The city tourist office offers a walking tour with a guide on Mondays at 9:30am, April to October. These free tours depart from the Palazzo Civico at the Piazza Riforma.
Parco Civico is the city park along Lake Lugano. It contains the Palazzo dei Congressi (the convention center), the casino, and the Villa Ciani art museum. Outdoor concerts are presented in the summer.
Cattedrale di San Lorenzo (St. Lawrence), via Cattedrale, in the Old Town, was originally a Romanesque church. It was reconstructed in the 13th and 14th centuries and overhauled in the 17th and 18th centuries. It has three outstanding Renaissance doorways and a baroque interior. Look for the 16th-century tabernacle at the end of the south aisle; it was designed by the Rodari brothers of Maroggia.
The major church is the Chiesa di Santa Maria degli Angeli (Church of St. Mary of the Angels), Piazza Luini, located on the south side of the resort. This church was built at the end of the 15th century and is known throughout the Ticino for its frescoes by Bernardino Luini, the Lombard painter. His huge fresco The Crucifixion dates from 1529. Many critics have compared the beauty of his work to that of Leonardo da Vinci. Art critic John Ruskin found an "unstudied sweetness" in Luini's work. The church was occupied by Franciscans until 1848.
The best way to discover the small lakeside villages around Lugano is to rent a bike at the railway station and set off to explore. Arm yourself with a good map from the tourist office and head for the nature reserve of Origlio Lake, proceeding to Ponte Capriasca, where you can visit a parish church with a copy of Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper. From here, you can continue to the villages of Tesserete and Colla along the left valley side of Cassarate, going through the woods with a marked trail to Sonvico. On your way back to Lugano, you'll pass through the idyllic villages of Dino, Ponte di Valle, and finally Lugano. In all, the trip takes in about 37km (23 miles) and can be done in about 4 hours.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.