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Lake Lugano

Your guide to Lago Di Lugano...

About Lugano

The city of Lugano is situated on the shore of Lake Lugano (Lago di Lugano or Ceresio) in the southern canton of Ticino, Switzerland. The Ticino canton has around 200 municipalities within its boundary but the city of Lugano (pop- 53,000) is its largest. However despite this, and the fact that Lugano plays an important role in Swiss banking and finance, the city is not actually the Ticinese capital. That title is reserved for the town of Bellinzona (pop- 17300) which is situated about 22km North of the city.

Lugano City is positioned facing the south bay of Lake Lugano and is framed by the mountains of Monte San Salvatore to the South and Monte Bre to the Northeast.

lugano park

It's close proximity to Italy makes Lugano a city which has a wonderful blend of Italian charm and Swiss sophistication. In fact, Lugano's affinity to Italy runs very deep and is cemented with membership of the Insubrica Euroregion, a committee whose aim is to promote cross-boundary cooperation in the Lake Como, Lake Maggiore and Lake Lugano area.

Lugano's close affiliation with Italy can also be observed in its language and food, both of which are predominantly Italian. It has therefore grown to be a city that is not only famed for its art, music and shopping, but also for its excellent gastronomy and cafe culture thanks to its Italian neighbours.

Lugano the Financial Centre

From a tourist perspective Lugano is a world class destination, but the city also marches to the beat of another drum which is finance. Although a thriving tourist resort the city is now considered third largest financial centre in all of Switzerland, and only lags behind Zurich and Geneva in size and influence. This combination of commerce and tourism mesh nicely to make Lugano the incredibly vibrant city it is today. It is a place where Bohemian artists and musicians rub shoulders with city professionals in a plethora of trendy sidewalk cafes and bars.

Over the years Lugano has grown and absorbed several suburbs that were previously not included in the city boundary. For example, in 2003 Gandria was officially incorporated into the city and this along with several other changes has meant that Lugano is now the 8th largest city in Switzerland.

The Italian Influence

piazza riforma

With the centre of Lugano just 8km from the border it means the Italian influence can be spotted everywhere. For example, the city is home to the famous UniversitÓ della Svizzera Italiana (The University of Italian-speaking Switzerland), whose priveliged location allows it to act as a bridge between Lombardy (Italy) and the rest of Switzerland.

At the heart of Lugano is its main square, the Piazza Riforma, where visitors are greeted with impressive buildings and superb architecture. On Tuesdays and Fridays the Piazza is teeming with market-goers, as the square becomes a stage for the weekly farmers's market. Here you can browse and buy fresh, locally produced goods along with flowers, antiques and charming handicrafts.

The pace of life in Lugano is very relaxed, and is often described as a city where Swiss precision meets with Italian flair.

There are restaurants and bars tucked away in a tangle of old streets. There are places to sit near the main square and watch the world go by or the famous promenade with its pristine flower beds that beckon down by the lake. There are public parks and gardens to leisurely stroll through which are all bursting with exotic flowers and trees - Lugano's temperate climate makes it a haven for palm, fig and chestnut trees. There are world class art galleries, ancient churches, shopping malls and department stores to explore, all tucked away in a maze of old alleyways and cobbled lanes.

Lugano - A World of Choice

lugano promenade

If you are willing to travel a short distance from the city you are treated with a vast amount of sightseeing opportunities. Monte San Salvatore and Monte Bre are both easily accessible by funicular railway and are ideal for a day's excursion. Once at the summit of either you can gaze in wonder at the beautiful vistas of the lake below and the wonderful alpine scenery in the distance.

Down on the lake there are watersports in abundance and outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy waterskiing, sailing, windsurfing and scuba diving. And since Lugano is positioned close to the main road and rail routes between Zurich and Milan it means there are plenty of opportunities to explore further afield too. For instance, Lake Como is only 30 minutes away, Venice just 5 hours and the wonderful city of Milan and its designer shops just 1 hour 30 minutes to the South.