With a surface area of 200,000 m², Parco San Grato boasts the largest collection of azaleas, rhododendrons and conifers, in terms of variety and quantity, in the whole Insubria region. Between San Salvatore and Monte Arbòstora, approximately 10 km from Lugano, it extends up to 690 meters above sea level, and offers outstanding views over the nearby area, Lake Lugano and the Alpine peaks. While visiting the park you find yourself immersed in an environment with one-of-a-kind natural and decorative characteristics: the large swathes of azaleas and rhododendrons are crisscrossed by five thematic trails: botanical, relaxation, scenic, artistic and fairy-tale, and a sensory path created for the 60th anniversary of the Park in 2017, each one of which reveals different aspects of the park which are renewed as the seasons change. The playground is easily reachable and located in the center of the park, amongst rare, impressive conifers. It offers children and adults the chance to play and have fun. Barbecuing in the park is only possible at the places created for it. There are two equipped areas for grilling. All the portable grills are prohibited in the Parc and also to light a fire is prohibited. In case of the declaration of absolute prohibition of lighting fires outdoors from the Foret Office from Ticino is not possible also to use the grill in the equipped area.
The «Parco botanico di San Grato» is open throughout the year and admission is free.
The 62,00 square metre park, hosts the largest and most varied collection of azaleas, rhododendrons and conifers of the entire region. During the months of April and May the azaleas and rhododendrons form a wonderfully coloured and scented carpet. We do not wish to reveal all the secrets of the flora to be found in the park, it will be up to you to learn from the information signs placed along the botan cal paths, which lead you to a natural, more complete and quiet environment, where the park meets the surrounding wooded areas.
Given the multitude of walks (around 5.5 km) and in order to get the most out of your visit, we suggest that you take one of the theme walks which leads you to discover the most attractive corners of the park. The suggested walks have various themes, which let you see the park from different perspectives and these vary greatly according to the season. Just choose the most suitable route and follow the corresponding coloured signposts.
The playground is situated between the greenhouse and the toolshed and is surrounded by imposing conifers as well as gigantic rhododendrons and multicoloured Japanese maples. It is easily accessed from a wide and winding road and offers many games including a seesaw, a merry-go-round, a slide, swings, a little house and an adventurous cablecar.
The park was once part of the property of the patron of Carona. It was bought in 1943 by Dr. Martin Winterthalter, owner of the RIRI zipper factory in Mendrisio, who turned it into his second residence; the property included a stable, since the owner was passionate about horses. In 1957 the complex was bought by a society headed up by Luigi Giussani, administrator of the Monteforno steelworks in Giornico. A man of great initiative, it was actually Giussani who transformed the buildings into a restaurant and apartments, and created the park, as well as the swimming pool, which now belongs to the municipality of Carona. In 1983, the property was passed on to the Union Bank of Switzerland, and in 1997 it was subsequently donated to the Lugano Tourist Office, which went on to promote and expand it.