Castle of Masnago

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How to get

A8 Milan - "Laghi" toll motorway, Varese exit


The Castle of Masnago, the result of a series of modifications and extensions from the Middle Ages (11th – 13th centuries) to the 18th century, is one of the most important historical buildings in Varese.

The original nucleus of the castle is the medieval tower, which was linked to other towers in the Varese area and was used as a sighting and signal tower. The main body of the castle dates from the 15th century and gave the castle the appearance of a mansion house, as may be seen from the façade overlooking the Mantegazza Park. Finally, the wing that was built into the pre-existing medieval fortress in the late 17th – early 18th centuries resulted in its present appearance as a country residence.

The Castiglioni family, who owned the Castle from the 15th to the beginning of the 20th century, were responsible for the exquisite frescoes. On the death of Marquis Paolo Castiglioni Stampa the castle was inherited by a female branch of the family, and was later sold to Angelo Mantegazza of Varese.

The frescoes, painted in the style known as International Gothic, date to around the mid-15th century, but were discovered only in 1938. Two of the interior rooms are frescoed: the “Sala degli Svaghi” (the “Pastime Room”) where the pastimes of the court are depicted, and the “Sala dei Vizi e Virtù” (“Room of Vices and Virtues”) illustrating the morals of the time.

The Castle’s magnificent rooms also host the Museum of modern and contemporary art.

More details

Open hours: Tuesday-Sunday 9.30 – 12.30 / 14.00 – 18.00
Closed on: Monday (but Monday Easter), 1st of January, Easter, 1st May, 1st November, Christmas, 24 and 31 December afternoon.

entrance: € 4,00
reduced: € 3,00
School groups: € 1,00
Free: children until 6 and disabled