San Nicolao is a hermitage with a church dedicated to Saint Nicholas from 1413, enthroned in an overhanging rock face overlooking Mendrisio, together with a popular grotto, on whose panoramic terrace you can savour Ticino cuisine.


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From Mendrisio, about 5 kilometres towards Monte Generoso, you reach a fantastic grotto, part of the ancient hermitage of San Nicolao, built in the middle of a 300-metre-high overhanging rock face.

Who drives up, must go the last steps on foot up to the hermitage.

And those who combine the culinary delights with a beautiful (valley) hike anyway.

That's why Mario Botta's new "stone flower" (Fiore di Pietra) is a must to visit on the mountain, then to walk down towards Mendrisio (which is less strenuous than you might think) and finally to stop at the San Nicolao Grotto. Until about 1940 San Nicolao, which from 1413 was run as a hermitage by charitable hermits of the Franciscan Tertiary Order, was still known as a place of pilgrimage.

Today, hermits are no longer at home in the holy site, but the restaurant attached to the chapel with its magnificent terrace and several halls is regarded as an idolised pearl in the Ticino grotto landscape.

The chef recommends Formaggini from the neighbouring Muggio Valley, of course his minestrone, polenta and risotti, as well as ossobucho or coniglio, i.e.

knuckles of pork or rabbit.

After an extensive meal and perhaps a glass of Nocino or Grappa, you have to walk a good 250 metres down into the valley to Mendrisio. equipment Normal hiking equipment.