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About Lugano
General Information
With some 100,000 inhabitants in the Greater Lugano area, Lugano, home of well-known stucco-workers, is the major city in the canton Ticino. Here art and culture are heavily inspired by Switzerland's close Southern neighbor. Italian influence also becomes evident in the official language of the region, which is Italian and spoken by 84% of the population. Principal attractions have always been the extremely mild climate, delightful scenery, luxuriant vegetation, the good bathing facilities and romantic walks and rides. The Lugano Lake region is quite exceptional in enabling visitors to combine professional activities with leisure time. In the last few years Lugano has developed rapidly, becoming an international financial and conference center and one of Switzerland's foremost cultural attractions.
History
In the 6th century the settlement belonged to the Bishops of Como. Then in the 15th century the town passed to the Dukes of Milan. After a brief period of French rule, the Lugano joined the league of Twelve Ticino towns to form the "United Bailiwick", which lasted from 1516 to 1798. Initially subjugated to the Swiss Confederation, Ticino became a fully-fledged Swiss canton in 1803. Shortly after Lugano began its development to one of the country's leading tourist towns.
Climate
Lugano enjoys about 2,300 hours of sunshine per year, promotes the lush growth of cypress, palm trees, camellias, mimosas and olive trees, just to mention a few. Spring arrives mid-March, although it is not unusually to see flowering trees and plants in the Winter months - or snow-covered palm trees. The average annual temperature is 12°C and rarely drops below zero or rises above 30°C during the day. The average water temperature of the lake is about 22 °C in July.
Places to visit
Villa Favorita
Just outside Lugano in Castagnola Villa Favorita is home to the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection, one of the finest private art collections in the world. It mainly contains oils and watercolors of European and American artists from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Municipio
The town hall was built in 1844 and has some impressing sculptures, paintings and frescoes inside.
Old Town
With its charming lanes, alleyways and many interesting shops the old town is a stroller's delight.
Excursions
Boat trips are very recommended for a overall impression of the lake and its surrounding mountains as well as for daily excursions. There are so many picturesque lakeside villages, built at the steep mountain slopes offering delightful surprises round every corner.
Melide
South of Lugano, the resort of Melide is renowned as the site of Swissminiatur, a scale model reproduction of the most important sites in Switzerland.
Gandria
This unspoiled village at the foot of Monte Bre is a community of narrow streets, inaccessible to cars, with good restaurants and very close to the Italian border.
Campione
Campione is a typical Italian enclave situated on the Lugano lake, completely surrounded by Swiss territory. It is well-known for its casino and the "Madonna dei Ghirli" (swallows) built in the 9th century.
Monte San Salvatore
The funicular in Lugano-Paradiso takes you to this 2995 feet/ 912 m high mountain within 15 minutes. From the summit you can enjoy a lovely view over Lugano, the lake and many different mountains.
Churches
Santa Maria degli Angioli Church
The church has two fine frescoes by Bernardino Luini, "Crucifixion" and "The Last Supper", dating from 1529.
San Lorenzo Cathedral
Originally built in the 9th century the cathedral was much modified over the centuries. It boasts an early-Renaissance facade dating from 1517 and has fresco paintings inside from the 14th to 16th century.
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