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The garden at the Steger Center

Riva San Vitale is a small town of about 2,600 people located in the Canton of Ticino, in the southern part of Switzerland, near Lugano. Italy’s border is only 10 miles away. The town is situated between two mountain peaks, Monte Generoso and Monte San Giorgio, and borders Lake Lugano. 

What to expect at the Steger Center


A spacious garden and patio and a gated courtyard bordered on one side by former horse stables. 


An espresso machine, bikes, guitars, yoga mats, basketballs, and soccer balls to use for recreational activities around town.

Steger Center Grounds
Espresso Machine

What to expect in Riva San Vitale

A street in Riva san Vitale
Lake Lugano in Riva San Vitale


To eat around town, take a quick walk from the Steger Center to reach various restaurants, gelato stores, or the local supermarket. The post office, pharmacy, and ATM are also within walking distance.

Getting around

Riva San Vitale is served by the Capolago-Riva San Vitale train station, which is a 10-minute walk from the Steger Center. This station connects to many major rail stations, making travel throughout Europe simple. Many students take the 20-minute train ride to the city of Lugano for additional shopping, recreation, and sightseeing opportunities. The neighboring town of Mendrisio is a 20-minute pedal away via a convenient bike path. Buses provide a link to the train station, as well as nearby towns.

Things to do

The local middle school allows Virginia Tech students to use its basketball courts and soccer fields after the school day is complete.

Historical sites

The town dates back centuries, and many local buildings are listed as Swiss heritage sites of national significance. The Steger Center faces Via Settala, an ancient Roman road. The Riva San Vitale Baptistery dates from the 5th century and is the most ancient stonework Christian monument in Switzerland. The Ferrovia Monte Generoso SA is the one of the oldest cog railways still in service in Switzerland. For more than 130 years, this train has been making the daily journey to the summit of Monte Generoso.

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Riva San Vitale, Switzerland

Video: A day in Riva

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Photo gallery: Around Riva