The Village of Castiglione Olona

Castiglione Olona
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How to get

A8 Milan - "Laghi" toll motorway, Varese exit, continue in the direction of Castiglione Olona - Venegono


The village of Castiglione Olona, named “Isola di Toscana in Lombardia” (a Tuscan Island in Lombardy), was a Roman castrum, and was therefore a village contested at great length by the Visconti and the Torriani.

The Renaissance era was the period during which the village enjoyed its maximum splendour, owing to the presence and the particularly enlightened initiatives of Cardinal Branda Castiglioni. Then, after a lengthy decline in the middle of the 1800s, Castiglione Olona became the first industrial centre of the Varese province, thanks much to the hard work and ingenuity of the Mazzucchelli family. In June 2004, the Museum of Plastic Art was opened at the Palazzo Castiglioni di Monteruzzo (Corte del Doro) which collects the works of internationally renowned artists.

A visit to the village may begin in the central Chiesa di Villa or the SS. Corpo di Cristo, a unique example of a humanistically-inspired building. The Palazzo Branda Castiglioni is situated opposite. The structure, made up of two buildings, one from the 14th century and the other from the 15th century with subsequent extensions, possesses rooms with valuable frescoes of the Lombard and Tuscan schools from the 1400s. Its principal rooms are the Cappella Cardinalizia of “S. Martino” and the Quadreria, the bedroom and study of the Cardinal. At the summit of the short climb of the Via Cardinale Branda are the ruins of the door which led into the ancient castle: the Collegiate complex is located here and is made up of the church (in Gothic-Lombard style with a Latin vault where frescoes of the Tuscan school, two fifteenth-century altar pieces in polychrome stone, a chandelier of the Flemish school and the sarcophagus of Cardinal Branda can be admired), the baptistery with a square plan and polygonal apse frescoed by Masolino da Panicale (1435), and a Gothic bell tower.

The adjacent small Collegiate Museum houses precious sacred objects and some interesting works of art. Also of note is the summer show of the Palio dei Castelli with costumed historical re-enactments and an exciting barrel run.

More details

Collegiate Museum, Palazzo Branda Castiglioni, MuseoCivico and MAP: closed on Monday
9 am - 12 am / 2 pm - 5 pm
10 am - 1 pm / 3 pm - 6 pm

Booking: for guided tours

Price: € 5,00 Collegiate Museum, € 3,00 Palazzo Branda Castiglioni, Museo Civico and MAP