Like Maggiore, Lake Lugano straddles both Italy and Switzerland, with the largest part of the lake, (since the 16th century), in Switzerland. Lugano probably derives from the Latin, lucus meaning wood, or sacred wood. In common with most of the lakes, Lugano has another name – Ceresio, which is used frequently by the locals. The hills and mountains that surround the lake and Lugano City are stunning, and comparisons to Rio di Janeiro abound. There is an air of sophistication and money here, no surprise when you learn this is Switzerland's third most important financial center. There are a number of beautiful lakeside villages to discover (some accessible only by boat or on foot), some great walks and views to enjoy, and the city of Lugano itself is a surprise to many: an almost perfect blend of Italy and Switzerland, full of art galleries, chic stores, cobbled streets... and banks. Lugano is an almost perfect blend of Swiss efficiency and Italian lifestyle – with an emphasis on style. The most important city in Ticino, and the third-biggest financial center in Switzerland, Lugano is a surprise to many. Its location is certainly one of the biggest draws, since the views to be had from any number of mountains that surround the city are fabulous. Known too for its parks and gardens, Lugano is the kind of place you stroll around, taking a cable car or funicolare, enjoying a glass or two of local Merlot and fabulous views. If you wish, Lake Lugano is also the perfect place to enjoy being active: hiking, trekking, tennis, swimming, paragliding or cycling. Sports and well-being are highly developed here, with the Tourist Office producing a large quantity of information on guides and trails – much of it free. All of the towns, the castles, the things to do and see, the activities in town and outside are described in detail. Plus the culture and history, the places to stay and the restaurants are fully detailed. Color photos and maps throughout.