Lugano is of ancient origins. There are sure traces of the small lake and rural borough dating back to the 10th century. It was the object of continuous ducal disputes (Como and Milan) and then Lugano became a Swiss dominion in 1513, a dominion that lasted until 1798, a year in which, under the pressure of the great European upheavals, it asked and obtained independence, thus becoming part of the Swiss Confederation.
The history of the urban development of the city of Lugano can be subdivided into four phases. The medieval form lasted until the end of the eighteenth century. After the shift from the old to the new regime (1798-1847), the social scene changed, and the city expanded beyond the traditional urban circle of walls limited by the gates which were pulled down. There was a change from the old form of the fortified borough to the open form of the modern city.
From 1880 to 1910 the city experienced, especially after the opening of Gotthard’s railway line, an exceptional demographic increase. During those thirty years the population growth was almost 8000 inhabitants, going from 6949 to 14998 units.
From 1900 to 1945 the City underwent important urban changes caused by another demographic increase and economic pressure which really changed radically the structure of the old town centre and of whole districts.
The financial and banking sector started its development at a moderate pace at the beginning of the 20th century and has grown at a steady pace since the sixties and the seventies.
After only a few decades Lugano has become the third financial market in Switzerland. The financial sector has continued to expand even after the creation of the Euro and nowadays all the main Swiss and international banks that are involved in private banking operate in Lugano.
Tourism, finance and trade are therefore the leading sectors of the City’s economy, which, as a whole, guarantee more than 30'000 jobs.