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36 Hours in Lugano | The Star

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LUGANO, SWITZERLAND—Lugano is known for blending Swiss efficiency with the sunny charm of Italy along the steeply pitched shores of a postcard-perfect alpine lake that reaches deep into both countries. Add Renaissance churches, Belle Epoque hotels, modernist villas, a couple of casinos and lush gardens that improbably combine palm trees and snow in winter, and you will understand why the region is known as the Swiss Riviera. But it is not all play.

With about 65,000 residents, Lugano is a major destination in Ticino, Switzerland’s lone, Italian-speaking canton, which has its own distinctive culinary, wine and cultural scene. With the end of Swiss banking secrecy a few years ago, there have been fewer Ferraris rolling in from Italy to visit the private banks. While that may be bad for the banks, it has made the city much less buttoned-up and more visitor-friendly. A new cultural center known as LAC (Lugano Arte e Cultura) and various gastronomic and music festivals fill out the calendar throughout much of the year.

Lugano is known for blending Swiss efficiency with the charm of Italy along the shores of a postcard-perfect alpine lake that reaches deep into both countries.
Lugano is known for blending Swiss efficiency with the charm of Italy along the shores of a postcard-perfect alpine lake that reaches deep into both countries.  (Andrea Wyner / The New York Times)

Friday

1) 4 p.m. TAKE TO THE LAKE

Why merely stretch your legs strolling along Lake Lugano’s picturesque tree-shaded promenade when you can get a real workout pedaling yourself out on the water? There are several docks in town with pedal-boat concessions, but for the ultimate in Instagrammability head to the one at Rivetta Tell near the Parco Ciani and rent a bright red metal vintage-looking Forsa boat (starting at 8 Swiss francs, about $8.25 (U.S.) for 30 minutes). Those with lazier legs might prefer a motorboat (from 40 Swiss francs for 30 minutes); no captain’s license required. Upgrade the experience by grabbing a bottle of wine and some snacks at Gabbani, Lugano’s prime purveyor of epicurean delicacies.

2) 6:30 p.m. STAY WET ON SHORE

Back on land, join the youthful crowds kicking off the weekend at Mojito, a popular waterfront adult refreshment stand with a beach shack vibe that can get a little crowded and hectic as the night wears on, but is delightfully laid-back at sundown. Beers from 5 Swiss francs, mojitos from 10.

3) 8 p.m. GET IT AT ALICE’S RESTAURANT

Book a table at La Cucina di Alice, a Lugano standby with a friendly vibe and attentive service. Standouts include a tender filet of local (as in pulled out of Lake Lugano) perch with fragrant vanilla-perfumed rice.
Book a table at La Cucina di Alice, a Lugano standby with a friendly vibe and attentive service. Standouts include a tender filet of local (as in pulled out of Lake Lugano) perch with fragrant vanilla-perfumed rice.  (Andrea Wyner/The New York Times)

Book a table at La Cucina di Alice, a Lugano standby with a friendly vibe and attentive service. The densely packed tables on the sidewalk outside offer views of the lake, and the seasonal menu blends some unexpected international fare like Hungarian goulash and a New England lobster roll with lots of Italian-accented dishes. Standouts include classic linguine al pesto with potatoes and green beans, or a tender filet of local (as in pulled out of Lake Lugano) perch with fragrant vanilla-perfumed black rice. Dinner for two with wine, about 120 Swiss francs.

4) 10 p.m. AFTER-DINNER ARIA

Caffé Caruso, a tiny boîte that’s known for excellent Italian-style coffee.
Caffé Caruso, a tiny boîte that’s known for excellent Italian-style coffee.  (Andrea Wyner/The New York Times)

Walk off the meal with a stroll to Caffé Caruso, a tiny boîte tucked into a corner of Piazza Riforma that is known for excellent Italian-style coffee as well as cocktails — Aperol spritzes (9 Swiss francs) were in particular abundance this past June. If the spirits move you to keep going, follow the crowds migrating to Seven, the late-night club at the Casino di Lugano that pulsates until 5 a.m.

Saturday

Monte San Salvatore, with its slightly bulbous profile, is known as the Sugar Loaf of Lugano.
Monte San Salvatore, with its slightly bulbous profile, is known as the Sugar Loaf of Lugano.  (Andrea Wyner/The New York Times)

For its slightly bulbous profile and precipitously steep drop into the lake, Monte San Salvatore is known as the Sugar Loaf of Lugano. The summit, which can be reached by funicular railway, followed by an easy hike, offers spectacular views over the city, lake and surrounding mountains — several of which are in Italy. Round trip funicular fare is 30 Swiss francs for adults, though many discounts are offered, so check when purchasing.

6) 11 a.m. RELIGIOUS AWAKENING

Cathedral San Lorenzo in Lugano, Switzerland.
Cathedral San Lorenzo in Lugano, Switzerland.  (Andrea Wyner/The New York Times)

There are many churches in the city and region worth visiting, including several mountaintop modernist masterpieces by acclaimed contemporary Ticinese architect Mario Botta that would merit a full-day pilgrimage into the countryside. Two far older and more accessible must-see temples in town are the Cathedral of San Lorenzo — especially noted for its beautifully carved Renaissance facade — and Santa Maria degli Angioli, with its frescoes by Bernardino Luini, a disciple of Leonardo da Vinci. The vivid colors and complex composition of Luini’s monumental fresco depicting the passion and crucifixion of Christ still wow visitors entering the church 500 years after it was painted.

7) 12:30 p.m. RAVIOLI MASTER

Any restaurant with “ravioli of the moment” on the menu is worth considering. When I visited Osteria Trani, there were two special raviolis — a swordfish-stuffed pasta in zesty tomato sauce and a more subtle lobster-filled ravioli sauced in lemon butter. The chef had no problem preparing a half-order of each, preceded by a fresh spring pea soup and all washed down with a couple of glasses of white merlot, a delicious quaff pioneered by local vintners and difficult to sample outside the region. Lunch for two, about 130 Swiss francs.

8) 2 p.m. TIME TO GET A NEW WATCH

New watches, like new cars, tend to lose between 20 to 30 percent of their value the minute they leave the lot (or the shop in this case). Especially if you are looking for a watch to wear for a few years and then trade in when styles change, it might make sense to start off in the secondhand market. Within about 300 yards of each other in Lugano’s tony pedestrian shopping lanes are three pre-owned watch purveyors worth checking out for personal timepiece enthusiasts. Davide Parmegiani is the most high-end with a curated selection of rare limited-edition watches by Panerai, Patek Philippe and other top-tier brands. Nearby Watch Center and Taleda offer a wider range of brands, models and prices.

9) 4 p.m. NOBEL HOUSE

The Hermann Hesse Museum provides a vivid sense of the Nobel laureate’s cosmopolitan sensibility amid remnants of his simple country life.
The Hermann Hesse Museum provides a vivid sense of the Nobel laureate’s cosmopolitan sensibility amid remnants of his simple country life.  (Andrea Wyner/The New York Times)

For more than 40 years, writer and Nobel laureate Hermann Hesse lived in the tiny hamlet of Montagnola on the Collina d’Oro or “golden hill” that rises behind Lugano to the west. Today a small museum (admission 8.50 Swiss francs), featuring personal items such as his desk, typewriter, glasses, souvenirs of his travels in Asia and elsewhere, as well as selections of his writings and beautiful watercolors of the surrounding countryside, provide a vivid sense of Hesse’s cosmopolitan sensibility amid remnants of his simple country life. Signposts around the village mark other buildings that were relevant to his life, and mark his grave in a nearby cemetery. At the other edge of Montagnola — a three-minute stroll away — sits Ristorante Bellavista with a lovely terrace overlooking a pastoral landscape tumbling down the hillside toward the lake. An aperitivo of Ticinese cheeses and cured meats with two glasses of wine will set you back 35 Swiss francs.

10) 8:30 p.m. MULTITASK THE NIGHT AWAY

A bartender prepares a drink at Auberge, a cozy Lugano bistro that features items like salads, ceviches and tuna and shrimp tartar.
A bartender prepares a drink at Auberge, a cozy Lugano bistro that features items like salads, ceviches and tuna and shrimp tartar.  (Andrea Wyner/The New York Times)

Lugano seems to be catching the wave of multi-function nightspots where happening restaurants segue into meditative whiskey bars before becoming speakeasy-style clubs that rock until the small hours. That is the progression at Auberge, a cozy bistro with a menu that is heavy on light fare like salads, ceviches and tuna and shrimp tartar in small (10 to 18 Swiss francs) and large (20 to 35 Swiss francs) portions. After dinner, head upstairs to a multiroom cocktail lounge (specialty cocktails, 10 to 15 Swiss francs) that can handily occupy your evening from suppertime to almost sunrise.

Sunday

11) 10:45 a.m. FLOATING BRUNCH

On the second Sunday of every month, from July through October, there are special Sunday brunch boat tours (62 Swiss francs a person), with departures at 10:45 a.m. or noon. On other Sundays, one could bring a picnic on board a regular lake tour or, better yet, grab a boat to Gandria, the tiny village at the foot of Monte Bré near the Italian border and enjoy the first meal of the day in one of the charming taverns along the shoreline.

Lodging

A newcomer in the aptly named Paradiso neighborhood and a pioneer in the Lugano’s nascent design hotel category, the 18-room Hotel the View (theviewlugano.com) maximizes its hillside perch with sweeping views of the lake and the city from virtually every spot in the hotel. Enhancements include a spa and indoor pool. Rooms from 1,350 Swiss francs.

A charming four-star historic grand hotel property, Hotel International Au Lac Lugano has 80 rooms with antique furnishings, a lively bar and a surprisingly spacious garden with an outdoor pool located right in the heart of Lugano. Doubles from $260 (U.S.).

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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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