Monte San Salvatore
"You must have personally been up here if you want to have an idea of its grandiosity and magnificence, and only then will this moment become one of the most beautiful and unforgettable ones of your life". With these words, the German landscape philosopher C. C. Lorenz Hirschfeld described the profound emotion he felt when faced with the 360° view of Lake Lugano, the city and the Alpine chain that can be enjoyed from numerous panoramic positions on San Salvatore's summit. This mountain, symbol of the Bay of Lugano, is easily accessible with a funicular that leaves from Paradiso.
The summit's panoramic viewpoints are numerous and well indicated. The most exceptional one is the 360° view visible from the rooftop of the church. The restaurant with the vast terrace - where you can also enjoy a spectacular view - offers a pleasant stop. In the surroundings a renewed panoramic area serves as meeting and “tourists’ communication” point also thanks to some educational panels that show geographical satellite maps. For the sporty types, there's also a Via ferrata (iron way).
Two museums in one
On San Salvatore there's a museum located in the old hospice that once offered refuge to the poor and to travellers that climbed to the summit as pilgrims. The exhibit presents two views of San Salvatore: the geological-speleological and the one related to its religious history. The mountain is in fact connected to the Arciconfraternita della Buona Morte e Orazione (Archconfraternity of the Good Death and Oration), a devotional order that appeared in the 1500s and whose followers ensured, beyond the numerous humanitarian activities, the accompaniment to the gallows of those sentenced to death. For this occasion, the Brothers wore a white cloth with a hood concealing their face. The little museum exhibits objects and documents related to the history and activity of the Archconfraternity. In the museum there is also an area dedicated to the historic meaning of storms and to research on lightning.
Serving as a testimony to the history and evolution of Monte San Salvatore and its funicular, a “curiosity corner” shows various objects belonging to different time periods.
Tourism that once was
A permanent outdoor exhibit of tourism posters completes the cultural offer on San Salvatore. Dedicated every year to a new theme, the advertisement placards of the past recall images of tourism of another era.
From the end of May until the middle of October, every Wednesday morning, a guided tour allows you to enjoy the beauty of Mount San Salvatore, whose shape recalls that of the renowned "Pão de Açúcar" of Rio de Janeiro. During the tour you will be able to savor the beauty of the mountain from many different perspectives. Starting on the lakeshore, after some stops at cultural and artistic sites such as the LAC and the Santa Maria Degli Angioli Church, you reach the top by funicular railway and enjoy a truly breath-taking view.
If you have more time…
Itinerary: Monte San Salvatore - Carona (2h, see map)
If you only have half a day available after visiting the summit you may return to Lugano via funicular. For those who have more time at their disposal, you can walk to Carona and admire this charming village. The panoramic trail that descends from San Salvatore initially leads you to the gracious village of Ciona, between plants and flowers on a terrain that's particularly rocky at first. To reach Carona, proceed along a level trail immersed in the coolness of the forest. One of the most typical villages in Ticino, Carona is renowned for its architecture and for the San Grato Botanical Park, accessible in a few minutes from the village centre.