Switzerland’s Flower Stone


The Fiore di Pietra. Photo courtesy of Mario Botta Architetti.

People have long been drawn to Switzerland’s Monte Generoso for the views, catching the cogwheel railway to the 1,701-meter summit for panoramic vistas over Lake Lugano and the white arc of the Alps to the north, and Italy’s Po River and the Apennines to the south. Today, they have a new reason to visit this mountain perch in the Italian speaking canton of Ticino: the Fiore di Pietra (“Flower of Stone”). Acclaimed Ticinese architect Mario Botta lent his deft hand to the project, his admiration for Le Corbusier’s modernist lines evident from the moment you glimpse the building’s octagonal form of concrete, gray stone, and glass. Set on the edge of a steep cliff face, the structure’s eight “petals” enclose a central space encompassing five stories with an observation deck at the crown and a restaurant one floor below. Chef Luca Bassan is behind the menu here, his dishes taking inspiration from the surrounding Alpine landscapes. While seasonal, offerings might include a porcini tart with crayfish and black truffle, or white sturgeon with cauliflower-and-licorice cream and a goat’s-cheese gratin. The ultimate finale? Be sure to order the house-cured meats and mountain cheeses served alongside local honey and mustard.

This article originally appeared in the April/May 2017 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Peaked Interest”).

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