From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the composer, see Varèse. For other uses, see Varese (disambiguation).
Città di Varese
Palazzo Estense, town hall of Varese
Palazzo Estense, town hall of Varese
Coat of arms of Varese
Coat of arms
Map of comune of Varese (province of Varese, region Lombardy, Italy).svg
Varese is located in Italy
Location of Varese in Italy
Coordinates: 45°49′N 08°50′E / 45.817°N 8.833°E / 45.817; 8.833Coordinates: 45°49′N 08°50′E / 45.817°N 8.833°E / 45.817; 8.833
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(s) Varesini
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 21100
Dialing code 0332
Patron saint San Vittore
Saint day 8 May
Website Official website

Varese (Italian: [vaˈreːze], Latin Baretium, archaic German: Väris, Varés 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.


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[edit]

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[edit]

Varese is rich in castles, many once pertaining to the Borromeo family. The historic center of the city includes the Praetorian Palace and Villa Cagna, a residential complex that also hosts the Civic Music School of Varese.

After the 19th-century, it was enriched by villas and their surrounding gardens, many now open to visitors, including:

  • Villa Recalcati in Casbeno built in early 18th-century, enlarged during 1756-77, once a luxury hotel, the building now houses the Offices of the Province of Varese and the Prefecture.
  • Villa Mylius, near the town center, was once owned by the Jesuit order, and in 1773 the house and park were sold to the notable Francesco Torelli, who transformed a modest building into a large villa, then sold in 1902 to the industrialist George Mylius. After his death, the property was divided among several heirs, who in 1946 jointly sold it to the varesino Achille Cattaneo, and he donated to the town of Varese in 2007.
  • Villa Toeplitz, in the locality Sant'Ambrogio stands, with a large public park. The complex is named after 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.
  • Ville Ponti were built between 1850 and 1870 by Milanese architect Giuseppe Balzaretto (1801-1874). In 1976, it was converted into a convention center. The main building, surrounded by a public park, is decorated internally by Giuseppe Bertini (1825-1898). Part of the complex, Villa Fabio Ponti is a neoclassical-style villa housed in 1959 headquarters for Garibaldi.
  • Villa Menafoglio Litta Panza in locations Biumo Superiore, opposite the entrance of Ville Ponti, was commissioned in mid-18th century by the Marquis Paolo Antonio Menafoglio, and is an examples of vacation home in Varese. The villa with the garden was partly transformed during the Napoleonic period (neoclassical hall), when the garden was converted into an English-style garden. Recognized since 1996 as well protected by the FAI, the building currently hosts the contemporary art collection of the family Panza.
  • Villa Augusta, in Giubiano neighborhood, was built in the second half of the 19th-century. Already owned by Testoni, passed to the Hospital of Circolo di Varese and then, 30 September 1952, was ceded to the Roman Catholic order of the Sisters of Purgatory Helpers. Since 1968, the villa was purchased by the city and houses municipal offices. The park is open to the public from 5 April 1970.
  • Villa Baragiola, in Masnago, has a well-visited 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 in the next decade refurbished as 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.
  • Castello di Masnago, Varese

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

Natural areas[edit]

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[edit]


Varese is notable as home to many cyclists, including:[2]

Music festivals[edit]

  • 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[edit]

Twin towns — Sister cities[edit]

Varese is twinned with:


External links[edit]