Food at Ristorante Grand Cafe Al Porto* [Salotto Room]
April 2013 | Lugano
*The 1803 above the fireplace is the date it opened — and also when Ticino joined the Swiss Federation. Once a convent (notice the finesgraffito facade), the café evokes the 19th-century days when Giuseppe Mazzini and fellow Italian patriots would huddle here — safely over the border — planning their next move to unify Italy. Much later, as World War II wound down, US dignitary Allen Welsh Dulles met right here with Nazi and Italian representatives to organize a graceful end to the war and prevent the Germans from ruining Italy with a scorched-earth retreat. And in more carefree times, this is where Clark Gable and Sofia Loren dipped cookies in their coffee.