The Rocca di Angera is one of the few fortified medieval buildings still preserved in its entirety.
Perched on a limestone outcrop high above Lake Maggiore, the Castle was from the Middle Ages an important strategic point both for military reasons and for trade.
Initially the property of the Archbishop’s Revenue, the Castle was purchased by the Visconti family in 1384. When the sovereignty (the “Signoria”) of the Viscontis came to an end in 1449, the Community of the Ambrosian Republic decided to sell the Rocca to the duke’s treasurer Vitaliano Borromeo. It belongs to the Borromeo family to this day.
The Castle has an architectural style dating from the 12th and 14th centuries, and includes 5 bodies built at different periods. The Main Tower or Castellana was built on a square plan at the end of the 12th and the beginning of the 13th centuries, and affords a sweeping view of the mountains and the shores of the lake. Adjacent to the Main Tower is the building known as the Ala Viscontea (Wing of the Viscontis), while the other wing is called the Ala dei Borromei after the Borromeo family, who were responsible for most of the alterations after the 15th century.
The small palazzo “alla scaligera”, dating from the 13th century, is located between the outer walls and the remains of an older tower. The last part of the castle is the Tower of Giovanni Visconti, built around 1350 when Giovanni Visconti was archbishop. This tower is in the area adjoining the southern end of the Ala Viscontea.
Outstanding among the rooms in the Rocca is the beautiful Hall of Justice with a cycle of frescoes painted in the 12th century by the anonymous “Master of Angera” and depicting events from the life of the archbishop Ottone Visconti.
The Rocca di Angera is also home to a stunning collection of period dolls, an exhibition including dolls, toys, books, dolls’ house furniture, and board games from the 18th century to today that will surprise and delight visitors.
Open from 20 March to 17 October from 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.