Story: Exceptional scenery

Trail running, what a passion

Challenge yourself: the goal is not to win but to get to the end and fill your eyes and heart with the stunning landscapes and the amazing sunrises and sunsets that paint the mountains.

Spectacular footpaths, architecture, culture, wine, honey and olives. Peace and quiet reign supreme in Capriasca, just a few kilometres from Lake Lugano. But don’t be deceived: this region becomes an international trail running centre in June!


Clarissa and Lorenzo Orsi, B&B Cà San Matteo

Clarissa and Lorenzo Orsi, B&B Cà San Matteo
Everything began with the winery: my dad made an excellent wine and we built the B&B above it.

This is an experience that leaves its mark, bolstering your body and spirit. We’re in Tesserete, where the Colla Valley and the Capriasca meet, just a few kilometres from Lugano. We meet Clarissa and Lorenzo Orsi: the pace of life is slow here, but guests will immediately notice a special energy and realise that they’re not just anywhere.

It could be the almost monumental churches, the peace and quiet of nature and the little villages, or the peaks that seem to watch you and which you would like to climb. Perhaps it’s this aura that draws visitors from afar, or perhaps the world-famous Scenic Trail, a mountain trail run of 18, 27, 54 and even 119 km!

The competition is held in June and has become a classic with an almost legendary reputation. Its fame is felt across the region all year round.


Lorenzo, why do you compete in the Scenic Trail?

“I’m a Sunday runner, someone who had some free time at the age of 40 and decided to give it a try. I bought a book on learning to run and got started. The first Scenic Trail was held in 2013 and I took part. I ran 50 km through breathtaking scenery and learned a lot about myself. I challenged myself again over the following years, opting for the harder version.”

You can stop and eat soup, gummy bears or even polenta at the refreshment points, but then you have to set off again and it’s best not to lose your rhythm.

The first year saw 170 participants. This figure has now reached 2,500. What happened?

“The Scenic Trail has established itself among the leading competitions of its kind and is becoming legendary. It won the Swiss Ultra Trail Award in 2015, 2016 and 2017 as the best Trail Running competition in Switzerland. In this race you’re almost always running along the top of the mountain ridges. There’s a really supportive spirit among the competitors and everyone helps each other. The participants include some semi-professionals, but also lots of people who just want to challenge themselves.”

You need training, of course, but also a lot of belief. I train twice a week and do a longer run on weekends. It’s fundamental to ration your energy during the race. Physical fitness is important, but your real strength is in your head. People finish this race if they manage to control their emotions and fatigue.

This race begins at midnight on Friday and you cross the finish line between Saturday and Sunday: the fastest recorded time is 15 hours and 44 minutes, the maximum time allowed is 32 hours.

Let’s talk about other things. Clarissa, the race also indirectly influenced the establishment of the B&B Cà San Matteo. How did it all begin?

“It was something I’d dreamed about for a long time. I’d studied at the hotel school in Lausanne and then gained experience in Switzerland and abroad. Lorenzo and I had travelled together and found new inspiration each time. When our children got older, we decided to build this B&B. Lorenzo designed the house, working on an existing unfinished building: it’s very unusual.”

Pro tip
Stairways to heaven, Lodrino Lavertezzo, Claro Pizzo, Generoso Trail and many others: in Ticino there are trail running competitions.
The name Cà San Matteo comes from the Romanesque church down there, just behind my parents’ vineyards, where everything began around forty years ago.
Don’t miss the copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper in the church of Sant’Ambrogio in Ponte Capriasca.

The rooms are named after the local mountains and you use local wine and produce. Lorenzo keeps bees that make an excellent honey, my father Fernando makes vinegar and myrtle-berry liquor as well as wine and grappa. 

People come to Tesserete looking for peace and quiet, some want to go hiking, some for the mountain bike space. This region has plenty to offer and it’s very close to Lugano.

"I’m the classic Sunday runner who decided to start at the age of forty."


It’s very important to support each other on the Scenic Trail. Is teamwork fundamental in your B&B too?

“Of course. Lorenzo goes running with his friends in the mountains and they all support each other: they give each other strength. We help each other here too and draw a lot of energy directly from our guests as they discover this region. Then we have our invaluable assistants Marina and Irene: I’d say we make a great team.”

Who knows whether you’ll all run the Scenic Trail together next year?

“Ha ha!  I don’t think so. I’ll leave that to my husband.”