Piazza Monte Grappa

Lake Maggiore & Around

Piazza Monte Grappa, on the cusp of Varese's old town, is fascinating for history and architecture buffs. The square was completely remade in grand Fascist fashion in the early 1930s. Most extraordinary is the Torre Civica, an enormous and somehow menacing clock tower; at the base flowers an arengario (a balcony from which Mussolini and co could harangue the populace). It has an almost sci-fi quality about it.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Lake Maggiore & Around attractions

1. Torre Civica

0.03 MILES

Soaring high above Varese's main square, this enormous clock tower was built in 1933, and has quite the Fascist-era aesthetic about it. At the base, you…

2. Città Vecchia

0.07 MILES

North off Piazza Monte Grappa, the delightful pedestrianised Corso Matteotti signals the western boundary of Varese's tiny old centre, at whose heart…

3. Basilica di San Vittore

0.08 MILES

The showcase attraction of Varese's centre is this ornate basilica, built between the 16th and 17th centuries. The more stolid facade was an 18th-century…

4. Palazzo Estense

0.13 MILES

From the 17th century, nobles and the rich, many from Milan, began to build second residences around Varese's historic centre. Of these, the most…

5. Giardini Estensi

0.14 MILES

Set on a hillside just south of Varese's old centre, these picturesque gardens make a pleasant setting for a stroll. A large circular fountain, a pretty…

7. Villa Panza

0.56 MILES

On a rise north of Varese’s centre, where the high walls of private residences enclose narrow, winding lanes, Villa Panza enjoys beautiful views of the…

8. Villa Recalcati

0.66 MILES

A magnificent 17th-century villa that houses the provincial government. In the late 1800s, it was transformed into a grand hotel, and hosted luminaries…