Collegio Pontificio Papio, off via Cappelle, has one of the most beautiful Renaissance courtyards in Switzerland. Dating from 1584, the building has two-story Italianate loggias. The Chiesa Santa Maria della Misericordia is part of the cloisters of the Collegio Pontificio Papio. Built at the end of the 14th century, it contains one of the largest late-Gothic frescoes in Switzerland.

Casa Serodine (also called Casa Borrani), which lies off piazza G. Motta, was built in 1620 and has one of the most richly embellished facades of any secular structure in the country.

Museo Comunale d'Arte Moderna, via Borgo 34 (tel. 091/759-81-40;, has both changing exhibitions of modern art and a permanent collection, the latter including works by Klee and Utrillo. It's open March to December, Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to noon and 3 to 6pm, and Sunday 4 to 6pm, charging adults 7F and students, seniors, and children 5F.

Near the town, Isole di Brissago, off the shore of Lake Maggiore, contains a botanical garden of Mediterranean and subtropical flora. The gardens can be reached by boat from the center of Ascona as well as from other lakeside locales, including Locarno. Boats depart Ascona daily at 9:30am and run throughout the day, with the last departure from the island back to Ascona at 6pm. The ride takes 10 minutes and costs 3.80F. Admission to the botanical park is an additional 8F.

You can also visit the little village of Ronco along the corniche road west, an 18km (11-mile) trip. This very Mediterranean-type village is on a slope in one of the most charming settings in all of the Ticino. Erich Maria Remarque, the German author of All Quiet on the Western Front, lived here and is buried in the cemetery of the little church.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.