A Day out in Switzerland

Lugano, Switzerland

Lake Garda is less than 200km from the Swiss border. The more adventurous visitor may enjoy a day out in Lugano which lies on Lake Lugarno, in southern Switzerland. It attracts an ever growing number of celebrities, entertainers and successful athletes which have led to the nickname ‘The Monte Carlo of Switzerland’. It is the 9th largest city of Switzerland by population. The area has been populated since the Copper Age, around 4000BC, and Etruscan monuments have been found in the area dating back to that time, along with graves with jewellery, celtic money and household items. Nowadays, Lugano is a major financial centre with many banking institutions around the town.

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Museums in Lugano

There are several museums in Lugano including the Art Museum, the Museum of Culture and the Swiss Custom Museum. St Lawrence Cathedral and the St Mary of the Angels Church, with its fresco of Christ’s Passion by Bernardino Luini, are both beautiful places to explore.

Villa Favorita, Lugano

One of the special pleasures which make a trip to Lugano so worthwhile is a walk along the shady promenade and up to the 17th century Villa Favorita. Built by Prince Leopold of Prussia it is now the home of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. This was the site where a staggering 800 Old Masters were sold from the collection in 1992 to Madrid’s Villahermosa Museum by the late owner’s wife, amidst great controversy. The Villa Favorita has unrivalled views of Lake Lugarno from the gardens which are themselves a masterpiece. They were designed by the Thyssen-Bornemisza family who still reside here. They artistically display over 100 species of native and exotic flowers and trees with classical statues interspersed among them.

Other Sights in Lugano

The Villa Principe Leopoldo is another grand palazzo on top of Collina d’Oro, Golden Hill. This is an exceptional place to dine or enjoy lunch. From there it is a pleasant one hour walk to the lakeside town of Gandria. Take the funicular up to the 3000 foot summit and take in some of the best views of this stunning area before returning over the border to Italy again.