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The Olimpia Restaurant has always been considered the "good living room" of the city of Lugano


Hosted by:
  • Bar Ristorante Olimpia
  • Piazza Riforma 1
  • 6900 Lugano - Switzerland
  • 004191 922 74 88
  • [email protected]

Swiss culture

Get to know Switzerland's bustling culture, forged over hundreds of years as the country existed as both the crossroads of Europe and a patchwork of isolated mountain communities.

Travelers call Switzerland “Europe in miniature” because several distinct cultures thrive there. There are four national languages: German, French, Italian and the exotic Romansch, the official language of Switzerland. Nestled in the heart of the European continent, Switzerland's neighbors include Germany to the north, Liechtenstein and Austria to the east, Italy to the south, and France to the west. Europe's largest mountain range, the Alps, covers 60 percent of the Swiss terrain.

Daily direct flights arrive from North America and all around Europe, and many one-stop flights connect Switzerland with other world capitals. Within the country, travel between large cities and villages is fast and easy. The Swiss railway and public transportation system rank among the world's finest.

Although pastoral panoramas have become synonymous with a Swiss vacation, Switzerland's six largest cities – Zürich, Basel, St. Gallen, Lausanne, Bern and Geneva – offer a range of cosmopolitan diversions and cultural discoveries set against the dramatic backdrop of history.

The Swiss are also well-known for their culture and contributions to society. Swiss timepieces, for example, are synonymous with efficiency and finely detailed craftsmanship. In fact, the Swiss have been making wristwatches since 1790. And since then, they have perfected the art of designing and making unparalleled timepieces. Swiss ingenuity and efficiency have been keys to surviving the long winters there as well.

Until the arrival of the railways in the mid 19th century, many of the alpine communities were isolated during the winter months. Each community developed and nurtured its own style of art. For example, Swiss craftsmen still create intricate wood carvings by hand using skills passed down through the generations. In many homes and craft shops, visitors will find intricate paper cuttings, one of Switzerland's more unique art forms.

Swiss cuisine, which borrows from several cultures, offers the traveler an interesting and varied experience. Someone once said, "Cheese is milk's leap toward immortality." Nowhere else in the world does this ring more true than in Switzerland, a land known for its wealth of dairy products. Two of the best-known cheeses, gruyère and emmenthal, create a typical Swiss dish of fondue, a rich concoction of cheeses, garlic, wine and kirsch. And nothing matches the flavor of homemade Swiss bread covered with melted butter and baked in a wood-burning oven.

Raclette is another popular cheese dish. Half a wheel of the cheese is brought close to the heat. As it begins to melt, the chef scrapes off a portion. This Swiss delicacy is eaten with boiled potatoes, crispy gherkins and pickled onions, and is best enjoyed with good friends on a cold day.