It was a bright and beautiful sunny day when we drove to Lugano, Switzerland from Baveno. The scenery was breathtaking as we drove around Lake Maggiore. The next few photos below were what I called “Hail Mary Shots” because I was taking them from the bus. I kept clicking away hoping that some will turn out okay and they did.
Lugano (sometimes called the “Monte Carlo of Switzerland”) is located by Lake Lugano surrounded by mountains in the south of Switzerland. Due to its proximity to Italy, the border is about 8 km or 5 miles from the centre of town, Lugano is an Italian-speaking city. Lugano is also Switzerland’s third largest financial centre.
Let’s go on a walking tour of Lugano. If you thought the buildings in Baveno were colourful, well Lugano was bursting with colour everywhere you turned! Pinks and yellows and reds and blues and corals decorate the facade of buildings.
And this wonderful frescoe – isn’t it fun?
Another word to describe the facade of some of the buildings in Lugano – “ornate”.
The next photo below stopped us dead in our tracks. We had never seen one before. Do you know what it is? Scroll down to the bottom of the photograph for the answer…
Did you figure it out? It’s a charging station for electric cars! I love that they have designated parking spots for electric cars. Not sure if you have to pay for the charge but surely it can’t be more than gas which was around €1.90 when we were there in September of last year.
We climbed the set of steps below. That is the view from the top. Those were a lot of steps – it sure doesn’t look as impressive from this photo! There are shops and restaurants/cafes along the side of these stairs. So, I suppose you could take your time climbing up, take a break and browse through the wonderful shops.
At the top of those stairs, we turned right and continued climbing. We were rewarded with San Lorenzo Cathedral and a nice panoramic view. This church is very old. The Lugano Tourism site states: “…some writings already in 875 A.C. speak of a church called “Sancti Laurentii in Luano”. It has a facade early renaissance period (1517). Inside the cathedral there are frescoes from the 14th century to the 16th century… the church became a cathedral in 1888″.
The church’s main feature is the facade made of white stone. Above the main doors is a rose window.
The five medallions above the main doors depict four saints on the sides and the middle is of the Virgin Mary with the child Jesus. Do you see the angels on either side of the top of the arch (under the three medallions)? The sun was shining directly on the facade of the church. It was blinding! I’m surprised this photo even turned out as it just looked washed out to me from the direct sunlight.
Now turn yourself right around because in front of the church is this fabulous panoramic view of the mountains, the lake and the city below. It was scorching by the time we got there so we didn’t stay long. Off we went to explore as much as we could of the colourful streets of Lugano.
Here are some examples of the most colourful buildings we saw on our walk:
The delicatessen below sure used the appropriate colours to entice your appetite with red and yellow!
Last impressions… Lugano felt more Italian to me and that’s not surprising given its close proximity to Italy. I’ve been to other parts of Switzerland and Lugano is different. Would I come back again? Absolutely to take advantage of the hiking around the area. It’s a great place to relax and catch your breath from the hustle and bustle of the bigger cities.