Grand villas are dotted around Varese, a gem of a town found in northern Italy, between Lake Maggiore and Como. These flamboyant villas attract thousands of daily visitors, many of them coming on day trips from the nearby lakes. With the majestic Sacro Monte di Varese, the sacred mountain of Varese,as the area’s highlight, this town is captivating for visitors that take their time and spends a night or two.
The World Heritage Sacro Monte di Varese isn't actually a mountain but a chapel and pilgrimage site, which stands in the park above the town. Varese's historical centre is rich in castles and villas, many of which are open to the public. Praetorian Palace and Villa Cagna are centrally located and the most visited of the sights. For a journey through the unique styles of Italy, explore the 18th century Villa Mylius, the 19th century neoclassical Villa Ponti, and the gardens of Villa Toeplitz. Other villas are found lining the banks of Varese Lake, a small and serene expanse of water downhill from the town.
Varese is approximately an hour north of Milan by train or car. The town can be seen on foot although local buses or a rental car is required to get out to the lake or the chapel in Parco Regionale Campo dei Fiori.
History can be easily tasted in Varese. Try the semi-hard Formaggella, the famous Gorgonzola, or the Violino di capra, a cured goat's leg shaped like a violin.