Varés (Lombard)
Città di Varese
The Piazza del Podestà
The Piazza del Podestà
Flag of Varese
Coat of arms of Varese
Location of Varese
Varese is located in Italy
Location of Varese in Italy
Varese is located in Lombardy
Varese (Lombardy)
Coordinates: 45°49′N 08°50′E / 45.817°N 8.833°E / 45.817; 8.833
ProvinceVarese (VA)
FrazioniAvigno, Belforte, Biumo Inferiore, Biumo Superiore, Bizzozero, Bobbiate, Bosto, Bregazzana, Bustecche, Calcinate degli Orrigoni, Calcinate del Pesce, Campo dei Fiori, Capolago, Cartabbia, Casa Bassa, Casbeno, Cascina Gualtino, Cascina Mentasti, Caverzasio, Fogliaro, Gaggio, Giubiano, Lissago, Masnago, Mirasole, Mustonate, Oronco, Prima Cappella, Rasa di Varese, San Fermo, Sangallo, Santa Maria del Monte, Sant'Ambrogio, Schiranna, Ungheria, Velate
 • MayorDavide Galimberti (PD)
 • Total54 km2 (21 sq mi)
382 m (1,253 ft)
 (28 February 2017)[2]
 • Total80,588
 • Density1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code0332
Patron saintSan Vittore
Saint day8 May
WebsiteOfficial website

Varese (UK: /vəˈrz, -zi/ və-RAY-zay, -⁠zee,[3] US: /vɑːˈrs/ var-AY-say,[4] Italian: [vaˈreːze] (listen) or [vaˈreːse]; Varesino: Varés [ʋaˈreːs]; Latin: Baretium; archaic German: Väris) is a city and comune in north-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 55 km (34 mi) north-west of Milan. The population of Varese in 2018 was 80,559.[5]

It is the capital of the Province of Varese. The hinterland or exurban part of the city is called Varesotto.


The city of Varese lies at the foot of Sacro Monte di Varese, part of the Campo dei Fiori mountain range, that hosts an astronomical observatory, as well as the Prealpino Geophysical Centre. The village which is in the middle of the mountain is called Santa Maria del Monte because of the medieval sanctuary, which is reached through the avenue of the chapels of the Sacred Mountain. Varese is situated on seven hills: the San Pedrino Hill, the Giubiano Hill, the Campigli Hill, the Sant'Albino Hill, the Biumo Superiore Hill, Colle di Montalbano (Villa Mirabello) and the Hill of Miogni. The city also looks over Lake Varese.


Varese's winters are not significantly affected by the proximity of Lago Maggiore and the minor lakes surrounding it. In late autumn and winter, temperatures frequently fall below zero Celsius, even if just by a few degrees. This differentiates it from areas south of the city. As in other cities in the foothills of Lombardy, fog is an infrequent phenomenon. Varese is on average cooler than other cities of the Lombard Prealps, especially in winter. Varese is one of the rainiest cities in Italy, with an annual precipitation average of more than 1,500 millimetres (59 in).[6] Since the 1980s, snow has fallen less frequently, with the annual average going from 69 cm in 1967–1987 to 33 cm in 1988–2017.[7]


Varese city, like the province, has a very high immigrant population owing to both its economy (many multinational companies and the EU's Joint Research Centre in nearby Ispra) and its location (proximity to Milan makes it an ideal place for the latter city's workers).


See also: List of mayors of Varese


This town has been known since the Early Middle Ages when it became officially a municipality.[8] The population by 1848 was about 4000.[9]

In 1859, Giuseppe Garibaldi confronted Austrian forces led by Field Marshal-Lieutenant Carl Baron Urban near Varese. Also, it was here where Alessandro Marchetti's Savoia-Marchetti SM.93 made his first test flights.

In the 20th century, thanks to the increase in population and to the improvement of its economy, the dimensions of this urban centre rose. During the 20th century, its economy flourished quickly, mainly in manufacturing, in the mechanical and electromechanical industry and textile industry. Varese was well known for the footwear industry.[10]


The coat of arms of Varese

The coat of arms of the City of Varese dates back to around 1347. On the wooden cover of the double copy of the Burgi et Castellatiae de Varisio Statutes, preserved in the municipal archive, the oldest example of a civic coat of arms is depicted: "silver Samnite shield. with two corners of red, right and left on the head; all around closed by a black band". The effigy of San Vittore has no crown. It is probably in the sixteenth century - as the Varese historian Luigi Borri believes in his work Documenti Varesini of 1891 - that the shield was surmounted by the marquis crown and the effigy of St. Victor, patron saint of the city.

The coat of arms was recognized by decree of the head of the government of 17 June 1941 and the banner was granted with the royal decree of 28 April 1941.


The road and rail infrastructure network that makes up the connection system of the city of Varese is powered by a lot of little streets and a double rail network and by 74,000 of high mobility. In particular, the major movements are incoming into Varese. In the average weekday over 113,000 vehicles enter Varese.[11]

The most used form of transportation in Varese is the private vehicle, followed by the local public transport. The A8 motorway connects Varese with Milan. The city has also a Ring Road System: Varese's Ring Road consists of three roads currently in operation and one more under construction (North Ring Road). The currently operating roads of Varese's Ring Road System are the East Ring Road, a double lane road managed by ANAS; South Ring Road, a double lane highway managed by Autostrada Pedemontana Lombarda; North East Ring Road, a single lane road managed by ANAS.

Many important national and provincial roads pass through Varese.

The entire rail network serving the capital is electrified. The city is served by three railway stations:

- Varese FS, managed by Centostazioni and RFI SpA, Ferrovie Dello Stato Group: it is the first/last station of Suburban Line S5 of Milan Varese-Treviglio via Milan (operated by ATM-Trenord) and runs a high-frequency train to Milan and Porto Ceresio, toward Switzerland (operated by Trenord). In addition, Varese FS provides direct trains to Malpensa Airport, Como, Mendrisio and Lugano (Switzerland). - Varese Nord (in the city centre) and Varese Casbeno (in the neighbourhood of Casbeno), managed by FerrovieNord on Milan Cadorna-Saronno-Varese-Laveno line: train service is operated by Trenord.

The city has both an extensive city bus network (12 lines + 3 lines in the urban area) operated by Autolinee Varesine, and suburban bus services. International bus services are operated by Swiss Post Bus of line 523 that link Varese to Lugano and Mendrisio.

In Varese there is also a funicular service on the Vellone-Sacro Monte funicular.

The nearest airfield is Varese-Venegono Airport (ICAO:LILN) located 10 km southeast of Varese.

Main sights

The city is home to the Sacro Monte di Varese ('the Sacred Mount of Varese'), a place of pilgrimage and worship. It is one of the Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy, included on the UNESCO World Heritage list.[12]

Civic buildings

The Palazzo Estense, now used as the town hall of Varese

Varese is rich in castles, many once pertaining to the Borromeo family. The historic centre of the city includes the Praetorian Palace and Villa Cagna, a residential complex that also hosts the Civic Music School of Varese.

After the 19th century, it was enriched by villas and their surrounding gardens, many now open to visitors, including:

In the city centre, there is the Palazzo Estense with its gardens (built in the 17th century) and Villa Mirabello. Villa Mirabello, the seat of Museo Civico Archeologico (Civic Archaeological Museum), was built in the late 600s on the top of the hill which carries its name. This site is surrounded by a park which is set close to the park of Palazzo Estense.[14]

Natural areas

In addition to numerous public parks of the city, often appurtenances of historic villas, there is the Park Luigi Zanzi in Schiranna, established in the sixties through a partial filling of the coast of Lake Varese. It is a large botanical garden located on the banks of Lake Varese, rich in numerous species of trees and birdlife that is partially sheltered in the reeds along the banks. Bathing beach in the summer, the park also offers the possibility of peaceful walks and cycling on the bike path.

Close to the city of Varese is the Regional Park Campo dei Fiori, a natural reserve of over five thousand acres consisting of the massive mountain Campo dei Fiori and Mount Martica, separate from that valley Rasa which is the junction of Valcuvia and Olona valley. Once the peak of the Campo dei Fiori was characterized by extensive grassland, it became the historical destination of tourism of Varese and of Milan. Today is the spectacular blooms - which gave the name to the area - to be one of its main attractions. It is a very diverse place showing aspects of extreme interest, related both to the natural environment, both in history and culture, referring to a past full of events and traditions. There are small farming villages, monuments of rare beauty, cave systems and articulated a well-maintained network of trails: some passable, as well as on foot, on horseback and on bicycle. Inside the park are established six nature reserves enclosing environments most important and characteristic.


The economy of Varese is mainly based on industry and, to a lesser extent, specialized agriculture; some famous Varese-based firms are:

and many more as it is one of the most industrialised areas in Northern Italy.

Varese is close to Malpensa International Airport, which serves the international traffic of Milan, Italy.


Varese is home to a European School, the European School, Varese, which was established in 1960 for the children of European Union staff, who work mainly at one of the three institutes of the Joint Research Centre in nearby Ispra.

It is one of the two sites of the University of Insubria, located in the heart of the Garden City is hosting in the newly built Campus Bizzozero faculties of Medicine, Economics, Natural Sciences etc.



Varese has had a long and strong tradition of competitive cycling. It hosted the 1951 and 2008 World Road Cycling Championships.[16]

One of the biggest events is the yearly Tre Valli Varesine, which usually takes place at the end of September beginning of October. Is a race that goes through the three varesinian valleys: the Valganna, Valcuvia [it] and Valceresio [it].[17]

Varese has been home to numerous cyclists, including:[18]

Music festivals


Varese is known for the Pallacanestro Varese which played, in the 1970s, 10 European Champions Cup finals in a row and won 5 of them.

International relations

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Italy

Varese is twinned with:


  1. ^ "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Popolazione Residente al 1° Gennaio 2018". Italian National Institute of Statistics. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. ^ "Varese". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Varese". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 1 August 2019.
  5. ^ "Popolazione Varese 2001-2018". Gwind srl. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  6. ^ "Statistiche Meteorologiche Centro geofisico Prealpino". Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  7. ^ "Statistiche Meteorologiche Centro geofisico Prealpino". Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  8. ^ "Varese nell'Enciclopedia Treccani". (in Italian). Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  9. ^ The national cyclopaedia of useful knowledge Vol IV. London: Charles Knight. 1848. p. 811.
  10. ^ "Varese nell'Enciclopedia Treccani". (in Italian). Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 December 2014. Retrieved 27 November 2014.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Sacri Monti of Piedmont and Lombardy". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 23 December 2022.
  13. ^ "Villa e Collezione Panza". (in Italian). Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  14. ^ "Villa Mirabello, Piazza Motta, 4 - Varese (VA) – Architetture – Lombardia Beni Culturali". Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  15. ^ Varese, Italy, Honorary Citizenship BASKET: BOB MORSE DIVENTA CITTADINO ONORARIO DI VARESE (in Italian).
  16. ^ "World Cycling Championships". bikeraceinfo. Retrieved 23 December 2022.
  17. ^ "Gran Fondo Tre Valli Varesine, road race course on Google Maps, route description, programm". Retrieved 23 December 2022.
  18. ^ "Stefano Zanini – Still on the market -". 24 November 2007. Retrieved 28 June 2016.