Did you know Italian is spoken in Switzerland? It's the 3rd language in the country and a whole "Canton" (state) of 300.000 inhabitants uses it as its main language. This Canton is called Ticino. Situated in the south of Switzerland, it borders Italy. Shaped like a triangle, its southern tip is just 30 minutes from the Italian fashion capital Milan. Hamish Henderson, the famous Scottish poet, songwriter, socialist, humanist, soldier, intellectual, and living contradiction (as he liked to call himself) used to call Ticino "Italy that works". Lugano is set in an area of great natural beauty, on the lake that bears its name, surrounded by mountains. It's a town of about 50,000 people and being the third financial centre in Switzerland it has something to offer for everyone, with its elegant shops, restaurants and museums it is often the venue of art exhibitions of international import. A variety of sports are possible in the vicinity, for example ice-skating, climbing, canoeing, plus those sports traditionally associated with lakes such as windsurfing, water skiing etc. For winter sports, many ski resorts are close by, the nearest being only 30 min. away from Lugano.