- HOTELS (BEST RATED)
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- SIGHTS & LANDMARKS
- MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
- THINGS TO DO
- THINGS TO KNOW
- STAY SAFE
Lugano is a city in southern Switzerland in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino bordering Italy. It has a population of 71,500, and an urban agglomeration over 145,000. The 9th largest Swiss city, it is the largest in Ticino and largest with an Italian speaking majority outside Italy.
The city lies on Lake Lugano, surrounded by the mountains of the Lugano Prealps. Its warm summers and reputation for attracting celebrities, entertainers, and successful athletes have earned it the nickname the "Monte Carlo of Switzerland".
|TIME ZONE :|
|AREA :||75.98 km2 (29.34 sq mi)|
|ELEVATION :||273 m (896 ft)|
|COORDINATES :||46°00′N 8°57′E|
|SEX RATIO :||• Male: 49.3%|
• Female: 50.7%
|AREA CODE :||91|
|POSTAL CODE :||from 6900 to 6917, 6932, 6951, 6959, from 6962 to 6968, from 6974 to 6979|
|DIALING CODE :||+41 91|
Lugano is a lakeside city in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of southern Switzerland, and is the largest Italian-speaking city in Switzerland, or for that matter, outside Italy. Part of a temperate micro-climate, Lugano offers palm trees, picturesque boulevards, stunning views of the lake and the Alps, and plenty of opportunity for outdoor and indoor activities. Lugano also makes a good base for visiting other cities and sites in the area. The city is a pleasant place to relax in the summertime and is only half an hour away from Lake Como
Lugano is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland. The city is home to a number of historic buildings and museums, whilst the surrounding area has many natural sights.
Both Lake Lugano and the surrounding mountains provide a wide variety of outdoor activities. The area surrounding Lugano is home to over 300 kilometres (190 mi) of mountain biking trails, the largest net of trails in Switzerland.
The shores of Lake Lugano have been inhabited since the Stone Age. Within the modern city limits (Breganzona, Castagnola, Davesco and Gandria) a number of ground stones orquern-stones have been found. In the area surrounding Lugano, items from the Copper Age and the Iron Age have been found. There are Etruscan monuments at Davesco-Soragno (5th to 2nd century BC), Pregassona (3rd to 2nd century BC), and Viganello (3rd to 2nd century BC). Graves with jewelry and household items have been found in Aldesago, Davesco, Pazzallo and Pregassona along with Celtic money in Viganello.
The region around Lake Lugano was settled by the Romans by the 1st century BC. There was an important Roman city north of Lugano at Bioggio. There are fewer traces of the Romans in Lugano, but several inscriptions, graves and coins indicate that some Romans lived in what would become Lugano.
Foundation of Lugano
The first written mention of a settlement at Lugano can be found in documents, which are of disputed authenticity, with which the Longobard king, Liutprand, ceded various assets located in Lugano to the Church of Saint Carpophorus in Como in 724. Other documents, dating from 804 and 844 refer to Lake Lugano as Laco Luanasco, and an act of 984 indicates Lugano as a market town.
During the fighting between Guelphs and Ghibellines and the new disputes between Como and Milan, during the 14th and 15th centuries, Lugano was the scene of clashes between opposing forces. After a long rule by the Rusca family, Lugano was freed from the domination of Como, which had been taken over in 1335 by the Visconti. At the same time the link between town and the valley strengthened. By 1405–06 documents attest to avallis comunitas Lugani et, which was a governing body that was independent of Como. The new community included the parishes of Lugano, Agno, Riva San Vitale andCapriasca. In 1416 the Duke of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti conquered the region of Lugano and the Rusca valley and made it a fief. A year later, Lugano's freedoms were first documented in a series of statutes modeled on those of Como. The town was able to secure complete independence.
Lugano during the Renaissance and Enlightenment
Between 1433 and 1438 the Duke of Milan, Aloisio Sanseverino sat as a feudal lord over Lugano. He compensated the Rusca family with the ownership of Locarno. Under the reign of his heirs in the following decades rebellions and riots broke out, which lasted until the French invasion of 1499.
It was the object of continuous disputes between the Dukes of Como and Milan until it became a Swiss dominion in 1513. Swiss control lasted until 1798 when Napoleon conquered the Old Swiss Confederation and created the Helvetic Republic.
In 1746, the Agnelli brothers opened the first printing press and bookshop in Lugano. They began publishing the newspaper Nuove di diverse corti e paesi in 1748 and changed its name to Gazzetta di Lugano in 1797. The newspaper was widely read in north and central Italy. It supported the cause of the later Jansenists against the Jesuits and was therefore banned in 1768 in the territory of the Papal States. It was open to the themes of enlightened reform and the American Revolutionary War. It was the first newspaper in the Italian language to publish an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence of 1776. After the death of Abbot Gian Battista Agnelli in 1788, who had been the editor for more than 40 years, Abbot Giuseppe Lodovico Maria Vanelli took over the paper. Under Abbot Vanelli, it supported the revolutionary ideas from France, which drew protests from the Austrian government in Lombardy. The publication of the magazine ceased abruptly after edition number 17 of 29 April 1799, following the anti-French riots in Lugano during which the Agnelli printing house was sacked and Abbot Vanelli was shot.
Under the Helvetic Republic, Lugano became the capital of the Canton of Lugano.
Canton of Lugano
The canton of Lugano unified the former Landvogteien of Lugano, Mendrisio, Locarno andValmaggia. However, as with the other cantons of the Helvetic Republic, the autonomy of Lugano was very limited, the republic having been founded by Napoleon in order further to centralise power in Switzerland. The canton was led by a Directory of five members, who appointed a "national préfet".
The canton was deeply divided between "patriots", supporting the Cisalpine Republic, and traditionalist "aristocrats". By 1799 riots broke out in Lugano, and the second préfet,Francesco Capra, fled the city. Power passed to a provisional government sympathetic to the Habsburgs. However, French occupation was restored in 1800. Discontent continued and in early 1802 a revolt in Capriasca led to the autumn pronunciamento of Pian Povrò, which declared the independence of Lugano from the Helvetic client republic.
With the Act of Mediation, the following year, political agitation was finally quelled, as were the struggles between unionists and federalists. The canton of Lugano merged with Bellinzona creating the canton of Ticino, which endures to the present day.
After 1803, the political municipality of Lugano was created. One of the first tasks of the new city government was to determine the division of property and authority between the patriziato and the new political municipality. Two agreements between the two organizations, in 1804 and 1810, began this process. In the second half of the 19th century the political municipality received various properties and rights from the patriziato. Francesco Capra, the préfet during the Helvetic Republic, became the first mayor of Lugano from 1803 until 1813. The cantonal constitution of 1814, set Lugano, Bellinzona and Locarno as capitals of the Canton. They each served as the capital in a six-year rotation. Lugano was the capital in 1827–33, 1845–51 and 1863–69.
In the 19th century, the city government was dominated by the Liberal Party. In 1900, slightly more than half of the seats on the city council (at the time 50 total members, but 60 members since 2004) were held by Liberals. Most of the rest of the seats were held by either Conservatives or Socialists.
The city government initially had eleven members, but in 1908 their number was reduced to five and in 2004 increased to seven. Throughout most of the 20th century, the Liberals held the absolute majority here as well. The rest of the municipal executive posts were held by the Conservatives, the Socialists (1944–48, 1976–80 and since 2000) and the Ticino League (since 1992).
Around 1830 new civic and government buildings began to emerge in Lugano. The city also began to expand into the surrounding hills, along the Cassarate, and toward Molino Nuovo, Paradiso and Castagnola. In 1843–44 the city hall was built on the site of the Bishop's Palace (built in 1346). It housed the cantonal government in 1845–51 and again in 1863–69. Since 1890, it has housed the city government. The promenade was built in stages: first part was in the 1870s, a second in the first decade of the 20th century. In the first decades of the 19th century, the roads that connect Lugano with Bellinzona (1808–12), Ponte Tresa (1808–20) and Chiasso (1810–16) were built. In 1848 the first steamboat on Lake Lugano began to operate, with regular, scheduled service since 1856. The construction of the Melide causeway between Melide and Bissone in 1844–47 favored the development of the Chiasso-Bellinzona-Lugano-Gotthard line at the expense of the north-south route along Lake Maggiore. This tendency for development was strengthened further in 1882 with the completion of the Gotthard railway line. The railway station was built in 1874–77 in Lugano, and transformed it into one of the main links between northern Italy and central and northern Europe, which led to the development of tourism and in general helped the services sector.
From the mid-19th century to 1970 the city recorded constant population growth, especially between 1880 and 1910, when the population more than doubled. This increase was partly due to foreign nationals settling in Lugano (in 1870 18.7% of the population, 1910 43.6%) and people from other language areas of Switzerland (1870 1.4% of the population, 1910 6.9%). In the last three decades of the 20th century, the population fell slightly, despite the merger in 1972, of the municipalities of Castagnola and Brè-Aldesago. This reflected a trend to move away from the city to the suburban communities.
However, in 2004 the municipalities of Breganzona,Cureggia, Davesco-Soragno, Gandria, Pambio-Noranco,Pazzallo, Pregassona and Viganello were incorporated into the city. In 2008, they were followed by Barbengo, Carabbia and Villa Luganese. This, among other factors, resulted in a doubling of the population to 52,059 in 2006, of which over a third were foreigners. In 2013 the municipalities of Bogno, Cadro, Carona,Certara, Cimadera, Sonvico and Val Colla were incorporated into the city.
Following the Second World War, and particularly during the 1960s and 70s, thanks to an abundant flow of capital from nearby Italy, Lugano was the first host-city of the Eurovision Song Contest (1956). Lugano experienced a period of exponential growth in banking activities which led to it placing itself as the third financial centre of Switzerland, with over 100 banking institutions present in the city. Trade, tourism and finance are the mainstays of the local economy. In 2000, nine-tenths of the workers were employed in the services sector, of which three-quarters are commuters, including many cross-border commuters (13% of the working population).
In 1975, the Congress Center was built followed in 1978 by the new City Hospital. In 1963 the city acquired the land for the airfield Lugano-Agno, and the first scheduled flights was in 1980. At the beginning of the 21st century they began the Grande Lugano projects, including: the car tunnel Vedeggio-Cassarate, which started in 2005 and connects the A2 motorway with the neighborhood of Cornaredo, the creation of a new Kulturpol on the site of the former Grand Hôtel Palace and a convention and exhibition center in the area of Campo Marzio.
In June 2011, officials of the Israeli city of Yehud announced they would undertake a massive construction project to replicate Lugano's old square in the center of their city, to reinvigorate commerce and tourism. The replica will be replete with neoclassical columns and colonnades.
Lugano has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen Cfa), since July mean temperature is above 22°C. It is characterized by relatively mild winters and warm humid summers. It has an average of 98.1 days of rain or snow per year and on average receives 1,559 mm (61.4 in) of precipitation. The wettest month is May during which Lugano receives an average of 196 mm (7.7 in) of rain, while the driest month of the year is February with an average of 52 mm (2.0 in) of precipitation over 4.6 days.
Climate data for Lugano
|Average high °C (°F)||6.6|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||3.3|
|Average low °C (°F)||0.8|
Lugano lies at the edge of Lake Lugano (Italian:Lago di Lugano or Ceresio), which is situated between the lakes Lago Maggiore and Lago di Como, south of the Alps. It lies at the heart of theSottoceneri, that part of the canton of Ticino that lies south of the Monte Ceneri Pass.
The city centre is located on the lake shore just to the west of where the River Cassarate enters the lake. The city's waterfront forms a crescent around the bay between the Brè (925 m [3,035 ft]) and theSan Salvatore (912 m [2,992 ft]) mountains.
Because of the historical development of the city, incorporating some relatively distant suburbs but leaving other, nearer, suburbs as independent municipalities, the borders of the city are disparate. A large and sparsely populated section of the city is on the east bank of Lake Lugano and separated from the city by that lake. Similarly, the inner-urban but independent municipality of Paradiso is a near-enclave, totally surrounded as it is by the city and the lake of Lugano.
Based on the 1997 land survey, as of 2013 Lugano has a total area of 32.09 square kilometers (12.39 sq mi). Of this area, 3.25 km2(1.25 sq mi) or 10.1% is used for agricultural purposes, while 6.73 km2 (2.60 sq mi) or 21.0% is forested. Of the rest of the land, 4.48 km2 (1.73 sq mi) or 14.0% is settled (buildings or roads), 0.04 km2 (9.9 acres) or 0.1% is either rivers or lakes and 0.12 km2(30 acres) or 0.4% is unproductive land.
Of the built up area, housing and buildings made up 9.4% and transportation infrastructure made up 3.0%. while parks, green belts and sports fields made up 1.2%. Out of the forested land, all of the forested land area is covered with heavy forests. Of the agricultural land, 0.5% is used for growing crops and 9.4% is used for alpine pastures. All the water in the municipality is in lakes.
As of 2007, Lugano had an unemployment rate of 5.59%. As of 2005, there were 77 people employed in the primary economic sector and about 28 businesses involved in this sector. 3,520 people were employed in the secondary sector and there were 420 businesses in this sector. 33,601 people were employed in the tertiary sector, with 3,877 businesses in this sector. There were 12,191 residents of the municipality who were employed in some capacity, of which females made up 45.9% of the workforce.
In 2000, there were 28,174 workers who commuted into the municipality and 3,994 workers who commuted away. Lugano is the economic center of the region and draws about 7.1 workers into the municipality for every one leaving. About 12.4% of the workforce coming into Lugano are coming from outside Switzerland, while 1.6% of the locals commute out of Switzerland for work. Of the working population, 15.2% used public transportation to get to work, and 44.6% used a private car.
As of 2009, there were 43 hotels in Lugano with a total of 1,584 rooms and 2,889 beds.
The airline Darwin Airline, operating under the brand name Etihad Regional since January 2014, has its head office on the grounds of Lugano Airport in Agno, near Lugano.
There are a few internet cafes in town. As usual, try near the train station. Free Wi-Fi connection can be found along the lakeside and in the University campus (Via Buffi, 13).
Transportation - Get In
Lugano has a small international airport with flights arriving from Zurich and Geneva.Swiss International Air Lines and Etihad Regional offer discount web special prices to Lugano from many parts of Europe.
Milan's airports are 1.5 hours away by bus or train and are served by easyJet and Ryanair.
Trains leave for Zürich (3h), Basel (3:34) and Milan (40min-1h) as well as Geneva (via Zürich or Locarno-Domodossola: 5h30 with one or two transfers, 6h30 via Milan with one transfer). Note that getting to Geneva or points west it is faster to go via Zürich or Locarno as the trains are more frequent and faster.
- Stazione di Lugano (Lugano railway station), .
There are three shuttle services between Lugano and Milan Malpensa Airport:
- Lugano Services (approx every 2 hrs, 04:00AM-23:30AM; 1hr 10min; €25,00 one way; advance reservations on line or tickets directly on the bus)
- JetBus (approx every 1-2 hrs; 06:00AM-23:10PM; €27,00 or 35,00 CHF one way; can be booked at airport)
- Malpensa Express (every 2 hrs; 8:35AM-23:35PM; €30,00 or 35,00 CHF one way; can be booked at airport.)
There is also a daily bus service during summer to Tirano, Italy with train connection (Bernina Express ) to St. Moritz (Switzerland).
Transportation - Get Around
Lugano is small enough to get around on foot, and many of the streets are pedestrian-only, but the hills above the lakefront are very steep so the bus or the funicular from the center of town might be a better option on the way up to the train station if you have a lot of bags. Taxis can be found on the main roads. Ferries and funiculars are great options for seeing the views.
For more information:
- TPL (Trasporti Pubblici Luganesi). for bus services in the city. A short-journey ticket (30 min.) costs CHF 1.90, 1-day travelcard for 1 zone -- CHF 7.20, short-journey multi-journey travelcard (6 trips) -- CHF 9.50, the later can be used by multiple people.
- Funicolare Lugano Citta - Stazione, . This funicular links the old center of the town on the lake shore to the railway station higher up the hill. Starting 05.20 till 23.50, always, there is one every 5-10 minutes. NB: the service is suspended until Dec 2016 for renovations. Instead TPL runs FuniBus, a bus shuttle service, between the train station and via Pelli. CHF 1.10.
- Funicolare Lugano Paradiso - Monte San Salvatore, Via delle Scuole 7, Lugano Paradiso, . 17Jul–15Aug daily 09.00–23.00; 8May–11Jul & 21 Aug–26 Sep Fr, Sa 09.00–23.00; the rest 09.00-17.00. links Lugano with the top of the Monte San Salvatore, with spectacular views of the Lake of Lugano, the isthmus of Melide, the Monte Generoso and the Italian enclave of Campione d'Italia on the other side of the lake. Single: 23 CHF; Return: 30 CHF.
- Funicolare Monte Brè, Via Ceresio di Suvigliana 36, CH-6977 Ruvigliana (bus lines 2, 11, 12 to Cassarate-Monte Brè), , e-mail:[email protected]. A funicular between Lugano and the top of the Monte Brè.Single: 16 CHF; Return: 25 CHF See the end of the page linked for promotions.
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Many major labels and designer boutiques (Versace, Hermes, Paul & Shark, Louis Vuitton, and Cartier) can be found here, as well as the usual Swiss and Italian knick-knacks. Via Nassa in the city center is the main place for shopping high street brands.
- Foxtown, Mendrisio, Via A. Maspoli 18 (Can be reached by train from the Central Station (direction Mendrisio-Chiasso)). 11-19. Huge designer outlet in just 20 km from Lugano.
- Manor, Salita M. e A. Chiattone 10, 6900 Lugano, Switzerland, . Department store with everything from clothing to home goods as well as some Swiss souvenirs. Grocery store in basement.
The cafeteria in the Manor Department (Piazza Dante 2) store offers a wide variety of tempting International dishes, ranging from sushi to pasta. Fresh fruits and vegetables arrayed in stylish displays are almost a painting themselves. Wine and beer are available as are a wide range of other beverages.
- Argentino, . Piazza Riforma. Excellent pizza, great service. They offer 2 sizes of pizza, price ranges around CHF15-20.
- Tango, Piazza Riforma, Really great tasty pizza, quick service (6-7 min per pizza). Price ranges around CHF 15-20.
- Ristorante Antico, CH-6978 Gandria - Lugano, .Italian cuisine in the village of Gandria with dining on a terrace with views of Lago di Lugano
Sights & Landmarks
- Centro Storico (Old town).
- Palazzo Civico (Palazzo Riva), Piazza Riforma, 1. Lugano's City Hall
- Parco Civico (Ciani Park). A peaceful park with a wide variety of flowers and trees located near the heart of Lugano's tourist area. Villa Ciani is located there.
- Cattedrale di San Lorenzo (Cathedral of Saint Lawrence).
- Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Angioli. contains an impressive full wall 16th century fresco by Bernardino Luini.
- Museo Cantonale d’Arte (Cantonal Art Museum), Via Canova 10, .
- Museo d'Arte Moderna (Museum of Modern Art).
- Hermann Hesse museum (The museum is in Montagnola and you can get there in fifteen minutes from the Lugano railway station by a bus number 36 (direction Agra). Check the timetables beforehand as the buses aren't frequent. Get off at the bus stop Bellevue.), . Summer season (Mar-Oct) daily 10.00-18.30; otherwise F-Su 10.00-17.30.. The museum also offers an audio guide for a walk in the steps of Hesse, which is an extremely good choice on a beautiful day. Besides the exhibition there is also a film on Hesse shown, duration approximately 50 minutes. Friendly and helpful staff. English, German and Italian spoken. CHF7.50/CHF 6.00, discounts for families and groups.
Museums & Galleries
- LAC (Lugano Art and Culture), the cultural centre dedicated to visual arts, music and performing arts
- Museo delle Culture (Museum of Cultures)
- MASI (Art Museum of Southern Switzerland)
- Foundation Aligi Sassu andHelenita Olivares
- Historical Museum
- Cantonal Museum on Natural History
- Swiss Customs Museum
- Municipal Art Museum
- Wilhelm Schmid Museum
- Hermann Hesse Museum
- Alprose Chocolate Museum (Chocoland)
Things to do
- Gandria (Walk, boat or bus).Gandria is an unspoiled, picturesque lakeside village at the foot of Monte Brè. Perched on the steep mountainside it is a community of narrow streets, inaccessible to cars, with a delightful surprise round every corner.
- Museo Doganale Svizzero(Swiss Customs Museum) (from Gandria by boat across the lake).There is also a grotto restaurant nearby.
- Sentiero dell'Olivo (Olive Tree Trail). A path from the end of the Lugano promenade to Gandria. It is marked with panels which describe the history of olive trees in the region.
- Monte Brè (Mount Bre). There are numerous rustic trails that lead up from towns surrounding Mount Brè to its summit and the Funicolare Monte Brè. A trail map is available from the local tourist information.
- Monte San Salvatore. The top of this mountain has a restaurant, hiking paths and a look-out tower offering an amazing panoramic view of Lugano, the lake and surrounding area. It is possible to hike up to the mountain (about 2 hours), or take the cable car.
- Trekking Lugano and Malcantone region.
- SFR Railway Station Lugano, .
- Balmelli Sport, Via Pioda 12, .
- Casinò Lugano, Via Stauffacher 1, , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. Daily 12:00-04:00, extended to 05:00 Fridays and Saturdays. Tables open at 02:00.
- Blues to Bop Festival. 21:00-01:00/02:30 depending on the evening..Free open air music festival with multiple stages throughout the heart of Lugano in late August.
- Swimming. The Lido di Lugano right in the city centre is a great place to swim with a beach, 3 swimming pools and a bar.
- Boating. Boat rental options include paddle boats and speed boats.
In the summer your best bet is just to wander along the lakeside promenade and open air bar/cafes. Check local listings for clubs and shows as venues come and go with the seasons. Spring-Autumn, Bar Mojito (p.za Manzoni, directly at the lakeside)
There are clubs in the city (discos). Nix (under the Casinò), Privilege (near Manor, a department store), Tito's Place (quartiere Maghetti), Club One and The Cube are all located in the downtown.
Oops (via Maderno 24) and Bibliocafè Tra (Salita dei Frati, Piazza Molino Nuovo) are a great place to have beer in the evening. Near University [www]. Another hint:
- Arte, Lungolago. Amazing decor, (also an art gallery), great food and views of the Lake!
Things to know
Italian is spoken in Lugano as a primary language. English and German are widely spoken by many of the individuals that interact with tourists.
The Palazzo dei Congressi is the performing arts center for Lugano. It is a main hall for the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana.
The Lugano Festival runs during April and May, followed by the related "Progetto Martha Argerich" in June. Estival Jazz arrives in July. Between July and August there is theLongLake Festival, one of the greatest urban open air happenings in Switzerland. During one month, the LongLake offers over 300 events in downtown Lugano. The Blues-to-Bop Festival arrives in late August and early September turns the city into a hive of activity as thousands crowd the streets and piazzas for free open-air concerts.
In 1956, the Teatro Kursaal in Lugano hosted the first Eurovision Song Contest.
The MASI (Museo d'Arte della Svizzera italiana) has two parallel objectives: the conservation and study of the Museum's permanent collection, which is above all made up of works belonging to the 19th and 20th centuries; and the planning and presentation of temporary exhibitions. It focuses on art of the cantons of Ticino and Graubünden (Grigioni in Italian) and present artists from the region on a regular basis.
The district of Brè-Aldesago offers its visitors charming corners created by its characteristic stone buildings. The cobble stone streets of the town offer art enthusiasts an artistic path that is very interesting both because of the presence of national and international "names" and the combination of art and the environment.
Safety in Lugano
Lugano is as safe as most cities in Switzerland, but the density of expensive purses, watches, and sunglasses may make pickpockets more of a problem. The usual cautions apply to walking alone late at night, especially after bars and clubs close before dawn.
- Police (Polizia) – Emergency only: 117
- Fire Department (Pompieri): 118
- City of Lugano Police: +41 58 866 82 50 (piazza Riforma), +41 58-8668111 (Via Beltramina 20B)
- Civic Hospital (Ospedale Civico): +41 91-8116111 (via Tesserete 46 )
- Emergency Ward (Pronto Soccorso), Civic Hospital: +41 91-8116006
- Ambulances (Ambulanze): 144
- Poisonings (Intossicazioni): 145
- Doctor and dentist on call: 1811
- Emergency Service - Street aid: 140
- Lost Property Office (Ufficio oggetti smarriti), City of Lugano Police, Via Beltramina 20b; Mon-Fri: 7:30AM - 12AM, 1:30PM-5PM; Phone: +41 58-8668250