Diaries of a Jet Setter: A guy’s guide to getting lost—Switzerland

By R. Anthony Diaz |Asst. Features Editor|

Ever wonder where all the men in cologne or watch advertisements come from? Well, I found them all.

I know right? They were all tucked away in gorgeous Lugano, Switzerland, just walking around, trying on suits at Ermenegildo Zegna and of course discussing numbers and designing more watches.

Lugano competes with Geneva for number two in the banking industry right after Zurich.

It’s no wonder there are banks on every block, clocks on every corner and beautiful people everywhere.

This city has a lake resort feel that incorporates century-old architecture with a Mediterranean flair. Aside from the fact that Lugano is known as a world class business center, it is also known for its art infused landscape.

As I walked down to the lake from my suite at Parco Paradiso, I found that there were sculptures, artistic fountains and hand crafted pieces all over the city.

Their appreciation for art was evident at every point. Along the road that lines the lake you will find docked boats, exotic white swans glistening on the lake and random sculptures centered on the park lawns.

I made the mistake of starting my first day early, to really get a feel for the town. The locals do not come out until the late morning. At first I thought it was a ghost town and all of a sudden I stepped out of a local cafe and the back streets were instantly crowded.

I loved it. I ended up shopping down Via Nassa, the main shopping alley catering to exclusive boutiques and high end labels. Where else in the world can you go to mass and Louis Vuitton all on the same block?

Okay, I have an obsession with cathedrals and big churches; there is just a rush I get out of opening the fifty thousand pound door, knowing that every detail on it was well thought out and hand carved. Amazing.

If you love to see world wonders such as I do, Lugano definitely has a few museums that I sadly could not get into. Closed for winter—not acceptable.
Well it makes sense that most people would rather ski in the Swiss alps as opposed to enjoying a few Degas paintings during the winter.

I fell in love with the lakeside park, Parco Ciani. The casino across the street, the museums and major attractions are all within walking distance and are an absolute plus to this true beauty.

The food—I can’t begin to describe how succulent every bite of anything is. After eating Swiss, I feel like I was raised eating plastic. I could move there just to get fat! Even the Pellegrino is endorsed by Bvlgari.

The locals do not eat dinner before 7 p.m. so don’t expect any restaurant to be open around 5 p.m. Once they get started, dinner could last until midnight. Ask George Clooney if you don’t believe me!

The town has plenty to keep you busy. One thing to really consider when traveling is to pack light because their department store, Manor, has great clothing for a low price. You’ll find that if you really need an outfit, there is always something affordable.

When in doubt, look for the “Coop” stores, they are a mini department, liquor, grocery and currency exchange all in one.

If you do decide to take a train to another city, keep in mind that Milan is only an hour south and other cities are a few francs away.
The great thing about Southern Switzerland is that the majority of people speak Italian, if you know Spanish or a romance language, it is likely you’ll get around easily and understand more.

I was able to pick up the language quickly, so I ended up translating for everyone, it was great!

This is definitely a timeless city. Its true elegance really shines through, delivering panoramic views filled with beauty at its best.

Relax, look fabulous and try the street food, even things such as a pizza slice will blow your taste buds out of the water.

If you end up in any city including this one and don’t know where to start, take this advise.

“Give yourself a random mission like looking for a pair of green argyle socks, you’ll never know what you’ll run into during your hunt,” said my friend Sally, a vacation rental agent.

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