Bellinzona (bĕl-lēntsōˈnä) [key], town (1993 pop. 17,100), capital of Ticino canton, S Switzerland, on the Ticino River, near the Italian border. It is a picturesque old town and a hub of transalpine traffic. Tourism is the main economic factor, but there are small industries. Possibly a Roman settlement, Bellinzona belonged at times to Lombardy, Como, Milan, France, and the Four Forest Cantons. In 1798 it became the capital of the Bellinzona canton under the Helvetic Republic and the capital of Ticino in 1803. The town is dominated by three castles (13th–15th cent.) of the dukes of Milan.