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The small town of BIASCA sits in a grand location at the junction of three valleys: the Valle Leventina, the Val Blenio and to the south towards Bellinzona a part of the River Ticino called the Riviera, which crams in side by side a motorway, a main road, a minor road, a train line and several footpaths, all snaking between wooded mountain sides rising 1500m above your head. High above the town to the southeast, commanding an eagle’s-eye view of all routes in and out, is the imposing thirteenth-century Chiesa di San Pietro e Paolo, with a sixteenth-century portico tacked on to its simple, Romanesque facade. Collect the key from the newer parish church halfway up the hillside. Inside, the irregular Romanesque floor plan – architects seem to have struggled with the sloping bedrock – is unchanged, and the interior walls are covered in an array of medieval frescoes.

Biasca’s train station is 750m south of the centre. The tourist office is just off Piazza Centrale on the tiny Piazzetta Cavalier Pellanda (Mon–Fri 8.30–11.30am & 2–6pm; May–Oct also Sat 8.30–11.30am; 091/862 33 27, www.biasca.ch). Stairs up to the church rise directly behind the tourist office. Of the hotels, the Posta (% & fax 091/862 21 21; a), directly opposite the station, has adequate rooms above a goodish restaurant, while the modern Al Giardinetto is better placed, in the centre, at Via Pini 21 (091/862 17 71, fax 862 23 59, info@algiardinetto.ch, www.algiardinetto.ch; a–b), with a ten-percent walkers’ discount for stays over three days. Look out for the regular Saturday market, showcasing fresh produce from the upper valleys.

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