Its construction was started in 1499 by Franciscan friars and was consecrated in 1515. It was restored in 1929/30. Next to the church, there was originally a Franciscan monastery built in 1490. This was dissolved in 1848 and in 1852/54 a hotel was built on its grounds; it was then raised by two floors and converted into the Hotel Palace in 1903, which kept part of the ancient convent’s cloister. The church of Santa Maria degli Angeli is famous for its Renaissance fresco of the Passion and Crucifixion of Christ by Italian artist Bernardino Luini, whose artwork, dating back to 1529, is the most important example of Lombard Renaissance in Switzerland. The monumental fresco is located on the church’s dividing wall and depicts several figures from the Passion of Christ. The Last Supper fresco on the nave’s south wall (originally located in the refectory) and the beautiful Virgin Mary with baby Jesus and St John on the eastern wall of the first side chapel (which was once the lunette of the portal leading to the cemetery) are also by Luini. Both works show a strong influence by Leonardo.
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Lugano’s new cultural centre, LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura was created with the aim of adding value to the cultural and artistic life of the city and the region. It is endowed with a concert and theatre hall and a museum, the first in the region designed for this purpose.