1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Lugano

LUGANO (Ger. Lauis), the most populous and most thriving town in the Swiss canton of Ticino or Tessin, situated (906 ft.) on the northern shore of the lake of Lugano. Pop. (1900) 9394, almost all Italian-speaking and Romanists. To the S. it is dominated by the Monte Salvatore (3004 ft.) and on the S.E. (across the lake) by the Monte Generoso (5591 ft.)—a magnificent view point. Both mountains are accessible by railways. By rail Lugano is 124 m. from Lucerne and 51½ m. from Milan. Situated on the main St Gotthard railway line, Lugano is now easily reached, so that it is much frequented by visitors (largely German) in spring and in autumn. Though politically Swiss since 1512, Lugano is thoroughly Italian in appearance and character. Of recent years many improvements have been made in the town, which has two important suburbs—Paradiso to the south and Cassarate to the east. The railway station (1109 ft.) is above the town, and is connected with the line quays by a funicular railway. On the main quay is a statue of William Tell by the sculptor Vincenzo Vela (1820–1891), a native of the town, while other works by him are in the gardens of private villas in the neighbourhood. The principal church, San Lorenzo, in part dates back earlier than the 15th century, while its richly sculptured façade bears the figures 1517. This church is now the cathedral church of the bishop of Lugano, a see erected in 1888, with jurisdiction over the Italian parts of Switzerland. The church of Santa Maria degli Angioli, built about 1499, and till 1848 occupied by Franciscans, contains several very fine frescoes (particularly a Crucifixion) painted 1529-1530 by Bernardino Luini. A gallery containing modern pictures has been built on the site of the old palace of the bishops of Como. During the struggle of 1848–1866 to expel the Austrians from Lombardy, Lugano served as headquarters for Mazzini and his followers. Books and tracts intended for distribution in Italy were produced there and at Capolago (9 m. distant, at the S.E. end of the lake), and the efforts of the Austrian police to prevent their circulation were completely powerless.  (W. A. B. C.)