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Historic Lugano is the third-most important banking center in Switzerland, a country that excels at banking. The city extends from the western edge of Lake Lugano up into the hills behind, with cobblestone streets winding and climbing between centuries-old buildings. At either end the mountains Monte Bre (3,035-ft; 925 m) and Monte San Salvatore (2,992-ft; 911 m) are accessible via funicular and provide expansive views to the area.

Lugano lies close to the Italian border and the Italian heritage is very obvious here. Switzerland has four national languages, German, French, Italian, and Romansh, and our time so far has been in the German-speaking central and eastern parts of the country. Here in Lugano Italian is the dominant language and it’s hard to tell that we actually re-entered Switzerland from Italy yesterday.

From our hotel in the city’s old town, we walked along cobblestone streets through the main square, Piazza della Riforma, and south to ride the funicular up Monte San Salvatore for lunch with a view, pictured above. We returned along Lugano’s tranquil tree-lined promenade on the shore of Lake Lugano, stopping to take in the lake-front scenery, and finished the day back at historic Piazza della Riforma for dinner and drinks after.

Below are highlights from July 6th, 2022. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a map with our most recent log entries always is available at

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A Lugano sunrise from our hotel room window. The mountains visible are, from left to right, 4,974-ft (1,516 m) Monte Boglia and 3,035-ft (925 m) Monte Bre in Switzerland, 4,311-ft (1,313 m) Sighignola in Italy, and back in Switzerland, 2,992-ft (911 m) Monte San Salvatore at far right. We’ll be heading up Monte San Salvatore today.
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Colorful fresh produce display outside the Mion grocery store in Lugano.
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Credit Suisse
The Credit Suisse office building on Lugano’s historic main square, Piazza della Riforma. Lugano is the third-most important banking center in Switzerland.
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We got a giggle out of the name of this street-cleaning machine: Glutton.
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Coast Guard
One of two Swiss Coast Guard boats arriving into Lugano. The border between Switzerland and Italy crosses Lake Lugano about 2 miles (3.2 km) to the northeast.
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We’ll be riding the funicular, completed in 1888, to the top of Monte San Salvatore.
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A map on the wall of the funicular station showing the view from Monte San Salvatore. Lugano is on the left and Monte Boglia and Monte Bre are slightly to the right of Monte San Salvatore. The Swiss-Italian border crosses the lake just beyond Gandria in the distance at right (click image for a larger view).
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On Board
On board the funicular to Monte San Salvatore. The ride is popular and the carriage was quite full by the time we departed.
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Changing carriages at Pazallo station, halfway to the top of Monte San Salvatore. The railway is 5,466-ft (1,660 m) in length and divided into sections, with the lower having a maximum gradient of 37% and the upper 61%. Each section has a carriage designed to accommodate that maximum.
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View South
The panoramic view south from the summit of Monte San Salvatore, with the Ponte Diga di Melide bridge across Lake Lugano at left (click image for a larger view).
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An airplane landing in Lugano, viewed from the summit of 2,992-ft (911 m) Monte San Salvatore. We rarely see an airplane from above while we’re on the ground.
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Ristorante Vetta San Salvatore
A delicious lunch, with a fabulous view, on the terrace at Ristorante Vetta San Salvatore.
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View to Lugano
Another great view from 2,992-ft (911 m) Monte San Salvatore, this one looking northeast with Lugano on the left and Lake Lugano on the right.
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Water Jet
The water jet of Paradiso in Lake Lugano, viewed as we walk back to town from the Monte San Salvatore funicular station.
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Garbage Cleanup
A paddle-wheeled boat cleaning up garbage in Lake Lugano.
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One of the 11 motor boats, owned by the Societa Navigazione del Lago di Lugano (SNL), that ferry passengers across Lake Lugano.
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Castello Cattaneo
Castello Cattaneo overlooking Lake Lugano, was built at the turn of the 20th century and a decade ago sold for 20 million Swiss francs (about the same in US dollars). The distinctive set of three white buildings behind it is the luxury boutique hotel The View, where rooms start at USD $1,500 per night.
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Walking Lugano’s tranquil tree-lined promenade along the shore of Lake Lugano.
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The statue Rinoceronte, created in 1977 by renowned Swiss artist Piero Travaglini.
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Apparently you can ride a bicycle wearing high heals.
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A delicious meal at Bistrot & Pizza Argentino along Lugano’s historic main square, Piazza della Riforma.
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Piazza della Riforma
We didn’t make it very far after dinner, and stopped for a drink at a small cafe overlooking Lugano’s historic Piazza della Riforma. The Neoclassic building across the square is the Lugano city hall, built in 1844.
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Terrazza Cioccaro
A nightcap at the Terrazza Cioccaro across the plaza from our hotel. James is seated to the left of the bicycle (click image for a larger view).
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