• Lakes

Lago di Varese a jewel in the Alps

Just six kilometres away, this natural city break offers unexpected views, from water to mountains.

Almost completely on the flat, this cycle path is suitable for all and runs right around Lago di Varese.

With its very varied scenery, the route alternates views of meadows
and woods, water and mountains. The Campo dei Fiori massif slopes down towards the banks of the lake and the Alps can be seen in the distance, with Monte Rosa standing
out visibly on clear days.

Campo dei Fiori
Chestnut and beech woods, rock plants and marshlands with a wealth of fauna. Campo dei Fiori park is a paradise for nature lovers, crisscrossed by paths, some of which
are themed. The Giubileo trail traces the ancient routes taken by pilgrims on their way from Northern Europe to Rome, while the Verde Varesina is a hiking trail to be walked
over several days that takes in the Varese lakes and Prealps. Another walk takes visitors up to the Sacro Monte mountain, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Those who like visiting churches and buildings will enjoy the Liberty villas, Badia di Ganna and Rocca di Orino
in the park.

Special water effects
Romantic, bucolic routes featuring fountains, gardens and orchards. The park of the early twentieth-century eclectic Villa Toeplitz in Varese covers eight hectares and offers a constant series of different experiences. A large number of paths and trails wind their way through the park, allowing visitors to admire a variety of plants that ranges from local to exotic species. Spectacular fountains in pale blue mosaic and grey Carrara
marble reach their climax against a monumental flight of steps in porphyry from Cuasso al Monte. The geometry of the pools and fountains recall the oriental gardens of the Mongolian emperors.

Milan’s “Little Versailles”
This is how Giacomo Leopardi described Palazzo Estense and its gardens in Varese. When he built his residence, the Duke of Este actually had Schönbrunn in mind, the summer home of the Habsburgs in Vienna. The gate of honour leads to a beautiful parterre dotted with beds of low-growing shrubs and flowers. In the centre, a fountain and in the background, Belvedere hill, which offers wonderful views.

Prehistory at Isolino
A few kilometres from the western bank of Lago di Varese, Isolino Virginia is a wonderfully preserved example of one of the most important pile-dwelling sites from the Neolithic, dating as far back as 3500 B.C. Objects in quartz, flint and obsidian chippings and arrowheads were dug up in the sixties and are today on show in the civic
Museum of Prehistory, which can be reached by boat from Biandronno. A visit ends with an educational trail that explains how the prehistoric inhabitants of the pile dwellings lived. Isolino Virginia is a Unesco World Heritage Site as a pile-dwelling site.

The appeal of the colonnade
Voltorre, just a few hundred metres from Gavirate, is home to the Chiostro della Chiesa
di S. Michele
cloister. Hidden among farmhouses and plants, this example of Lombardy Romanesque architecture has been a national monument since 1911 and was originally built in 1100. Its colonnaded walkway is particularly worthy of mention, with its very slender columns of varying heights, cylindrical or octagonal and topped with capitals, each one having a different structure: Greek, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian or Byzantine. The history of the cloister is explained in a permanent exhibition housed in the modern art museum in the same building.
 

5 reasons for

1. Palude Brabbia bog, Inarzo. This is one of the best preserved lowland peat bogs in foothills and has clear post-glacial origins. Palude Brabbia is managed by the LIPU (Italian society for the protection of birds) and it is a birdwatcher’s paradise.

2. Velate Tower. Belonging to FAI (Italian Environmental Fund), this tower is a landmark
in the hilly countryside around Varese and it has great symbolic value for locals. One whole side remains intact of the original formidable 25-metre tall four-sided building.

3. Villa Panza, Varese. A masterpiece of the American advance guards furnished with period furniture and African and pre-Colombian works of art. All housed in an eighteenth-century building, renovated in the twentieth century by Piero Portaluppi and surrounded by a splendid park. Villa Panza is a truly unique must-visit.

4. Canoeing and… Lido Schiranna also offers gliding but the main attraction is canoeing, as Lago di Varese is particularly suited to this sport, so much so that the Australian team picked Gavirate as its European training base camp.

5. Pipe Museum, Gavirate. Briar, cherrywood, olive and wild olive, juniper, oak, applewood, boxwood, mulberry, rosewood, lemonwood, orangewood, cypress, and ebony are the woods used in pipe making. Alberto Paronelli has dedicated a museum to this ancient article. The 30,000 exhibits include tools, machines, porcelain and terracotta.

On the same topic

Discover the lakes of Brianza - Greenland

  • Lakes
Laghi Brianza (Ph: shutterstock)

From Como to Bellagio by Boat

Traveling between the two shores of the lake, between splendid coasts and the majestic frame of the Pre-Alps
  • Lakes
From Como to Bellagio by Boat

Lago di Iseo: prehistory and bubbles

The Valle Camonica rock engravings are as famous worldwide as the wine made in Franciacorta. On a journey of discover what else this area has to offer
  • Lakes
Lago di Iseo Preistoria e bollicine

Lake Iseo From Shore to Shore by Boat

  • Lakes
Lake Iseo From Shore to Shore by Boat

Canyoning in Valmalenco

A unique canyoning route in the Alps
  • Lakes
Speleocanyoning nel torrente Cormor in Valmalenco

Lake Iseo Photo Gallery

A way to get to know landscapes, places, characteristics and peculiarities of a vast and very varied territory.
  • Lakes
Lake Iseo and Valcamonica from A to Z

Lago di Garda: the shadow of D’Annunzio

From the Vittoriale degli Italiani to the fifteenth-century Cathedral in Salò, via the Valle delle Cartiere valley in Toscolano Maderno: all the spectacular sights around Gardone Riviera
  • Lakes
Lago di Garda, lungolago Zanardelli

5 Thing-to-do in Gravedona

Visit Gravedona ed Uniti, a cozy town in North Lake Como
  • Lakes
gravedona

Lago di Lugano The Little World of the Past

A place of cultural interest indeed with the landscapes of Fogazzaro’s novels, the fossils of Monte San Giorgio, the fortifications of World War land the secret places of Ceresio
  • Lakes
Lago di Lugano Piccolo mondo antico

Canoeing

Vivere i laghi lombardi in canoa.
  • Lakes
Canoeing

What to do in Lake Iseo

  • Lakes
What to do in Lake Iseo

Botanical garden and lakeside of gardone riviera

Splendid village of Lake Garda, an exceptional place, among botanical gardens and memories linked to Gabriele D'Annunzio.
  • Lakes
Botanical garden and lakeside of Gardone Riviera

Brunate a view on the Belle Époque

Visit the "Balcony on the Alps".
  • Lakes
Outdoor trip to Brunate

Luino

The tourist boast of Luino is the picturesque and folkloristic weekly market.
  • Lakes
The Luino Market

Lake Como in spring

Discovering Lake Como, among blooming wisteria, idyllic landscapes and crystal clear waters.
  • Lakes
Visiting the Villas by boat

Sailing

Sailing in the lakes of Lombardy with a sailboat is the best choice if you want to enjoy a breezy climate.
  • Lakes
Sailing

Lake Garda Photo Gallery

Photo exhibition to tell the beauty of this territory.
  • Lakes
Discovering Lake Garda with pictures, from A to Z

Lakes in Lombardy: 5 unmissable experiences

5 consigli per una giornata indimenticabile: da Gardone Riviera all’Isola Comacina, alle sponde perfette per chi ama la bici
  • Lakes
Laghi in Lombardia autunno

The loveliest island in the Lakes

Visit the islands of the Lombard lakes: a dip in little enchanted worlds.
  • Lakes
The loveliest island in the lakes: Montisola, Isola Comacina, Isola del Garda

Lake Maggiore

The Doll Museum. The villages and the districts. Trekking, horse riding and water sports. Advice for experiencing Lake Maggiore
  • Lakes
Vivere il Lago Maggiore