In Switzerland, travel to Lugano Paradiso and stay in a nice comfortable hotel (Novotel Paradiso) and from there walk some 100 meters to the Funicular San Salvatore. It’s will be a day of new discovery, and a visit never to forget. You choose on the summit to descent by funicular again, ore by nature & hiking trails.
Experience the The Sugarloaf Mountain of Switzerland – Monte San Salvatore – Quote: “You need to have been up there in person, if you want to get an idea of its greatness and magnificence, and then that moment will become one of the most beautiful and unforgettable experiences in your whole life.” C. C. Lorenz Hirschfeld.
Way back in the year 1200 pilgrims made their way up to the mountain summit on foot in order to pay their respects to the Son of God, who according to ancient legend took rest here afore his heavenly ascent.
In 1213, the Bishop of Como, Lord and Master of Vallugano sold his property in Ciona and the mountain known in ancient times as “Bellenio” to the Chapter of San Lorenzo in Lugano. In those years, at the top of the mountain there was already a small chapel dedicated to San Salvatore (hence the name). The canons of San Lorenzo soon turned it into a small church.
Reference to the church’s original appearance dates back to 1414: a piece of parchment kept in the archives at the municipality of Carona, describes: “A white mountain against a shady blue backdrop. On the summit the church of San Salvatore with its steeple”. During the Feast of the Ascension in 1680, the Chapter of San Lorenzo transferred ownership of the church and the summit to the Confraternity of St Marta and the Good Death.
After 23 years, in 1703, the Confraternity decided to demolish the original church and to build a new one. The following year the foundations were laid and in 1719 the building works were completed. In 1722 it was decided to complete the building beneath as a residence with a tavern next to it in order to set up an “inn”.
Over the last two centuries the history of the area has provided us with a wealth of information on the many efforts made by the Confraternity and later the Funicular Company as, respectively, the owner and guardian of the site. On 26 March 1890 the Funicular began operating, and in 1943 the Lightning Research Centre was set up.
Mankind has always been fascinated by this universal phenomenon and has long tried to unveil its mysteries. “Tracking down lightning” is the title of this new exhibition. Through the history of the lightning research centre, a world-renowned laboratory equipped with sophisticated technology for monitoring and measuring lightning which operated on the summit from 1943 to 1982, directed by Professor Berger of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, the exhibition illustrates the unusual activities that for nearly 40 years defined the history of the mountain. The current from direct lightning strokes where collected by two towers on mount San Salvatore and grounded via a shunt resistor. Special cables transmit the voltage signal to the oscilloscopes in the laboratory. Tower 1 is the todays Swisscom TV transmitter, and tower 2 is located further north on mount San Carlo. The measuring instruments where located inside a Faraday cage made of fine wire net, which served to protect instruments and observers.
A cathode ray oscilloscope and the exhibited mirror-galvanometer oscilloscope recorded the current of direct strokes to the towers. Other instruments recorded the negative and positive coronal discharges known as St. Elmo’s fire. Thunderstorm detectors enable precise statistics to be compiled of all such activity in the vicinity of this mountain peak. Special cameras also recorded the chronological development of lightning flashes. Every year each of the two towers was struck by lightning up to about 100 times.
In 1969 Swiss Post Office television and radio antennae were erected. Last but not least, in 1999 the two organisations established the San Salvatore Museum, illustrating the proactive role they both still play today.
Around these important structures, year after year, the Confraternity managed to enrich and beautify the church on the summit. It became a focal point for the faithful and of great significance for the entire Lugano area. This was reconfirmed in 1900 with the erection of a huge iron cross, historic testimony to the importance of the mountain for the Funicular Company and the Confraternity of St Martha and the Good Death.
Enjoy your lunch ore dinner at The Ristorante Vetta with open air terrace and a panoramic veranda can welcome over 200 people. It offers gourmet menus inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, with healthy products of the season, fresh from the market. It is comfortable, practical and ideal for lunches, aperitifs, coffee breaks and snacks, or for relaxing and enjoying the breathtaking views on the summit of the beautiful Monte San Salvatore.