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Angera, Province of Varese, Lombardy

Situated at the south end of Lake Maggiore, this resort center enjoys a fine lakefront, where modern tourist facilities are located, with the ancient castle of the Borromeo family in a domineering position, offering a great view over the whole lake landscape. The area is also renowned for its quality wines.

Info

  • Altitude: 195 mt a.s.l
  • Population: about 5500 inhabitants
  • Zip/postal code: 21021
  • Dialing Area Code: +39 0331
  • Patron Saint: Santa Maria Assunta, celebrated on 15 August
  • Frazioni & Localities: Barzola, Capronno
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Provinces of Lombardy

History - Antiquity

Archeological findings have shown the presence of human settlements in the area sice the most ancient times. In local caves items have been found dated 8000 BC, and the population of the time practiced hunting and later angling on the lake. In Roman times it was called Angleria and was an important lake porton Lake Verbanum (the Roman name of Lake Maggiore) and a "statio", that is, a resting place along the Roman roads. The original Roman plan that divided the town in "insulae" is still visible in the present road plan.

History - Middle Ages and Modern Times

In medieval times it was called Stazzona, and its strategic importance rose with the construction of the powerful fortress, as a checkpoint on the south of Lake Maggiore. Angera became in the 14th century a bishopric seat and in 1397 passed under the rule of Gian Galeazzo Visconti and in 1449 to the Borromeo family. In 1743 the Treaty of Worms assigned the western bank of the lake to Piedmont, so Angera was on the borderline between Piedmont (under the Savoy) and Lombardy. In 1820 the harbor was rebuilt, and the introduction in 1826 of steamships gave great impulse on lake trade.

What to see

  • The Rocca dei Borromeo, with a huge central part, built in the 13th century, a stronghold in later centuries of the Torriani and Visconti families. Inside are the fine "Sala della Giustizia" whose vaults are covered with frescoes of the 13th centuries, and other rooms that exhibit more detached frescoes of the 15th century, originally placed in the Borromeo palace in Milan, painted by Michelino from Besozzo and Giovanni from Vaprio - more on the history and architecture of Rocca Borromeo
  • The church of Santa Maria Assunta, existing already in the 14th century, divided into 3 naves, with the 2 side altars ordered by Cardinal Carlo Borromeo
  • The church of saints Cosma and Damiano, in the frazione Barzola, with a huge, splendid belltower of the 15th century in a domineering position over the hills, built in layers of stones, pebbles, granite and other material.
  • The Antro Mitriaco, a natural cave, which can be visited only with special permission, at the foot of the rock wall on top of which the fortress rises. The Antro was used for the Mithriac worship, as shown by small altars in the rock outside the entrance. In the cave and around it items in ceramic and clay were found. A stone with an inscription to Cautopates - one of the 2 torch bearers often portrayed as attendants of Mithras - is presently in the Archeological Museum in Milan.