Lugano - a journey into the heart of Ticino

in Pinmapple5 months ago

Lugano has something to offer to every traveler. With its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, crystal clear lake, long history, and many sunny days it's a perfect place for a weekend gateway.

It wasn't only the much needed sunshine for us, but we also wanted to experience a little bit of Italy in Switzerland. Ticino has a unique atmosphere which combines Italian lifestyle with Swiss organization and precision, although the traffic must be an exception as the drivers are definitely more Italian than Swiss. They don't always stop at pedestrian crossings which was a shock to us. In German speaking cantons the drivers stop when they see you approaching the crossing. You don't even need to step on the road, it is enough when you walk towards it. We had to get used to it as often they don't even slow down.

Lugano has a special dynamic that we don't find in other places in Switzerland. We arrived at night and went for a walk in the old town. There was loud music everywhere and people were standing outside, chatting and enjoying their drinks. The old town was full of young people. Even Zurich doesn't have such nightlife! However, we returned to our hotel as we had many plans for the day ahead of us.


We left the hotel early and as expected the streets were empty. We had the cobblestone streets and historic buildings all for us! Lugano is situated along the lake Lugano and stretches up on the surrounding hills. If you want to explore the old town there is some climbing to be done, but don't worry, if you don't feel like climbing you can take a funicular from the lake level to the train station which will allow you to explore the upper part of the city with no to little effort.

We decided to walk instead as we didn't want to miss any charming streets with their colorful buildings and local artisan shops. And the views are not too bad either 😊


First, we wanted to see the famous Cathedral of Saint Lawrence or Cattedrale di San Lorenzo which is located in the middle level of the city. We actually enjoyed climbing of the hill as we came across such beautiful side streets with many plants, flowers, and again those views with Monte Bré towering proudly over the city. As it was still early in the morning, the shops and restaurants were closed, but we could imagine the enchanting atmosphere of lively streets later in the day. And we also did some window shopping 😊


Autumn has arrived in Lugano as well, and we could enjoy warm colors of many trees in the city...


This building caught my attention as it's curved, and I wonder how it looks like inside. And its facade is beautiful!


A little bit above that beautifully maintained building is another one that has worn out over time. What a contrast!


And we are approaching the cathedral now...


I must say that it doesn't look very impressive, but we'll see what is hidden inside. I find it funny that the tower looks like it wasn't connected with the church. Well, maybe it isn't...


First we enjoy the views from the square in front of the cathedral before going inside. We also have to wait as there is an ongoing service right now...



Let's sit on the bench and look at the cathedral..


Cattedrale di San Lorenzo is probably the oldest church that I have ever visited as it dates back to the beginning of the 9th century. It was built to honor the martyr Saint Lawrence of Rome and it was declared as a cathedral in 1888. The renaissance facade was built in 1500-1517, and as you can see it is very well maintained. History

The facade looks as clean as new 😊 It reminds me of churches in Rome with their square front side and a tower that you can't see when you're in front of the church.


Look at the intricate detail surrounding the door...

There are two doors to the cathedral - one of them serves as the entrance and the other one as the exit. I can imagine this is practical when there are many tourists, so that they don't get in the way of each other.

Let's go inside!


The interior of the cathedral is richly decorated with wall paintings with gold as their dominant color. It all looks so bright! The centerpiece is the multicolored marble high altar which dates back to the 17th century. The light makes it pop up, so it is clear that this is the most important part of the church.

There are many paintings and frescos around the cathedral some of them more than 600 years old. Among the most precious frescos are the ones on the pillars.


The Chapel of Madonna delle Grazie was built in 1494, and personally I find it more beautiful than the main altar. My husband spent more than 10 minutes just standing there and admiring its beauty.



Some of the frescos are barely visible which makes them even more interesting to me.

The organ was added quite recently in 1908. I know it's more than 100 years ago, but in comparison with the cathedral which is older than 1200 years it is indeed a recent addition. It has 2308 pipes which is an impressive amount. Organ


And last glance of the cathedral before going back down to the city...


We took another staircase lined with buildings that seem to be younger than the buildings on the other street that we took in the morning.

Ticino has a Mediterranean climate, so it's not uncommon to see palm trees growing in the city (on the left). They would not survive the winter where we live.


And we are back down, so there won't be anymore stairs today (or so we thought).

Piazza Cioccaro was our main point in the city as it's where our hotel was, and also it seemed that all streets lead to Piazza Cioccaro, and not to Rome 😊


The car has been refurbished and serves as a food bar in summer. It is closed now, so we enjoyed delicious gnocchi and pasta inside.


The old town is also called Citta Vecchia, and this is where you find the most beautiful buildings if you don't forget to look up from time to time...


Lugano is a perfect place for culture enthusiasts who can enjoy many museums, galleries and theaters...



What I find special are the covered arched walkways from where you can peek at the buildings on the opposite side of the street. It gives such an interesting perspective.



There are even olive trees in the old town!


The archways are lined with trendy restaurants and so many plants. It doesn't rain often here, but when it does there is a lot of places where you can hide 😊






The most important square in Lugano is Piazza Riforma or the Main square. This is where the independence of canton Ticino was proclaimed in the 18th century. Its name Riforma comes from the constitutional reform.

Palazzo Civico or the Town hall also has a restaurant in one of its corners...


Today, the square is bursting with various activities during the year, such as festivals or Christmas celebrations, but in the past it witnessed many political events that led to Ticino's independence.



At first, I thought that food in these restaurants here won't be any good, but then we noticed that Italian was the most spoken language, so we had dinner at one of them and we loved it. We had such a good minestrone soup even though my husband said that mine was better 😊


And we are already at the lake side, but I will take you there another time...


Fontana Mocetti is one of the strangest fountains that I have ever seen. It was built in the 19th century, so its design is surprising to me. It didn't work when we were there, but I believe it is beautiful when it's spewing water into the air.


Next to the fountain is this period building from the second half of the 20th century. Its the only building that I saw in Lugano without colorful plaster.


The old town with colorful houses reminds me of a small town in Alsace called Colmar...


Another church that we visited was The Church of Sant’Antonio Abate or Chiesa Sant'Antonio. This church has a long and turbulent history. It was built in the 17th century and originally it was connected to a school, so it was used as a classroom. The school was destroyed in 1908 and the church was rebuilt. History

It stands on one of the streets in the old town and you can't see it unless you look for it. Don't get me wrong, it is not hidden, but it simply fits perfectly between its neighboring buildings, so you wouldn't say it's a church unless you look for it.


I was surprised to see such rough interior when we entered the church. If I didn't know better I would have thought that it was much older.


Behind the main altar is an impressive dome with partly reconstructed frescos, but I honestly couldn't see anything there...


The altar is rather small but it doesn't lack on detail. There are four types of marble used and it is also decorated with many golden details.

We attended the service in this church on Sunday, and it was a lot of fun even though we didn't understand anything. It seemed to be a special celebration with some games for kids when everyone was walking around and it didn't feel like a service at all. Pity that we don't know what it really was about...


Let's go back to the city..

As you can see the weather changed and we enjoyed the blue sky!


I love local markets and we were lucky to see one in Lugano too. It was a second hand market, and there were plenty of porcelain pieces, ceramics, paintings, books, etc. We didn't buy anything, but it was interesting to see...


This was probably my favorite moment as the colors were just perfect...


And yes, there is one more church to see, and I realized that I only took a photo at night, so well, it is what it is...

Church of Santa Maria degli Angioli looks like a simple church from outside, but we knew already what we were about to see inside. I'm sure that you will be surprised.

The church was built at the end of the 16th century and it's a true Renaissance masterpiece, so let's have a look!


When you enter the church your eyes will be immediately drawn to the ceiling which is covered in the most intricate fresco...


And then you will realize that the walls are covered in frescos too! There are more than 150 figures on the walls and the fresco is described as the most famous fresco of that period in Switzerland. The fresco is called Passion and Crucifixion and it was created by a disciple of Leonardo. Fresco


There are so many things to see in this small church that you don't even know where to look at...


My favorite part was the ceiling because of vibrant colors and the positive energy...



When we left the church I realized that it was cloudy in the morning when I took the photos from outside of the cathedral, so we walked back up the hill to see it with the blue sky as well 😊 Look at it, it is so much better!




When we finished our tour it was almost evening, so we went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

If you enjoy history, architecture and culture, and if you like good food then Lugano is the right place to visit for you!

Thank you for reading,



This post is pure gold. Thank you for sharing so much information and pictures. I visited this city just passing by in 2016, during a road trip towards England. Unfortunately, I have never had the occasion to go back there anymore, but I hope I'll be able to do it soon since I want to move back to northern Italy (I'm currently living in Sardinia).
You made me think of a very sweet song that my father used to sing in the past. It's a delicate poem of a nostalgic man remembering a Swiss woman from Lugano. Who knows, maybe you could appreciate it :)

I hope you will get to the north soon, but Sardinia isn't too bad either 😊

It's a beautiful song, thank you for sharing it with me 😊

I'm happy you appreciated it :)
No, Sardinia isn't bad at all, but I need changes 😁

I love Sardinia. We have visited it several times and always travelled around. I feel like we saw most of the island already. It's great for holidays, but I can imagine it is not so easy to live there, so I understand that you want to move 😊

Great, I'm really impressed :) if you come here again, let me know, if you want. Or text me if you need something, I'd be glad to help.
Well... it depends, maybe the problem is me, I feel like I want more. And also, I'm deeply in love with sea, but sometimes you can no longer understand if it's a friend or a huge obstacle. It keeps you separated from the rest of the world, even just from a psychological point of view.
Which, somehow, is also what pushes you to embark on a journey :)

The elevations of the city were interesting, and gives it a lot of character. The buildings were gorgeous. The designs look simple, but complex, and it makes them look elegant. I also like how they incorporate colors with the design. No two buildings have the same color, and they even use vibrant paint, so walking seems so fun.

The churches look nice, and a bit ordinary at first, and then there was the last one. The paintings on the ceiling are wonderful. There is something to see almost everywhere you look. It was like they poured all of the beautification on this one, and just gave the other ones the minimum effort.

Well, I wouldn't say it was minimum effort in those other ones 😊 They are beautiful too, just in a different way..

Thank you for stopping by and have a lovely day!

Good afternoon @delishtreats !

I was struck by the beauty of your photos and the beauty of the place.

I think Lugano has a perfect combination between nature and architecture which is wonderful.

Seeing that beautiful imposing cathedral with those paintings on its ceilings and architectural details are incredible. How nice it would be to be able to visit this place sometime in my life.

The order and cleanliness of the place, along with the houses painted in bright colors but finely selected make this place unique.

Although it would seem that it is a town with old buildings, the order and neatness makes me appreciate every detail and value it.

I congratulate you for this beautiful work.


These are indeed old buildings, but they are well maintained there 😊

Thank you for your comment! Have a lovely day! 😊

Ah, sunshine! I miss this, haven't seen a ray for 2 weeks lol.

Those cathedrals and churches there are real pieces of art, beautiful!

Wtf my comment got duplicated for some reason 😀

Oh, I don't even remember when we saw some sunshine where we live 😂 Autumn and winter and horrible here.. just clouds, rain and fog..

Thank you for stopping by!

Wow what a beautiful city and fun post! the churches are overwhelming but I think my favorite shots are the narrow streets. So pretty and interesting. I would want to explore every narrow street to make sure I haven't missed anything 🙂

You should maybe start planning a European trip 😉

What beautiful photos, they made me want to teleport there hahaha.

On the other hand, I found it interesting the way the buildings are located, they are very close to each other.

The cathedral left me speechless, what a beautiful structure, not to mention the interior.... The details are impressive and very beautiful. As well as the photos of the trees, their colors are beautiful.

I absolutely loved all the photos you posted, although I am also grateful for the information you gave us, it's all very interesting and very attention grabbing.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us, greetings! 🤗❤

It's common that buildings are attached to each other in many European cities, I think it is to save space 😊

Thank you for your kind words and have a nice day! 🤗

An amazing place that has that something that draws you in.
I have visited many European cities but this one caught my attention with the cleanliness of the streets, everything seemed to be in place.
I must admit that I have not visited Switzerland so far, so this country is out of the question(I've only read very good reviews about it).
Don't get me wrong this place is spectacular, I'm sure you had a wonderful experience here.
I hope that one day I will be able to visit these places.

Swiss cities are usually clean and well organized 😊 you should definitely come to Switzerland. I'm sure you would love it!

Thank you for stopping by and have a lovely day! 🤗😊

I have a few places in Switzerland on the map but for now they are too expensive for me, if the desire is strong it will surely become reality.
Have a wonderful evening.

Architecture everywhere, mixed with the autumnal colours, that's a real beauty. What struck me most were the paintings in the churches, especially on the ceilings. What a beauty! Thank you so much for this, I love it!😍

Thank you, my dear! 🤗


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I remember spending some time around that fountain near the lakefront.

It had more water on it but then again, it was summer.

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More then beautiful. specially the interior design. just beautiful.

It's a really nice place, the buildings there also look special and extraordinary.

When we go to such beautiful places, if we find good hotels and the people there help us in any matter, then the trip becomes more fun as we see it. The water is very clean and by going to such beautiful places one gets a lot of peace, it feels very good and one forgets all the worries of life and enjoys.

Switzerland is a beautiful country. The place is like a Paradise and I really amazed of the Great scenes in the place. It is very nice to live in a relaxing and peaceful place just like that.

Hello delishtreats!

It's nice to let you know that your article won 🥇 place.
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