Lugano is the most beautiful sister of the entire Swiss family- yes there is Zurich, the most famous sibling and Geneva, the most elegant one but Lugano is truly special. Inheriting all aesthetic features from her Italian ancestors and the quality and orderliness from her Swiss parents, you are awarded with the rare opportunity to meet a multi-talented addition to already esteemed Switzerland.
Lugano is rich with both Arts and the Sciences. The entire town is decorated with classical Italian architecture including many historical buildings and cathedrals, most of them overlooking the always tranquil lake Lugano. At the same time the town is encapsulated with rounded green hills that just like Oedipus, never turn their eyes away from their reflection in the water. Yet this idyllic scenery is juxtaposed with the 100s of banks and financial institutions driving Lugano’s economy. Still you never catch a sight or a sound of these bankers, rather, you capture locals exchange melodic snippets of mundane conversations in Italian, as you would in any typical small Italian town where people take time to chat to one another.
The cost of living in Lugano paints an entirely different story however- if you spend some in there, the last thing that appears in your mind is “oh what a lovely small town, whose beauty is blessed with the affordability of quality life”. Yet the same restaurants, shops, gardeners, doctors, farmers have been operating for decades with minimal disruptions- how is this possible? I guess Lugano is a banking city after all, but without the disadvantages and perks of a big metropolis such as London- few restaurants and limited entertainment but hour long quality lunch breaks rather than a sandwich from Pret and reasonable working hours.
What about the rest of us non-bankers? Well there are three alternatives: you live according to the slow life rhythm along with the town’s numerous senior citizens, you attend a boarding school or university and participate in the life and activities of your proximate community or you rent a car and wonder around experimenting with different things. I normally mix option one with three; enjoy moments of stillness until I run out of patience and escape to near by villages or to Milan. Again I would not trade my Saturdays in Lugano for anything else in the world; I like to take my occasional walk by the lake, browse the odd objects at the Saturday market, buy some fresh chocolates and enjoy an afternoon cake and cappuccino at Al Porto or Muller.