Welcome > Tour guide > Guided tours Varese

Tour guide

Guided tours Milan

Guided tours Varese

About me

Link page

Translation services

Castiglione Olona

Castiglione Olona and the dream of Renaissance

At a driving distance of only 40 minutes from Milan, in Varese district, is located the village of Castiglione Olona.  It is such a jewel of Renaissance art to be nicknamed “an island of Tuscany in Lombardy”.
The village was the court of the great cardinal Branda Castiglione, ambassador of the Pope and one of the most important religious and political character of the time, fine intellectual and patron of the most innovative artists.

During the guided tour we will admire the Branda Castiglioni palace, built by the family in XIV century and enlarged by the Cardinal Branda in XV century, the Chiesa di Villa, directly influenced by the old sacristy of San Lorenzo in Florence built by Brunelleschi and the Collegiata, typical church in XV century Lombard fashion, decorated with frescoes by Vecchietta and Masolino da Panicale, two Tuscany painters. 
Close to the Collegiata there is the best jewel hidden in Castiglione Olona: the baptistery decorated with beautiful frescos by Masolino da Panicale, it is a real time-machine able to bring us directly to the XV century.
Eventually there is the possibility to visit the interesting Museo d’Arte Plastica, with works of contemporary art, inside the Corte del Doro.

This guided tour is around 3 hours. Accessible by means of public transport and private cars.





Castelseprio and Torba

Deep inside the forest that covers the hills of the Varese district lays the archaeological area of Castelseprio.
Here is located an ancient fortress that was one of the key point for the defence of the area during Roman Empire.  The ruins of the ancient city tell us a fascinating story about Byzantium, Lombards and Franks, a noble history ended by Milan archbishop Ottone Visconti in 1287, when he ordered the total destruction of the city, levelled to the ground houses and fortifications and forbidden their re-construction forever.  
The guided tour illustrates the fortifications, the basilica of San Giovannni (St.Jhon), the houses of the city and the church of San Paolo (St. Paul).
Just out of the old city walls lies the church of Santa Maria Foris Portas, this is very  well preserved and it is one of the most important building for the study of history of art as it is a masterpiece of Christian art. The most interesting feature is inside, where we can admire the beautiful frescos painted by an artist probably coming from the Middle East and, they are a very rare example of histories from the New Testament Apocrypha.
It is really impossible to summarize here every history and the many misteris related to this fashinanting place. You shall visit Castelseprio.

Nearby is located the complex of Torba, perfectly preserved and restored by the FAI. It is possible to visit also this monument.


This guided tour is around 3 hours. Accessible by means of public transport and private buses or cars.




Fortress of Angera

Even before the Roman Empire the lake Maggiore was a strategic area. The Romans built fortresses and towers to control the routes to the South of Germany and the center of Europe. During Medieval times the great dinasties of the Visconti and the Borromeo dominated this key area and built mighty castles.
Towering above the waters of the lower lake is located the Rocca d'Angera. After centuries is still owned by the Borromeo dinasty that preserves it with love like their home. Enter the centuries old gates to admire the palace of the family and know the history of this place. Admire the Medieval frescoes of the hall fo Justice and climb up to the donjon to admire breathtaking views over the lake.

Be surprised by the museum of dolls and toys. A voyage into nostalgia, centuries old dolls used by the princesses of the family, metal trains and trucks, mechanical automata, enter a magical world of fantasy.

This guided tour is around 2 hours. Accessible by means of public transport and private buses or cars.



Lake Maggiore and Borromeo Islands

Maybe the lake Maggiore does not own the dramatic landscape of lake Como neither the large spaces of lake Garda but owns the most beautiful Islands among all lakes of the Alps. In Renaissance the local lords, the Borromeo family, dismissed most of their old fortresses and transformed them into places of beauty. Visit the Isola Bella and its palace that seems to be floating upon the waters of the lake. Do not miss the somptuous gardens and the small village. The near Isola dei Pescatori (fishermen's island) is the perfect place to indulge with the pleasures of the local cusine.

But Lake Maggiore is not just this, it's also Santa Caterina del Sasso, a medieval hermitage suspended over a dramatic cliff facing the waters of the lake. It is the funicular of the Sasso del Ferro, be pulled inside tiny bucklets up to a mountain while enjoying amazing views over the mountains.

Contact me to discover this splendid area between Italy and Switzerland.



Giacomo Zavatteri
Via Michele Scherillo 4
20161 Milano Italy
Phone +393383905549
VAT n. 02249090024