The Lakes of Italy
Lake of Varese
Lakes of Varese's Territory
Lake Varese is surrounded by undulating hills and there is a small island, the
Isolino Virginia, near the western shore. The lake is fed by various underground springs.
Towards the south numerous minor roads and pathways lead to an area with many
marsh plants, small lakes and ponds.
villas. It is full of interesting monuments and artistic and nature excursions can be made
in the surrounding area to places such as the Sacro Monte (Holy Hill), the Monte Campo
dei Fiori, with its observatory which is open to the public, the Lido di Varese (lakeside)
and the towns of Luvinate, Voltorre, Bizzozzero, and Bisuschio. This latter possesses the
XVI century Villa Cicogna Mozzoni, in the midst of a splendid park.
The Isolino Virginia has picturesque woods for romantic walks and the Prehistory
Museum of Villa Ponti, with the various artifacts found in the area, is worth a look.
Within a few kilometers of the lake there are picturesque sites and places of great
artistic interest. Castiglione Olona has many art treasures. Castelseprio is an
archeological area, and Torba (close to Gornate Olona) is an ancient Longobard setting.
On the coast, Biandronno and Cazzago alternate narrow country courts and the elegant residences of the families
that decided to spend their time in these delightful places.
The expanses of Ghirla and Ganna, instead, are set within the mountain area, protected by typically Pre-Alpine relieves.
A place-name that hints at Switzerland but that tells stories of Italian waters and
shores, divided between the Varese and Como territories. If one were to examine
its shape, one might say that nature has amused itself by tracing a complex chain
of gulfs, loops, and ramifications. Lavena and Ponte Tresa, at the western end,
from the very first Roman colonizations, have always been the battle field for contro
l over the bridge joining the two opposite shores.
On the quiet road, remote if compared to traditional crossings, one reaches Porto
Ceresio and the southern tip of the lake, where the coast points north and in the
direction of Swiss territory. Once again Italian shores are those
of Campione d'Italia, the city famous for its international casino, and beyond, that of the deep loop of Porlezza,
where the shore of Val Solda so dear to Fogazzaro opposes the wild promontory of Santa Margherita, a medieval
crossing which is now completely won over by vegetation.
Valsolda, with the defended fractions of Castello and Dasio and the lakeside, and Porlezza, with its ancient village,
were connected to the road about halfway through the last century, and they have maintained the features of remote
villages. Nearby, the Romanesque church of San Maurizio rises on the slopes of Monte Galbiga: buried by a landslide,
it was only recently given back to the faithful, who may admire its Romanesque lines.
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