The imposing presence of Velate Tower overlooks the village of the same name just outside Varese, on high ground above the road that leads from the town to Lake Maggiore. Erected in the 11th century as a military outpost, the tower was part of a long chain of defensive garrisons posted to control the roads connecting the Po Valley to the rest of northern Italy. Specifically, the road between Milan and Switzerland, often used by merchants, passes through the valley nearby. In the 12th century, during the wars between Milan and Como, the tower was partially destroyed and lost its original function. The massive 33-metre-high quadrilateral witnessed the disappearance of two of its sides, with only one – made sturdier by the staircase embedded in it – now remaining in its entirety. A fixture of the hilly landscape around Varese for 1,000 years, the tower is deeply symbolic for the local residents. Donated to FAI in 1989, it can be visited from the outside only.
Velate Tower can be visited from the outside only.
Take the A8 Milan-Varese Motorway (“Autostrada dei Laghi A8 Milano-Varese”) until you reach central Varese, then follow the signs for the tower.
Guided tours are available. Prior booking required. For information, tel. (+39) 02 467615317.