The Cathedral of Saint Lawrence was founded in the High Middle Ages but rebuilt in the late 15th century, with the façade completed in 1517. It is the seat of the Diocese of Lugano, and dedicated to Saint Lawrence of Rome.
The church is known on this site from 818. In 1078 it was made a collegiata, becoming a cathedral in 1888. The original Romanesque building was oriented the opposite way to the present church, as is shown by remains of the apse discovered under the current parvise. In the 15th century the church was expanded and the entrance moved to the present position, while the open roof was covered by a groin vaulted ceiling.
There were extensive renovations in 1905-1910, when some Baroque chapels were demolished and the interior received frescoes by Ernesto Rusca.
The church's main feature is its facade, which was inspired by Giovanni Antonio Amadeo's Certosa di Pavia. It is made of white stone from Saltrio and Viggiù and of Carrara marble, and is divided in three sectors by four false columns supporting the entablature. In the middle sector is the main portal and a large rose window with decoration of cherubs executed after 1578. The decorations of the portals' frames are of high quality, with figures of puttoes, birds and lion-protomes. The central portal, called the 'Saints Portal', has five medallions with reliefs, depicting four saints and, in the middle, the Virgin with Child. Between the portal's frame and the entablature are two angels carrying torches, resembling the decoration of the Roman triumphal arches.
Between the portals, inside square frames, are busts of the Four Evangelists and of the Kings Solomon and David. The entablature frieze has 17 figures, including biblical characters and the Sibyls. Also present are animal figures, while a restoration in 2002 showed traces of a fresco. The main portal of the Romanesque church is now moved to the sacristy.
The bell tower dates, in its lower part, to the Romanesque church. The two upper storey are in the Baroque style with an octagonal lantern covered by a cupola, designed by Costante Tencalla.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.