largest town in Ticino canton, southern Switzerland. It lies along Lake Lugano, northwest of Como, Italy; to the south is Mount San Salvatore (2,992 feet [912 m]), and to the east is Mount Bre (3,035 feet [925 m]). First mentioned in the 6th century, it was occupied in 1499 by the French and was taken in 1512 by the Swiss. The centre of Lugano canton of the Helvetic Republic from 1798 to 1803, it was then included in the newly formed Ticino canton and, with Locarno and Bellinzona, was one of the three cantonal capitals until 1878. In 1888 it became the seat of a bishop with jurisdiction over Italian-speaking Switzerland. During the struggle of 1848-66 to expel the Austrians from Lombardy, Lugano served as the headquarters for the Italian nationalist leader Giuseppe Mazzini.
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