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Lugano. Federleichtes Dolce Vita.

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Lugano combines the class of a financial city, the efficiency of a metropolis and the characteristics of a peaceful lakeside town. The most well-known street is certainly Via Nassa, ideal for those who love exclusive shopping: from famous Swiss watches to antiques, from high-end boutiques to crafts… no one goes away empty-handed. Via Pessina is very picturesque, a narrow and typical street offering excellent local food products. The night comes alive, on the other hand, in the Maghetti neighbourhood. A little further along, for those who like to tempt Lady Fortune, the Lugano Casino features a refined, elegant atmosphere with all of the traditional games, 350 slot machines and a modern, panoramic restaurant at which visitors can enjoy dishes prepared for those who love fine dining.

Lugano is protected by two imposing mountains: Monte San Salvatore and Monte Bré, from which there are breathtaking views. Both of the peaks can be reached by cable car and are ideal for daily excursions of varying difficulty. The offer is completed by a museum and an excellent restaurant on Monte San Salvatore, and by an art journey on Monte Bré through the traditional centre of the small village, in which 15 works of art by well-known artists from Ticino and beyond are waiting to be discovered.

A 3.5-kilometre trail known as the "Olive Trail" extends from the romantic and typical village of Gandria in the direction of Lugano. It winds through an area of olive groves both young and old. Along the trail, which follows the lakeside, there are 18 panels offering information on the history and vegetation of the area as well as on olive cultivation and products.

Further to the north, 15 minutes from the city, a mountain of a thousand resources, Monte Tamaro, awaits youngsters and grown-ups alike. There is something for everyone: an adventure park for the more courageous, the Santa Maria degli Angeli Church, designed by architect Mario Botta, for lovers of modern architecture, a waterslide for pure fun, a Nordic walking tour for the sporty, a restaurant for food lovers and much, much more.

To the south, close to the border with nearby Italy, the numerous vineyards on the green hills around Mendrisiotto have made the area known as the "Tuscany of Ticino". There are also three theme journeys dedicated to Merlot and covering the entire area, making it possible for visitors to discover the leading winemaking region in the canton.

Art, architecture, design
Lugano is home to a large number of museums and galleries, which display their wealthy collections with characteristic flair. Thanks also to a busy programme of top-class exhibitions, they enjoy a worldwide reputation.

The city has a very rich musical life as well. A cycle of festivals of all kinds takes place in the open air from spring through to autumn; while in the cooler months, the city’s concert halls stage a lively programme of classical music concerts of international standard. The region as a whole is packed with artistic and historical gems, from local museums to churches built in all manner of styles. Last, but certainly not least, are the buildings that showcase the latest in modern Ticino architecture. The most celebrated of the contemporary architects is without doubt Mario Botta. Among his works are the Banca del Gottardo building, the Biblioteca Salita dei Frati, and the Palazzo Ransila, all in Lugano, as well as the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli up on Monte Tamaro. All are fine examples of the exceptionally rich and creative Ticino School.

While Mario Botta may be the most famous in his field today, it is well worth seeing the work of those who prepared the way for the current generation of architects. Doyen of them all is Rino Tami, as his Biblioteca Cantonale (cantonal library) in the Parco Ciani shows (built in 1940, renovated in 2005).

Other outstanding exponents have included Alberto Camenzind and Augusto Jäggli; Tita Carloni, who designed the Casa del Popolo and the Palazzo Garzoni; Peppo Brivio, who built the striking Albaironi apartment block in Massagno; and Carlo Ponti.

Highlights
Piazza della Riforma: The city’s open-air living room is framed by magnificent palazzi and charming terrace cafes.

Parco Ciani: The grounds of the Villa Ciani (home of the city’s fine arts museum), stretching down to the lakeshore, have a seductively southern feel.

Cattedrale di San Lorenzo: The city’s cathedral stands on Roman foundations, and boasts a magnificent Renaissance façade and opulent frescoes in the interior.

Church of Santa Maria degli Angioli: The monumental fresco in the interior depicts the Passion of Christ, and was painted in 1529 by Bernardino Luini.

Events
The region of Lugano is the setting of many events the whole year round. The winter season is marked by performances of various kinds, including theatrical representations and concerts. From spring to autumn the events become even more interesting: these include “Lugano Festival”, an high level musical performance devoted to classical music, “Estival Jazz”, which offers open air jazz concerts in Lugano and Mendrisio and the musical event “Blues to Bop”.