Driving in Italy is as challenging as learning to speak the language! Italians who take 2 and 3 hour lunches drive faster than one would ever think possible on the narrow windy roads. Each outing in the car is an adventure - good advice is to drive very defensively and don't get upset with the Italian drivers, it's just the way they drive.
Drive carefully on the roads around the Lakes as roads are very narrow. Do not turn right on a red light. Lights are required to be on at all times. Petrol prices are lower in Switzerland than in Italy. There are several service stations just across the border. There is a petrol station in Porlezza with an attendent on duty during the day and self-service after hours.
Parking spaces with white lines are usually free. Spaces with blue lines require payment. You will usually find a parking ticket machine located nearby. You will need to enter the number of the parking space into the machine. Once you get the ticket, place it on the dashboard.
In Lugano and Como, it is probably easiest to use the multistory car parks. Take the ticket from the machine as you enter, keep it with you and insert it in the machine at the cassa. After payment, retian the returned ticket for use in the machine at the exit.
If your stay is for more than a month in Italy, you may benefit from leasing a car. As the roads are narrow the smaller the better! We usually find Holiday Autos the cheapest of the car-hire websites: