I was recently invited to enjoy an evening in Lugano. This small town is situated just across the border in Switzerland, but still feels very Italian. The lake, which shares a name with the city, offered a peaceful place to relax before my evening truly began. I sipped on a Prosecco cocktail made with freshly muddled strawberries and watched boats lazily make their way up and down the coast. The streets are lined with high end shops boasting top designer clothing and jewelry labels. When Aperitivo time rolled around, the umbrella covered patios of the town’s cafes started to fill up quickly.
The views from Monte San Salvatore were truly out of this world. The town is often called “little Rio de Janeiro”, and with good reason. From a small building in town, I hopped onto the 124 year old funicular and was launched almost straight up into the mountain. After a leisurely walk, I had almost reached the end of the journey when I found myself at the steps of a small church. Gasps of astonishment could be heard through out the crowd as, one by one, we all ascended the steps to the 360 degree rooftop viewing area. This is, hands down, one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. There were small signs on the way down displaying a quote from C.C. Lorenz Hirschfeld, a German journalist who specialized in garden and landscape theories in the 18th century. After seeing this breathtaking view he said, “You have to have been up there personally, if you want to get an idea of its greatness and magnificence, and then that moment will become one of the most beautiful and unforgettable experiences of your whole life”. My thoughts exactly. Well said, Sir!
My final taste of the city was at La Perla del Lago, the exclusive restaurant and lounge within the Casino Lugano. Located directly across from lake, I would imagine this would be the perfect place to watch a sunset. In my case, a thunderstorm started brewing about half way through dinner and drinks in their second floor lounge. Watching the lightning dance across the lake was fascinating entertainment. I later learned that this quaint town is home to San Salvatore Museum, a museum that conducts research on lightning and the historical significance of storms.
Lugano is an excellent option if you’re looking for a quick day trip while staying in Milan. This little town, with its sparkling lake and breathtaking views has officially earned a permanent place in my heart.
As an American living and working in Italy, I’m determined to discover the best that Milan and this country have to offer. My quest for la dolce vita also includes enjoying amazing food, relaxing spas, and lot of caffe. .