Funicolare degli Angioli

Text and photos by Michel AZEMA

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Funicolare degli Angioli / Angel’s funicular / funiculaire des Anges

Lugano is the most meridional town of Switzerland. It is part of Ticino (Tessin), the only Swiss canton where Italian is the official language. Ticino is certainly my favorite canton of Switzerland, you can find many place for hiking, very high mountains, glaciers, beautiful lakes (Lago Maggiore and Lago di Lugano) and rivieras, beautiful Ticinese architecture, the best food of Switzerland and certainly the best claret of Switzerland (Merlot del Ticino)!!! What else? Of course, many funiculars and trains!

The funicular Angioli is (was) the fourth funicular of Lugano and certainly the most unknown.
It is situated in the south of Lugano and was linking Via Nassa (Piazza Luini) to Via Clemente Maraini, the way which goes to the main train station. The lower station starts just beside the Santa Maria degli Angioli church.
The Socičta Funicolare degli Angioli (FA) created in 1910 built the funicular which started in 1913 to link the Lugano lake to the big hotels.
At the bottom of the funicular there is no station, the tracks are following a big stair, at the top a 30m bridge passes over the Via Giuseppe Motta and arrives directly at the third floor a tower which is the upper station. An aerial foot-bridge links the station to the Bristol hotel. The tower contains a vertical counterweight which helps the electrical engine.

The line is a one way track, no siding, only one blue cabin(still the same since the origin) with 4 compartments for a maximum of 26 passengers.
The 1st January 1973, the owner (Mrs. Ilda e Biancamaria Ferrazzini) gave the funicular for nothing to the City of Lugano. In 1981 the Bristol hotel was closed and the Socičta Funicolare degli Angioli (FA) disappeared.
Number of passengers:
1974-78: 60000 passengers / year
1980: 89956
1982: 47305
1983: 42567
1984: 22286

In 1986, the service was reduced to 8 hours per days, between 17 April to 5 October and in the 4th December 1986, the City of Lugano decided to suspend the exploitation in 1987 to think to a new financial and technical solution to the Funicolare Angioli.
There was a project to replace it with an electrical stair.

Today, the funicular is still at the same state!

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Copyright © 1996 by Michel Azéma, Paris (France)
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