La Rocca di Angera: a dwelling of other times with a breathtaking view of Lake Maggiore

The Rocca di Angera is a spectacular construction that rises above Lake Maggiore, supported only by a mighty limestone rock. The distant view is extremely suggestive, with the impression of approaching a distant place transported directly from the past.


Its construction dates back to the 12th century and the still visible structure fully respects its style.

Initially the property belonged to the Archiepiscopal Mensa, only to be acquired by the Visconti family in 1384. Years later the family fell into disrepair and for a moment it seemed that the fortress too was destined to suffer the same fate. Instead, the Community of the Ambrosian Republic decided to sell it to Vitiliano Borromeo, a local treasurer. Since then, and still today, Angera belongs to the Borromeo family who take care of it and respect its immense value.

The Rocca has five “bodies” erected in different eras . The first, called Torre Principal or Castellana, was built towards the end of the 13th century following the design of a square plan. From the top you can enjoy a splendid view over the entire Lake Maggiore and the surrounding area.

The other two bodies are known as ” Ala Viscontea ” and ” Ala Borromea “. These are two different buildings associated with the central tower which were built first by the Visconti and then by the Borromeo. The second family carried out a much greater investment work than the first, considerably enlarging the fortress.

Then there are the last two bodies, which are probably also the oldest. The Palazzo alla Scaligera dates back to the 12th century and is located between the city walls and the castle tower. Instead the last one is constituted by the Tower of Giovanni Visconti and it is situated in the medieval extremity of the Visconti wing. It was wanted by the family, to transmit power and strength to the entire structure.

Reaching the interiors, one looks out onto rooms with medieval furnishings that are freely accessible to the public. Among them, the beautiful Hall of Justice which houses the frescoes made at the beginning of the construction by the “Master of Angera”. The works tell stories associated with the life of Archbishop Ottone Visconti.

Then there are specific areas dedicated to the collections of vintage dolls, toys, books, miniature furniture and board games belonging to the eighteenth-century society. An extremely intimate historical journey, which will give you a very original point of view of the time.

Recently an interesting collection of majolica has been added , exhibited in the Hall of Mythology. More than three hundred pieces of various invoices: Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish and even Persian and Chinese. The collection refers to a royal, the collection that Madame Gisèle Brault-Pesché jealously kept in her house-museum in Tours.

Prices and Reductions

Water lilies + Serre (entrance with guided tour)

  • Full: € 10
  • Reduced children: € 6

Combined tickets with Isola Bella, Isola Madre and Parco Pallavicino are also available on the official website.

How to get

The Rocca di Angera is located precisely in Angera (Varese), in Via Rocca Castello. It can be reached by car along the Laghi motorway towards Gravellona Toce, taking the Sesto Calende exit. From here it is necessary to continue with the state road 629 in the direction of Angera, where access to the fortress is facilitated by tourist signs. There is ample free parking in front of the entrance. For those wishing to travel by train, it is necessary to take the Milan-Sempione line, getting off at the Arona stop. From here the boat to Angera leaves. The Rocca can then be reached on foot along a scenic route of about 15 minutes uphill.

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