Today, only a few traces remain of the imposing fortress and fortifications that once stood here; in fact, the fortress was destroyed in the XIX century, and today only a part of the wall can be seen in the city park, which was founded in the place where the building once stood. With a view that can be found nowhere else, here you can look towards the Lombard shore with the Rocca di Angera rising above it. The park attracts residents and tourists who want to visit San Carlone – this is what the locals call the Colossus of San Carlo Borromeo. For centuries, the 35-meter-high statue has protected the lake and the lovely city, which was the birthplace of Charles Borromeo in 1538.
Protected by the promontory with the statue standing over it, the busy town centre holds some fun surprises. The Piazza del Popolo, where elegant buildings constructed in different eras face the square, has taken the place of what once was the most important port on Lake Maggiore. Gothic buildings masterfully placed next to Baroque villas provide the backdrop to Arona’s hotspot: during the warm months the town centre is lively with outdoor cafes, while during the Christmas holiday this square shines with some of the most beautiful and colorful decorations on the lake.
From here you can take a stroll along via Cavour, where ancient buildings now host modern shops and boutiques. Narrow alleyways link this main shopping street to the lakeside area and the medieval heart of the city. Here you can see buildings that are extremely significant in terms of history and culture, like the collegiate church dedicated to Mary’s Assumption, where you’ll find a polyptych by Gaudenzio Ferrari. Ferrari was the greatest proponent of the Piedmont Renaissance.
Just a stone’s throw from Mary’s Assumption is the Santi Martiri church. This church attests to the heartfelt devotion of the people, and every year in March the “Tredicino” – the feast of the patron saint – continues to be celebrated. This festival is well-known beyond the city limits, and always draws a big crowd.
Visitors to Arona shouldn’t miss a relaxing, lakeside stroll; this area has been cleverly renovated and offers an interesting mix of green areas, functionality, and lovely views.
Water features, arbors decorated with hundred year-old wisteria plants, special panoramic viewpoints looking towards Angera and its fortress, little kiosks and various venues, statues, and monuments: this and much more will guarantee visitors plenty of great memories.
On more than one occasion, the lake’s strategic position has been a crucial factor in making it the center of power, and its owners have always declared it as suchScopri