Rocca d’Angera

Angera, the stronghold across the Maggiore from Arona, has been effectively repurposed into a tourist destination. Any ruins have been repaired and the great hall is fit to house feasts—incidentally, our visit coincided with a wedding held there which meant that we had to move through the great hall pretty quickly. Some other areas were also cordoned off, so if the site does report when it’s booked out for events, it would be good to check this beforehand (I didn’t know that it was a possibility and, to be fair, this was the only time it fit into the schedule).

I should first say that we skipped the Museum of Dolls—which, for some, is probably the main reason for visiting this place—so I won’t mention this at all below.

The keep makes for a very good visit given the top floor is accessible. Its open plan means it can be used to get a very good understanding of the surroundings. At the same time, it’s covered area which means that even in inclement weather, a visitor could do relatively well up there, though I didn’t have to test this theory as our visit was during a nice spring day.

The gardens, containing herbs, vines, and more, surround the keep and extend towards the lake. Though not large, they are sufficient to keep a visitor busy, and for someone with more time it would be easily possible to spend a lot of time enjoying them.

The castle has been in development for the better part of two thousand years. The majority of the present structure dates to the 13th century when Angera’s “modern” history started. The Borromeo family, who still own Angera, established official control in 1459, and have been developing the castle for their own needs since then. While the Borromeo have left their mark on nearly every part of the castle, the keep predates them—however, the modern look of most structures relates to a Borromeo reconstruction (some as old as the 16th century).

Overall, this was a highly enjoyable place to visit!

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