If you are looking for something different to do but with the most beautiful views of Lake Lugano, we suggest a visit to the Balcony of Italy! Imagine standing on a balcony, high above the stunning Italian landscape, with the cool mountain air on your face and the breathtaking views in front of you. This is the experience awaiting you at Monte Sighignola, also known as the Balcony of Italy.
Nestled in the heart of the Ticino Swiss-Italian border, this hidden gem offers a unique perspective of the stunning Italian countryside. In this blog, we will take you on a journey to discover the wonders of Monte Sighignola and why it’s a must-visit destination for any traveler.”
Although this place is not very big, and you can physically see all in 15 minutes (without a drink at the restaurant), we suggest at least an hour or two here with a little walk and relaxation. Especially when visiting on a clear sunny day. Check out photos and post to get inspired!
About Monte Sighignola And The Balcony Of Italy!
The Balcony of Italy is located in the Lugano Prealps, at the peak of Monte Sighignola. This is at 1,314 meter elevation and situated perfectly looking towards Lugano and the Ticino region of Switzerland.
Known in Italian as ‘Balcone d’Italia’, the location is prized for the alpine landscape that you can visit and enjoy for free yourself.
Fun Fact: In 1969, there were plans to construct a cable car from the top of the Monte Sighignola, across the Swiss upper slopes, to Campione d’Italia. The construction was started but it never ended up being finished.
How To Get To The Balcony of Italy?
The easiest and most efficient to get to Balcony of Italy is with a car. You can simply follow your google maps to the main parking area at the very top. The road is mostly tarmac, but some small sections are also gravel. You pass the pretty woodland area where it’s possible to see wild deer. It is good to know that the road is narrow and steep at some sections, but we had no issues passing other cars here. So drive carefully!
For the parking, there is enough space for around 25 cars, so keep in mind that it may be busy during the high Summer season. Alternatively, we spotted also some parking area further down the road, so you could consider parking on the way up and hiking the rest (20mins roughly from there).
Google Maps address: Via Sighignola, 22024 Lanzo D’intelvi CO, Italy
By Cycling or Hiking
You can also consider to cycle or hike here, with the local routes and signposts showing the way depending on where you start from. You can consider using an app like Kamoot to find the pathways.
There is one route we can highlight, which is a difficult 11.4 km roundtrip from the lakeside to the balcony of Italy. This route can take you just under 5 hours and a climb of 1,314m elevation in total.
Below you can see the Balcony of Italy on the top left point and the Campione d’Italia below.
Monte Sighignola Peak
Here are a few things worth mentioning about what you can see or do at the peak of Monte Sighignola!
Chapel of the Alpini
This is located just a little higher than the parking area of the peak. It is a a tiny religious church, built fully in stone, dedicated to the Alpine troops. The little church is surrounded by greenery and in summer many take advantage of it to get some fresh air.
At the peak, the highlight is of course the views!
You can enjoy the views while sitting on many of the benches and picnic tables. From the viewing platform area, you can see directly down to Lugano and the surrounding villages. Pretty amazing to see so much.
For the Italian views, you can see Cima di Fojorina, down to the village of Porlezza as well Monviso and Monte Cervino.
We visited during a cold but sunny morning and it was pretty empty, so we could enjoy the views with only a few others who were also visiting. It was a Sunday but we think since the restaurant was during the renovation phase, not many people were visiting.
TIP: You can also consider watching the sunrise or sunset from here!
There is a restaurant at the top of Monte Sighignola. We could see it has been closed for our visit and mainly for refurbishment. However we saw somewhere that it was advertised that they will be re-opening 2024, so we can’t wait to return and try a local dish here when they do. There is also a small children’s playground nearby those with small children.
From Monte Sighignola, you can also consider a few hiking routes in the area. The local hiking signs are clearly shown, as well as a signpost map showing the area.
We use a few maps when hiking in Ticino and so we suggest that you also consider using an app to help with the hiking routes if you are not hiking so often. One easy app is Kamoot that you can use, even the free version is quite nice!
Summary Monte Sighignola
Our visit to Monte Sighignola and the Balcony of Italy was an enjoyable one, despite being a cold morning. I had taken my camera with zoom lens, so I had fun zooming in on many of the distant mountains in Switzerland.
We will definitely return once the restaurant is opened up again and look forward to seeing the views again. We also plan to visit during sunset one day, which we think will be very special.
Here are some of our other Northern Italy posts!
Our Experience on The Simplon Car Train
The Centovalli Railway Scenic Panoramic Train Journey