The Olive Park and Path
This terraced natural park, facing South is covered with a richly flowering meadow. The path winds through an area of rare natural beauty where ancient olive groves coexist with ones of more recent implantation.
This park is just 200m from Villa Heleneum, on the path to Gandria. The whole estate, including the municipal vineyard is part of a legacy from a German baroness, who donated it to the city of Lugano in the 1960s.
The entrance is in front of the Albergo Fischer, and is indicated by several names: ‘Parco degli Olivi’, ‘Sentiero dei Fiori’,and Sentiero dell’Olivo’. The terraced areas, covered with natural vegetation, are well exposed to the sun and particularly favourable to olive trees, shrubs and perennial herbs and grasses which thrive in warm dry soil and plenty of sunshine.
Most of the trees and shrubs come from the Mediterranean area: olive trees (Olea europea), green cypresses, (Cypressus sempervirens), bay trees, myrtle, pomegranate (Punica granatum) Mayaca palm, marine pines, and flowered laurels (Viburnum tinus). At ground level a marvellous spread of wild herbs – oregano, thyme, sage, as well as daisies, carnations, evergreens, daffodils and wild tulips create a multicoloured patchwork counterpane that the visitor will never forget.
This display is repeated each year in Spring in the months of May and Jun
This path was built in 2002 by ‘Friends of the Olive Tree’ ‘Amici dell’Olivo’ to revive the cultivation of olives and the production of olive oil, which was once an important activity on the shores of the lakes south of the Alps.
The path threads its way through several little plantations of young olive trees between Gandria and the centre of Castagnola, the whole set in a landscape of rare beauty.
Along the way you’ll come across several examples of very old trees such as the famous ‘Olivo di Carlin’ near the landing stage at Gandria. 10 metres high with a 45cm diameter to its trunk, the tree dominates the surrounding lake.
The path is indicated on green signs and winds along the lakeside for about 2km. At intervals along the way there are information panels explaining (in 4 languages) the history of the olive tree, its cultivation and its products.
The idea of reviving an ancient tradition in one of the loveliest areas by the lake was welcomed with great enthusiasm. Sentiero dell’Olivo offers a walk through lush country with impressive panoramas as well as useful information to help the visitor understand the whole business of cultivating olives.
Open season: All the year
Suggested period: May and June
Entry to park: Free
Guided visit: No
Dogs: On the lead
Accessibility to bikes: No
Restaurants/Bar: Yes, close to the park
It's not allowed to pick up flowers and fruits
How to arrive
Bus: No.2, fermata Posta di Castagnola
Battello: Imbarcadero centrale Lugano - imbarcadero villa Heleneum o Gandria.
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