I ventured south this weekend to the Ticino, the southernmost canton in Switzerland. This Swiss “Italian district” shares a direct border with Italy and derives influences from northern Italian and Mediterranean lifestyle and culture. I started the weekend in Lugano, the largest city in the Ticino and de-facto cultural capital of Italian Switzerland. I enjoyed the wonderful Ticino climate while cruising along the lake (Lago Lugano), exploring the Lugano old town, and hiking the 912-meter Monte San Salvatore. I was struck by the Lugano pre-Alps framing the lake and perfect flashes of color along every building throughout the city, providing a distinctly Mediterranean view (and contrast to the Teutonic/Germanic buildings in the northeastern cantons).