Gentian blooming on Alpine pastures and wooded hills rising to high peaks on the shores of Ticino's lakes contrast with rich camellia on lakeshore promenades. If you want la dolce vita, search no more - it is waiting for you in the numerous sub-tropical parks and gardens. If you crave excitement, take a whitewater ride. And if you prefer cultural pursuits, they're available at every turn; romantic landscapes have always attracted poets and artists and inspired architects to dream up daring constructions - often based on ancient architectural tradition. A rich blend of past and future, north and south, mountains and plains, nature and culture, city and country - that's Ticino in a nutshell.