The civic gardens on the lakefront at Lugano surround the Villa Ciani, just a couple of minutes to the east of the city centre. The gardens, also known as the “Parco Ciani”, were re-formed along with the villa in the 19th century by the Ciani brothers, well known in political and economic spheres at the time. The villa was a base for Italian refugees and for the ideas put forward during “Il Risorgimento” (The Resurgence), when the states of the Italian peninsula agglomerated and became the single state of Italy. The villa is now a centre for the arts and features a congress centre and city museum. My enduring memory wasn’t of a park on the border with Italy, but one which reminded me of city parks in Milan and in London, with their organized flower beds and mix of non-native trees.