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Title: Varese  
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Collection: Cities and Towns in Lombardy, Varese
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Città di Varese
Palazzo Estense, town hall of Varese
Palazzo Estense, town hall of Varese
Coat of arms of Varese
Coat of arms
Varese is located in Italy
Location of Varese in Italy
Country Italy
Region Lombardy
Province Varese (VA)
Frazioni Avigno, Belforte, Biumo Inferiore, Biumo Superiore, Bizzozero, Bobbiate, Bosto, Bregazzana, Bustecche, Calcinate degli Orrigoni, Calcinate del Pesce, Campo dei Fiori, Capolago, Cartabbia, Casa Bassa, Casbeno, Cascina Gualtino, Cascina Mentasti, Caverzasio, Fogliaro, Gaggio, Giubiano, Lissago, Masnago, Mirasole, Mustonate, Oronco, Prima Cappella, Rasa di Varese, San Fermo, Sangallo, Santa Maria del Monte, Sant'Ambrogio, Schiranna, Ungheria, Velate
 • Mayor Attilio Fontana (LN)
 • Total 54 km2 (21 sq mi)
Elevation 382 m (1,253 ft)
Population (1 January 2012)
 • Total 79,405
 • Density 1,500/km2 (3,800/sq mi)
Demonym Varesini
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 21100
Dialing code 0332
Twin cities
 • Romans-sur-Isère  France
 • Alba Iulia  Romania
 • Tongling  China
Patron saint San Vittore
Saint day May 8
Website Official website

Varese (Italian:  ( ), Latin Baretium, archaic German: Väris, Varès in Varesino) is a city and comune in north-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 55 kilometres (34 mi) north of Milan.

It is the capital of the Province of Varese. The hinterland or urban part of the city is called Varesotto.


  • Geography 1
  • Climate 2
  • Demographics 3
  • History 4
  • Transport 5
  • Main sights 6
    • Civil buildings 6.1
    • Natural areas 6.2
  • Economy 7
  • Education 8
  • Notable people 9
  • Music festivals 10
  • Sport 11
  • International relations 12
    • Twin towns — Sister cities 12.1
  • References 13
  • External links 14


The city of Varese lies at the feet of Sacro Monte di Varese, part of the Campo dei Fiori mountain range, that hosts an astronomical observatory, as well as the Prealpino Geophysical Centre. The village which is in the middle of the mountain is called Santa Maria del Monte because of the medieval sanctuary, which is reached through the avenue of the chapels of the Sacred Mountain. Varese is situated on seven hills: the San Pedrino Hill, the Giubiano Hill, the Campigli Hill, the Sant'Albino Hill, the Biumo Superiore Hill, Colle di Montalbano (Villa Mirabello) and the Hill of Miogni. The city also looks over Lake Varese.


The winter of Varese is less influenced from the mitigate climate of Lake Maggiore and of the minor lakes surrounding the province. Temperatures minimum in the late Autumn and in the winter frequently go down a few degrees below zero. It is precisely the low night temperatures, to create a different climate to the areas in the south of this city. As in other cities foothills of Lombardy, the fog is an infrequent phenomenon. Varese is on average cooler than other capitals of the Lombard Prealps, especially in winter. The rainfall of Varese is among the highest in Italy, with more than 1,500 millimetres (59 in) of annual average. In winter, snow falls quite frequently, especially in January (about 50 centimetres (20 in) per year).


Varese, like the province, has a very high immigrant population owing to both its economy (many multi-national companies and the nearby EU institution JRC) and its location (proximity to Milan makes it an ideal place for the latter city's workers).


In 1859, Giuseppe Garibaldi confronted Austrian forces led by Field Marshal-Lieutenant Carl Baron Urban near Varese. Also, it was here where Alessandro Marchetti's Savoia-Marchetti SM.93 made his first test flights.


The road and rail infrastructure network that makes up the connection system of the city of Varese is powered by a lot of little streets and a double rail network and is affected daily by over 74,000 movements, with high levels of mobility. In particular, the major movements are incoming and internally to Varese. In the average weekday, over 113,000 vehicles enter in Varese.[1]

The most used form of transportation in Varese is the private vehicle, followed by the local public transport. The A8 motorway connects Varese with Milan. This motorway was part of the first toll road system in the world. The city has also a Ring Road System: Varese's Ring Road, consists of a road currently in operation (East Ring Road, managed by ANAS), and two more under construction (South and North Ring Road), managed by Autostrada Pedemontana Lombarda.

Many important statal and provincial roads pass through Varese.

The entire rail network serving the capital is electrified. The city is served by three railway stations:

- Varese FS, managed by Centostazioni and RFI SpA, Ferrovie Dello Stato Group: it is the first/last station of Suburban Line S5 of Milan Varese-Treviglio via Milan (operated by ATM-Trenord), and run high-frequency train to Milan and Porto Ceresio, toward Switzerland (operated by Trenord). In addition, there is a project under way to connect Varese with Malpensa Airport; this line would then continue past Varese to Mendrisio and Lugano in Switzerland. - Varese Nord (in the city centre) and Varese Casbeno (in the neighborhood of Casbeno), managed by FerrovieNord on Milan Cadorna-Saronno-Varese-Laveno line: train service is operated by Trenord;

The city has both an extensive city bus network (12 lines + 3 lines in the urban area) operated by Autolinee Varesine, and suburban bus services. International bus services are operated by Swiss Post Bus of the line 523 that link Varese to Lugano and Mendrisio.

In Varese there is also a funicular service on the line Vellone-Sacro Monte.

Main sights

The city is most famous for the Sacro Monte di Varese ('the sacred mountain of Varese'), a place of pilgrimage and worship. It is one of the Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy, included on the UNESCO World Heritage list.

Civil buildings

The city of Varese is rich in castles and villas, often built by the Borromeo family or art nouveau. It is historic villas, for most locations of museums or provincial institutional bodies, fascinating, both for construction and for the magnificent gardens that surround them. Besides a few scattered buildings in the historic center of the city, such as the Praetorian Palace or villa Cagna, a residential complex that also hosts the Civic Music School of Varese, there are some important buildings already used in the past in luxury hotels and important structures.

Among these is Villa Recalcati in Casbeno built in the first half of the eighteenth century, then enlarged during 1756-75, was conceived as a luxury hotel, is now the headquarters of Province of Varese and the Prefecture. Near the city center there is Villa Mylius, sold to the town of Varese in 2007. Already the property of the Jesuit Fathers of Varese, in 1773 the villa and park were sold to the notable Francesco Torelli, who transformed from a modest building in real villa, then sold in 1902 to the industrialist George Mylius. With his death, the property was divided among several heirs, who in 1946 agreed to sell it to the varesino Achille Cattaneo, and he donated to the administration.

In the locality Sant'Ambrogio stands Villa Toeplitz, considered one of the most beautiful villas with public park in the city. The complex is named because of Giuseppe Toeplitz (1866-1938), Polish-born banker who bought it in 1914. Already modest country residence of the German family Hannesen, was enlarged by Toeplitz after World War II when his wife Hedwig Mrozowska and his son Louis sold it to brothers Mocchetti of Legnano. The complex with the elegant Italian park passed to the Municipality of Varese in 1972.

They are to remember also the Ville Ponti, built between 1850 and 1870 by architect Giuseppe Balzaretto of Milan (1801-1874), were renovated in 1976 and converted into an impressive convention center. The main building, surrounded by a fine public park, is decorated internally by Giuseppe Bertini (1825-1898), while the neoclassical villa called "Fabio Ponti" - the oldest building of the complex - is remembered for being the headquarters of Garibaldi in 1859. Also in locations Biumo Superiore, opposite the entrance of Ville Ponti, is the Villa Menafoglio Litta Panza. Built from mid-eighteenth century on the initiative of the Marquis Paolo Antonio Menafoglio, is one of the best preserved examples of holiday home around the Varese area, both from the point of view of architecture and from the territorial importance. The villa with the garden was partly transformed in the Napoleonic period (neoclassical hall) together at the park to which were added the parts arranged into English. Recognized since 1996 as well protected by the FAI, the building currently hosts the contemporary art collection of the family Panza.

In Giubiano neighborhood there is Villa Augusta, built in the second half of the nineteenth century. Already owned by Testoni, passed to the Hospital of Circolo di Varese and then, September 30, 1952, was ceded to the order of the Sisters of Purgatory helpers of Rome. Purchased by the City December 12, 1968, the villa houses a municipal undertaking, while the park is open to the public from April 5, 1970.

In the neighborhood of Masnago there is Villa Baragiola, to be mentioned especially for the park. On the north side, in the shadow of Mount Campo dei Fiori, in 1895 the lawyer Andrea Baragiola opened one of the first Italian racecourses, which extended to the area now occupied by the stadium "Franco Ossola" and its ample parking. The villa was renovated in the early thirties and again in the following decade, when it was used in a religious seminary. Passed to the Municipality of Varese in 2001, today is a part of its offices, while the park is open to the public.

In the city centre, there is Palazzo Estense with his gardens and Villa Mirabello.

Natural areas

In addition to numerous public parks of the city, often appurtenances of historic villas, there is the Park Luigi Zanzi in Schiranna, established in the sixties through a partial filling of the coast of Lake Varese. It is a large botanical garden located on the banks of Lake Varese, rich in numerous species of trees and birdlife that is partially sheltered in the reeds along the banks. Bathing beach in the summer, the park also offers the possibility of peaceful walks and cycling on the bike path.

Close to the city of Varese rises instead the Regional Park Campo dei Fiori, a natural reserve of over five thousand acres consists of the massive mountain Campo dei Fiori and Mount Martica, separate from that valley Rasa which is the junction of Valcuvia and Olona valley. Once the peak of the Campo dei Fiori was characterized by extensive grassland, why was historical destination of tourism of Varese and of Milan. Today is the spectacular blooms - which gave the name to the area - to be one of its main attractions. It is a very diverse place showing aspects of extreme interest, related both to the natural environment, both in history and culture, referring to a past full of events and traditions. There are small farming villages, monuments of rare beauty, cave systems and articulated a well-maintained network of trails: some passable, as well as on foot, on horseback and bicycle. Inside the park are established six nature reserves enclosing environments most important and characteristic.


The economy of Varese is mainly based on industry and, to a lesser extent, specialized agriculture; some famous Varese-based firms are:

and many more as it is one of the most industrialised areas in Northern Italy.

Varese is close to the Malpensa International Airport, which serves the international traffic of Milan, Italy.


Varese is home to a European School, the European School, Varese, which was established in 1960 for the children of European Union staff, who work mainly at one of the three institutes of the Joint Research Centre in nearby Ispra.

It is one of the two sites of the University of Insubria.

Notable people

Music festivals

  • Open Jazz Varese [1]
  • Ghost Day Festival


Varese is known for the Pallacanestro Varese which played, in the 1970s, 10 European Champions Cup finals in a row and won 5 of them.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Varese is twinned with:


  1. ^

External links

  • Tourist information, Agenzia del Turismo Varese
  • arci Varese, association for the promotion of social, Territorial Delegation

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