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Lake Lugano is a glacial lake in the south-east of Switzerland, at the border between Switzerland and Italy. The lake, named after the city of Lugano, is situated between Lake Como and Lago Maggiore. It was cited for the first time by Gregory of Tours with the name Ceresio in 590 AD, a name which is said to have derived from the Latin word cerasus, meaning cherry, and refers to the abundance of cherry trees which at one time adorned the shores of the lake. The lake appears in documents in 804 under the name Laco Luanasco.
The lake is 48.7km2 in size, 63% of which is in Switzerland and 37% in Italy, has an average width of roughly a kilometre, a maximum depth of 288m found in the northern basin and bathing in the lake is allowed at any of the 50 or so bathing establishments located along the Swiss shores. The Italian waters of the lake and the exclave of Campione d'Italia are considered by Italian law as non-territorial for fiscal purposes and as such enjoy a special tax status as a duty free area, exemption from EU VAT and offer residents other advantageous tax privileges.
In 1848, the dam of Melide was built on a moraine between Melide and Bissone. The A2 motorway and the Gotthard railways cross the lake there, linking Lugano to Chiasso. The dam separates the northern (27.5 km²) and southern (21.4 km²) basins. The lake retention time of the northern basin (11.9 years) is considerably higher than the southern one (2.3 years) (8.2 years on average).
Well known mountains and tourist destinations on the shores of the lake are Monte Brè (925m) east, Monte San Salvatore (912m) west of Lugano and Monte Generoso (1,701m) on the south-east shore. The World Heritage Site Monte San Giorgio (1,097m) is situated south of the lake.
Fishery in the lake (and Lake Maggiore) is regulated by an agreement between Switzerland and Italy of 1986. The current agreement on navigation dates from 1992.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia