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.
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.
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
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.
The town hall was built in 1844 and has some impressing sculptures, paintings and frescoes inside.
With its charming lanes, alleyways and many interesting shops the old town is a stroller's delight.
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.
Galleria Baumgartner, Mendrisio
The aim of the Galleria Baumgartner is to preserve private collections of model railways, plus other types of models. They campaign to promote the building of model railways as an excellent hobby for both children and adults, and to encourage this, they also organise courses, seminars and auctions. The museum houses a permanent exhibition as well as new ideas and inventions by factories and engineers of model railways and accessories. Also housed in the museum are small model cars in various sizes, replicas of Märklin-models, the collection of Arnaldo Pocher, models of old sailing and steam boats as well as models of the modern motor boats of the Lake Lugano Shipping Company. Visitors are actively involved - they can bring their own trains with them and use the tracks (various gauges available) where compatible. The Galleria Baumgartner also exhibits loaned or donated old toys, and works with model railway engineers, institutions, commercial and transportation companies and the Swiss Railway and Shipping Company, as well as with other exhibitors such as museums, etc.
Furthermore, they buy and sell model railway material from Europe Model Trains and also give valuations and advice, and organise auctions, etc.
CHF 12.-/10.-/9.-/6.- per person
Groups(min. 20 people) CHF 9.- per person
Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 1.30pm - 5.30pm
Wednesday: 9.30am - 5.30pm
Saturday & Sunday: 9.30am - 5.30pm
Chocolate museum "Alprose", Caslano
The Alprose chocolate museum in Caslano presents the world of chocolate from the origins to this day.
Your visit at the museum ends in the "Nostalgia" shop, where you can taste the rich variety of Alprose products just as you like and certainly buy some of this delicious chocolate at attractive price.
Monday-Friday: 9am to 6pm
Saturday and Sunday: 9am to 5pm
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.
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.
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 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.