Balcony of Italy (Balcone d'Italia) – Lanzo D'intelvi, Italy - Atlas Obscura
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Lanzo D'intelvi, Italy

Balcony of Italy (Balcone d'Italia)

The Sighignola summit on the Swiss border offers views so breathtaking it's been named one of the most beautiful places in Italy. 

Situated on the Swiss-Italian border in the Lugano Prealps, the mountain of Sighignola stands 4,311 feet (1,314 meters) above sea level, looming over Lake Lugano below. As far as national border markers go, it is one of the most astounding to behold, and the Italian National Trust has rated it as one of the most beautiful places in Italy.

Noted as a site of remarkable beauty, Sighignola’s renown comes from the panoramic terrace perched atop the mountain on the Italian side. The aptly named Balcone d’Italia, or Balcony of Italy, provides spectacular views of Lugano—the lake and the city— and the surrounding alpine landscape. 

The journey up to the terrace is in itself a chance to enjoy the picturesque forest scenery as you make your way up to the Balcony. The road to Sighignola on the Italian side winds its way up the mountain through pretty woodland and past the occasional rustic cabin.

The route is especially popular with both cyclists and motorcyclists. Hikers are likewise drawn to the Balcony and there several hiking paths up to summit coming from both sides of the border. Regardless of how you reach the promontory, though, it’s guaranteed that the panorama that greets you will be more than worth it.

Know Before You Go

The panoramic terrace can be reached by road from the Italian side. The nearest major cities are Como on the Italian side, and Chiasso and Lugano on the Swiss side of the border.

The roads up to the viewpoint through the forest are winding and quite steep at points so caution is advised. The route is popular with pedestrian hikers and motorcyclists. Drivers are encouraged to drive with care and consideration.