Located at the southern end of Lake Maggiore, Arona is a historic town that has been settled since at least the 13th century BC. Following the siege of Milan in 1162, many of its residents fled to Arona and the town was later acquired by the House of Borromeo, whose mark can still be seen today.
Things to do in Arona
Stretch your legs along the Lungolago Di Arona, which extends along the town’s lakefront. Near Piazza del Popolo is the small beach of “Le Rocchette", where you can take a dip in Lake Maggiore. Elevated views are on offer from the grassy lawns of Parco della Rocca Borromea, which encompasses the ruins of a medieval castle.
Watching over Arona is the Colossus of San Carlo Borromeo, an immense copper statue that rises to 23 metres in height. It was constructed in the 17th century in honour of the former archbishop of Milan and designed by Giovan Battista Crespi. Climb the narrow staircase that leads through the statue’s interior to peer out through its eyes and ears.
On the other side of Lake Maggiore is the Rocca Borromeo di Angera, a centuries-old castle that rises atop a rocky spur. It’s renowned for its fresco-adorned Hall of Justice and is home to a Doll Museum where exhibits date back to the 18th century. Climb the castle tower for 360-degree views across Lake Maggiore and learn about the aromatic plants in its medieval garden.
Getting around Arona
Arona is a 25-minute drive from Gallarate and an hour from Milan while Malpensa Airport is 35 minutes away. Regular trains connect to the Arona railway station and the town is compact enough to explore on foot. Ferries travel to towns and villages around Lake Maggiore from the Citta di Arona wharf.