18 Best Places And Things To Do in Varese, Italy

Varese is a beautiful city located in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. Known for its stunning natural landscapes and rich historical heritage, Varese offers a variety of attractions and activities that make it a wonderful destination for travelers. Here are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Varese:

1. Sacro Monte di Varese

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This UNESCO World Heritage site is a sacred mountain dotted with 14 chapels, each depicting scenes from the life of Jesus Christ. The panoramic views from the top are breathtaking, and the serene atmosphere creates a perfect setting for reflection and relaxation. Address: Via Sacro Monte, 21100 Varese VA, Italy.

2. Villa Panza

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Located in the outskirts of Varese, Villa Panza is a magnificent neoclassical villa that houses a remarkable collection of contemporary art. The extensive gardens surrounding the villa are beautifully landscaped and offer a peaceful retreat. Address: Piazza Litta 1, 21020 Varese VA, Italy.

3. Estensi Gardens

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Situated near the historic center of Varese, the Estensi Gardens are a charming oasis of greenery. The park features meticulously manicured lawns, vibrant flowerbeds, and picturesque ponds. It’s an ideal spot for a leisurely stroll or a picnic. Address: Via Tonale, 8, 21100 Varese VA, Italy.

4. Varese Lake

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Just a short distance from the city center, Lake Varese is a tranquil lake surrounded by lush greenery. Visitors can enjoy various water activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, or simply relax on the lakeside promenade. The lake offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Address: Lago di Varese, 21020 Varese VA, Italy.

5. Historic Center

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Explore the charming historic center of Varese, which is adorned with elegant buildings, narrow cobblestone streets, and vibrant piazzas. The Basilica di San Vittore, a Romanesque-style church, is a must-visit attraction in the heart of the city. Address: Piazza Monte Grappa, 21100 Varese VA, Italy.

6. Museo Castiglioni

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This museum is dedicated to the famous Italian architect and designer, Giò Ponti, and showcases his iconic works. The collection includes furniture, ceramics, and architectural models, providing insight into Ponti’s innovative designs. Address: Viale Camillo Golgi, 15, 21100 Varese VA, Italy.

7. Campo dei Fiori Regional Park

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Nature enthusiasts will delight in visiting this expansive regional park, which offers a diverse range of flora and fauna. The park is known for its scenic hiking trails, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Address: Via Gerenzano, 21100 Varese VA, Italy.

8. Rocca di Angera

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Situated on the shores of Lake Maggiore, just a short drive from Varese, Rocca di Angera is a medieval castle that boasts stunning panoramic views of the lake and the surrounding area. The castle houses a museum that displays historical artifacts and artworks. Address: Via Rocca, 4, 21021 Angera VA, Italy.

9. Grotta Remeron

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For adventure seekers, a visit to Grotta Remeron is a must. This cave system offers guided tours, allowing visitors to explore its fascinating underground chambers, stalactites, and stalagmites. Address: Località Remeron, 21020 Casciago VA, Italy.

10. Local Cuisine

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Indulge in the culinary delights of Varese by savoring the local cuisine. The region is known for its delicious risotto dishes, including the famous “Risotto alla Varesina.” Don’t forget to try the local cheeses, such as Stracchino and Gorgonzola, which pair perfectly with a glass of Italian wine. Address: Various restaurants and trattorias throughout the city of Varese.

11. Palazzo Estense

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Visit the Palazzo Estense, a majestic palace located in the heart of Varese. This historic building showcases beautiful architecture and houses the Civic Museums of Villa Mirabello, where you can explore archaeological artifacts, art collections, and historical exhibitions. Address: Via Luigi Sacco, 5, 21100 Varese VA, Italy.

12. Giardini Estensi

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Adjacent to the Palazzo Estense, the Giardini Estensi is a splendid garden that offers a peaceful retreat. Take a leisurely stroll through the well-manicured lawns, admire the colorful flower beds, and relax in the shade of the trees. Address: Viale Luigi Borri, 21100 Varese VA, Italy.

13. Funicolare del Sacro Monte

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Take a ride on the Funicolare del Sacro Monte, a historic cable railway that connects Varese to the Sacro Monte di Varese. Enjoy a scenic journey up the mountainside and soak in the panoramic views of the city and the surrounding countryside. Address: Via Giacomo Matotti, 1, 21100 Varese VA, Italy.

14. Museo Baroffio e del Santuario di Santa Maria del Monte

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This museum is located within the Sacro Monte complex and showcases religious artifacts, art pieces, and historical exhibits related to the Sacro Monte and the Basilica of Santa Maria del Monte. Address: Via del Santuario, 21023 Baroffio VA, Italy.

15. Santa Caterina del Sasso

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Located on the eastern shore of Lake Maggiore, a short drive from Varese, Santa Caterina del Sasso is a stunning hermitage perched on a rocky cliff. Explore the beautiful church and monastery, and marvel at the breathtaking views of the lake. Address: Via Santa Caterina, 21038 Leggiuno VA, Italy.

16. Campo dei Fiori Astronomical Observatory

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If you have an interest in astronomy, visit the Campo dei Fiori Astronomical Observatory. Attend informative lectures, observe celestial objects through telescopes, and learn about the wonders of the universe. Address: Via del Convento, 1, 21025 Masnago VA, Italy.

17. Shopping in the City Center

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Varese offers excellent shopping opportunities, with its elegant boutiques, designer stores, and local artisan shops. Take a stroll along Via Giuseppe Mazzini, the city’s main shopping street, and explore the charming side streets for unique finds. Address: Main shopping area along Via Giuseppe Mazzini, 21100 Varese VA, Italy

18. Villa della Porta Bozzolo

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Situated just outside Varese, Villa della Porta Bozzolo is a splendid 17th-century villa surrounded by beautiful gardens and parkland. Take a guided tour of the villa’s opulent rooms, admire the frescoes, and enjoy the tranquility of the surrounding nature. Address: Via per Viale, 4, 21020 Casalzuigno VA, Italy.