Ticino (tēchēˈnō) [key], Fr. and Ger. Tessin, canton (1993 pop. 294,100), 1,086 sq mi (2,813 sq km), S Switzerland, on the southern slope of the central Alps, bordering on Italy. Bellinzona is the capital. Largely a mountainous region, Ticino embraces the Ticino River valley and part of Lago Maggiore and of the Lake of Lugano. Although it has a pastoral economy, wine is widely produced in the valleys and corn and tobacco are cultivated. There is an extensive hydroelectric system along the Ticino River. Ticino is noted for its resorts, particularly Locarno and Lugano; tourism is the region's most important industy. The population is mostly Roman Catholic and Italian-speaking. A part of Transpadane Gaul under the Roman Empire, Ticino later shared the history of Lombardy until the Swiss confederates captured it (15th–16th cent.) from the duchy of Milan. It was ruled until 1798 by Schwyz and Uri cantons and became a Swiss canton in 1803.
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