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LUGANO AND SURROUNDINGS
In less than two centuries, Lugano has grown from a simple fishing village to the largest Italian-speaking city outside of Italy. However it is still an urban center “on a human scale” where life flows in opposite directions between the quiet beauty of the landscape and the frenzy of the financial world. In addition to its Renaissance churches, it hosts a modern cultural center, home to the Museo d’Arte della Svizzera Italiana (Art Museum of Italian Switzerland) and a theater/concert hall with acoustics on par with the most renowned halls in larger European cities. And, don’t forget its famous Via Nassa — a shopper’s paradise with beautiful and luxurious boutiques.
BELLINZONA AND SURROUNDINGS
In the past, Bellinzona was seen from the south as a “gateway to the Alps” and from the north as the “entrance into Italy”, and even today it is strategically positioned at the foot of the Alps on the crossroads between the Latin and Germanic worlds. With a network of cobbled streets and narrow mule tracks, Lombard-style courtyards and elegant patrician houses, its beautiful old town exudes an extraordinary medieval charm and a strong sense of intimacy. A vibrant energy dominates during its well-known Saturday morning market, where colorful stalls offer typical local products. Its three magnificent castles are a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the surrounding areas offer wonderful walks and excursions.
LOCARNO AND SURROUNDINGS
Strategically located on the northern end of Lake Maggiore, in Swiss territory, Locarno is a bright and cheerful town on a human scale. Narrow streets lined with bourgeoisie houses, diverse small shops and unique boutiques lead uphill to connect the lively Piazza Grande with the exquisite “Old Town”. Every summer its internationally renowned Film Festival and Moon & Stars open-air concerts attract famous actors, musicians and multitudes of spectators from around the world. Markets enliven its squares, while the lake front provides ample opportunities for peaceful walks and panoramic views.
The Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, namely Ticino, boasts two of the eleven UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country: the splendid Castles of Bellinzona, undisputed protagonists of the region’s history and the only remaining examples of medieval military architecture in the entire Alpine region; Monte San Giorgio, a paleontological site of inestimable value, thanks to fossils found in the hillsides, which are outstanding examples of marine life from the Triassic Period (about 245 to 230 million years ago). Two exceptional places where ceaseless research has allowed us to understand the history of humans, animals and the land.
MENDRISIO AND SURROUNDINGS
In contrast to the rest of Ticino’s rugged mountain landscape, the territory in the southernmost part of the canton around Mendrisio is characterized by gentle hillsides where much of the local wine is produced. Its historic center includes not only important religious monuments but also villas that testify to its glorious past. Its famous processions through the streets during Holy Week showcase precious 18th century illuminated panels depicting scenes from the New Testament. Nearby is located Monte San Giorgio, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Despite its southern position which might suggest otherwise, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland is a fairly mountainous area, where precipitous cliffs and steep mountain sides contain pristine valleys, which are relatively unexplored. These remote valleys, of unique beauty, hide small hamlets, each with stone or wooden houses and its own little church, witnesses to a simple and hard life, yet one based on priceless human values. Here, history and traditions are the foundations of the present. Crystal-clear emerald rivers and dense forests of chestnut and beech trees offer pure and untouched nature.
What to visit in 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.
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
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 Università 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
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.
TRAVELMADE “TOUR A LA CARTE”
Who we are
TRAVELMADE is a Tour Operator and D.M.C. specialist in journeys in Europe, with already twenty-year experience in the destinations Switzerland and Italy,
The TRAVELMADE activity is characterised with profound knowledge of the destinations and allow us the creation of packets ‘on measure’ built based on the single and personal holiday demands. With the same care and attention, the booking for the groups elaborates and organises itineraries ad hoc for a minimum of 15 persons.
For each request we develop 3 / 4 projects, completes of details of all the services, descriptions of the hotels and location, useful information and suggestions for the best result of your journey / event, in correspondence of the demands and of the budgets requested from the client.
We contact varied suppliers for the same service, giving the precedence to those that during the years, in Switzerland, in Italy and to the Foreign countries, have proved to be more reliable, disposable, tolerant and professionally prepared.
Strength point is the human report that we manage to establish with the one who supplies the services to us.
We are an Highly qualified staff ready to satisfy each type of demand through the Travel agency services – Congressional Organizer – Destination Management Company to your service to plans your journey at the height of your expectations.