The Ciani Park is Lugano’s green pearl. Located near the city centre and fronting on Lake Ceresio, it covers a surface of 63,000 square meters. The park is decorated with paths shaded by century-old trees that wind around flower beds, velvety green lawns and small squares that invite you to take a rest. Sculptures and fountains decorate the paths. The park is frequented by locals and tourists alike who admire the colorful flowers, the rare, majestic and exotic species of trees, and the interplay of light and shade created by the vegetation. The Villa Ciani is also a spectacular sight.
Benefitting from a perfect geographic location the park profits from a temperate climate ideal for the luxuriant subtropical vegetation. One of the park’s main attractions is the seasonal flowering vegetation whose colors, wisely combined, integrate perfectly with the lake and surrounding panorama. The setting of the lawns is modified every year, triggering the curiosity of the city’s inhabitants.
The Ciani Park is divided into two distinct parts. The first, adjacent to the Villa Ciani, is accessible via the main entrance at the end of the lakeside promenade. This section presents both English and Italian-style gardens characterized by flowerbeds in bloom decorated with shrubs and trees from around the world.
The second, extending from the boathouse to the river Cassarate, has a more natural feel than the first. The species of trees that populate it are native to the Ticino woodlands: oak, linden, plane and maple. There is also an area dedicated to younger visitors, equipped with a playground for children of all ages. The redevelopment of river Cassarate’s mouth – which flows into lake Ceresio at the far end of the park – has given further added value to the area, offering to its visitors a new green space and relaxing-zone. From the river’s mouth the view over the city is particularly beautiful.
In the park, there are a number of buildings of interest: the Villa Ciani, the Palazzo dei Congressi (Congress House), the Darsena (Boat house), the Museo Cantonale di Storia Naturale (Natural History Museum) and the Biblioteca Cantonale (Canton Library), an avant-garde architectural work from the 1940s designed by architects Rino and Carlo Tami.
(Re-elaborated text from "Ticino Parks and Gardens" - Ticino Turismo)
The history of the Ciani Park started around 1845 when the Ciani brothers, aristocratic businessmen from Milan, purchased the property. The Cianis enlarged and refurbished the existing building while, in parallel, they started building the park. They soon faced a difficult problem: periodic flooding of the property, caused both by the overflow of the Cassarate river and the lake into the parkland. The problem was resolved by building a containment wall and by raising the property by one and a half meters above the lake surface. In 1912 the villa and the park were purchased by the city of Lugano.