As far as I know this is a custom throughout the whole country of Italy, but I did not know it was practiced in Switzerland as well. I assume it might only be in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, but I don't know for sure. At least I can say that it is put in place in Lugano.
I am sure most VTers know about this, but I still wanted to write a tip here because it was new to me before I read about it here on VT, and it seems there are many tourists who don't know about it.
When visiting a church, your knees and shoulders must be covered, no matter if you are a man or a woman, although it seemed that it was imposed a little stricter on women. Similar to several churches in Milan, I saw warning signs on the doors of a few churches in Lugano.
If you are wearing a top that is not suitable, just bring a light jacket or shawl to cover yourself, and you will have no problems.
The same goes for shorts and skirts - they should cover your knees.
This warning is limited to the few of you who may need keys made while in the Lugano area.
The Galli key shop, with two locations (Lugano and Rivera) charged me 30 swiss francs for two skeleton keys, which I found out later would have cost 2.50 Euros in Italy. I complained, but they only shrugged their shoulders.
Stay away from this store.
To use highways you must purchase and display a tax disc (vignette) on your vehicle. The cost is EUR 40
The penalty for not displaying a disc is €80. They are sold at border crossings, fuel stations and post offices.
If you end up with your sightseeing at the Church of Saint Maria degli Angioli and want to take the shortest way to the railway station, then you will have to walk, which is an excellent exercise though. Next to the staircase (Salita degli Angioli) that takes you straight uphill, you will see the track of the former Funicolare degli Angioli. This funicular was opened in 1913 to serve the big hotels down by the lake. In 1973 the owner gave the funicular to the city of Lugano and it kept running until 1986. Meanwhile, some big hotel has closed down and passengers became less. Today, you can still see the carriage from the stairs sitting in the decaying top station.
I wonder if Oscar's night club cum disco is still there. It reminded me of a cattle market with Italian men from over the border eyeing up all the foreign girls! However, if you kept your head you could have a good time and let's face it, Italian men are, usually, gorgeous!
Unfortuantely, Lugano is known for their "small cheats"
The people often try to manipulate you for a small advantage only to loose the "deal."
A favorite trick is to give you something else than what you wanted and then give you back the wrong change.
Of course, it is always to their advantage. Do be careful.
It can happen anywhere and often at the bus station when you purchase your bus card.
Most hotels of Lugano are located in the area of Paradiso - there's nothing to do or see there, except several prostitutes. So when you select a hotel make sure it's in Lugano centre. Especially if you are a woman and travelling alone, you may not feel to comfortable going out at night. It's not that you will be unsafe, but you're likely to get propositioned and you'll possibly meet some unsavoury characters
Lugano is a very beautiful town in good weather, however if it's raining their is very little to do, bar sit in a cafe drinking coffee and eating pizza. Keep an eye on the weather forcast and have an alternative plan incase it does pour down all weekend.
If you are used to being a pedestrian in other Swiss cities like I am, then beware of pedestrian crossings! Drivers in Lugano and other Ticino towns will not necessarily slow down and stop for you quite so readily as in the Germanic parts of the country. We had one or two close shaves, though if they don't stop they are in the wrong and their is a fair bit of compensation coming your way, provided you survive!!!
GRISU the cat, better definition could be GRISU the King, cause he is the real and only owner of Augusta's house and Augusta's guests.
Ask him before chosing the bed, ask him before chosing what to eat, ask him before entering his kingdom.
The picture is obviously not mine, I would never dare to take a photo of the tiger!
Okay, this is not a special advice for Lugano, but applies to many tourist spots in Europe - but I remember visiting Lugano during holidays like Ascension as a terrible experience because the city and the whole lake area will be unbelievably crowded!
Remember you are in the Alps.
This means sudden down pours and electrical storms in the summer can be frequent. Carry a small umbrella.