Cake for Breakfast, Medieval Churches and an afternoon boat cruise in Italian Switzerland

Cake for Breakfast, Medieval Churches and an afternoon boat cruise in Italian Switzerland

This morning, we decided to satisfy our craving for sweets by searching for a bakery. When we were walking around in old town Lugano, I spotted a cool looking bakery with delicious and beautiful looking cakes and pastries on display in its window. We decided to go in and investigate. We ordered a slice of plum pie and a slice of cake with walnut and chocolate strings on top. We sat in the cafe restaurant and savoured each delicious bite. The fancy confectionary that we had serindipitously stopped by for a breakfast of cake was actually a very special bakery renowed also for its espressos and apparently used to be a nunnery.

I almost forgot to take a picture of our delicious breakfast! The cake is topped with walnut and chocolate strings on the top!

We then decided to embark on a self-guided walking tour of Lugano, which was definitely heavily influenced by Italian culture and way of life. We walked through the Piazza della Riforma, which is the ‘living room of Lugano’ because it is a widespace lined with restaurants, where locals stop by and chat over dinner and wine and in the mornings there are local markets. The buildings were all different shades of pastel and the streets were cobblestoned.

Happily standing in the Piazza della Riforma surrounded by pastel colored shops and restaurants.


Restaurants surrounding the Piazza in the morning as people head to work.

In addition, the narrow cobble stone streets contrasted greatly with the large open space piazzas.

Narrow streets lined with architecturally beautiful shops and churches.

The City park is right next to Lake Lugano and was absolutely gorgeous! The Lake was a beautiful blue teal with surrounding mountains and hills. Moreover, the sunshine hitting the waters created an entrancing shimmering effect.There were olive trees growing all around and it was very picturesque.

View of the cobbled stoned walkways coming up to Lake Lugano.

The sparkling shimmerying effect the sunlight creates on Lake Lugano, surrounded by magnificient rolling hills and enhanced by the multicolor blossoming flowers in the City park.


My favorite fountain in Lugano! It reminded me of volcanic rock and the sunshine created miniature rainbows among the shoots of waters.

We then visited the Cantonal Art Musuem, which was displaying a very interesting modern art exhibit where the theme was windows. My favorite exhibit was a pair of eye glasses that had triple pane miniature windows for lenses! It struck me as very creative and cool since our eyes are not only our window to the world but also a way us to express emotion and communicate with others, letting them into our lives. There was a lot of works that had an intriguing use and interpretation of windows such as to separate the outside from the inside or create artificial and percieved separations, which made profound observations and commentary on ordinary life.

Walking down the street from the Cantonal Art Museum, we visited the Church of San Rocco, which had stunning frescoes– the artwork was so intricate and detailed. It is a Catholic Church, evidenced by the ornately decorated inside with paintings and carvings, but interestingly had no stained glass windows.

Intricate architecture of the church.


Inside the Church, with amazing frescos and artwork covering practically every inch of the walls and ceilings!


Up close view of one small section of the ceiling fresco.


Another upclose of the integration between fresco and carved wooden detailing in the Church.


The doors of the dome are actually painted! Superbly ornate artwork!

We also visited the lakefront Church of St. Mary of the Angels, which is part of the Lugano monastery. The fantastic artwork was done by Bernardino Luini, who was Leonardo da Vinci’s student. There was a gigantic and magnificent fresco of the “Last Supper” on the left. The floor in the fresco matched the floor in the Church so the perciever would not only feel a continuity with the artwork but also a deeper connection with the religious significance of the “Last Supper”. The Catholic churches had decorations over every conceivable surface.

Artwork covering every and all surfaces of the inside of the Church!

I noticed that in the churches, there would be candles in front of saints that visitors and worshipers could light one in solidarity and ask for the saint to pray or be a messengar to God on his or her behalf. The highest concentration of light candles would be in front of Mary and Jesus.

The candles and altar.

In the afternoon, we decided to take a boat cruise around Lake Lugano. I was really excited because all morning, I had been entranced by the natural beauty of the lake and surrounding mountains that I really wanted to sail along the waters, feel the breeze and reflect on the amazing town of Lugano.

Standing by Lake Lugano, Carly’s excited for our boat cruise on the Lake too!!


On Lake Lugano during our boat ride to Gandria.


We spotted cool aqueduct-like structures on the side of the hill on our boat ride.

On the boat ride, we got off at the small town of Gandria and decided to do some exploring. Gandria was built on a hill and so there were not nearly as many sidewalks and roads as there were stairs and narrow cobblestoned walkways or streets. The small fishing townseemed to rise right out of the lake, with buildings practically built on top of each other as it climbed the hillside.

A town built on a hill with houses and buildings almost stacked up.

The view from the hilltop town was breathtaking. We decided to stop by and relax at one of the restaurant bars. We both ordered glasses of some local rose wine and sat on the balcony of the restaurant outside looking over the Lake. The sunshine and breeze along with the view of the lake made our afternoon happy hour very enjoyable. We then took the boat back to Lugano.

Perfect view, fantastic weather and great wine!

After dinner, we decided to go out and get a taste for the local night scence and get acquainted with the locals. At Caffe Portici, we struck up conversations with students from the local university and ordered from spritzes. Serendipitously, we ran into about a hunrded students from the university of Lugano, who happened to be on the largest pub crawl of the year! They arrived suddenly and all at once in a very jolly and noisy manner. Quite a few of them were also dressed in sheets as togas. We talked with a couple of the students, who invited us to join in and explore the rest of the pubs and bars around Lugano. We ended up talking with a large variety of people who come from all parts of Europe such as Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, France,etc and consequently had a wide array of mother tongue languages. It turned out that it was only their first week of school, so a student organization had sponsored a pub crawl for them to socialize with. Since many of them were international students, they all knew English so they could easily talk with us. Everyone liked to make jokes and shared funny experiences and stories. We even ended up in several of the university’s yearbook pictures.