What it is and where it is
A beautiful building enjoys the view from the top of Mount Mirabello in Varese: it is Villa Mirabello, a rare example of 17th-century architecture and mansion surrounded by the verdant Estensi Gardens. Many tourists and visitors come to it, eager to be able to visit its grand halls and elegant spaces that have housed the Civic Archaeological Museum since 1949 and also the Varese Center for Prehistoric and Archaeological Studies. All this makes Villa Mirabello a nationally and internationally important cultural reality and a source of pride for the city.
Why it is special
The building is located on Mirabello Hill, named for the striking view it offers of Lake Varese and the Alpine range. But it is not only the exterior of the villa that deserves attention: The beauty and preciousness of the rooms, built in the English style, is unique, further enriched by the collections of the Archaeological Museum of the City of Varese; in the three sections located inside, one prehistoric, one Roman and one Risorgimento, are exhibited artifacts found in the Varese and neighboring areas. Noteworthy is the Risorgimento area where the famous painting of the Garibaldini landing at Sesto Calende reigns supreme.
Not to be missed
The artifacts preserved in the museum date from historical periods ranging from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age, plus exhibitions of national and international significance are hosted in the halls of the villa. In particular, in the archaeological section of the museum it is possible to admire artifacts from local excavations, dating back to historical periods ranging from prehistoric to Roman times. The park, however, also holds many treasures: 14 beautiful monumental trees including the Cedar of Lebanon, a giant of 10 meters and more in circumference and more than 28 meters in height.
A bit of history
The building was built by the Durini family in the late 17th century and later rebuilt in the 18th and 19th centuries, becoming the property of Luigi Taccioli. All that remains of the old building is the Oratory of the Blessed Virgin of Sorrows, designed in 1767. In 1839 the villa was further modified with the construction of a stable, which later passed to the marquises Litta Modignani. In 1843 the villa wasrenovated in the English Tudor style and provided with a large park that was enriched over time with exotic plants such as Lebanon cedar, Himalayan cedar, magnolias and ginkgo biloba.
Among the rare and diverse artifacts, there are some that come from the pile-dwelling sites of Lake Varese, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, such as the Lake Monate dugout found in 1971 and dated between 60 and 600 A.D. But perhaps the most striking "piece" in the collection is the "child of Varese," one of the best-preserved Italian mummies of an 11/12-year-old boy who lived between 1594 and 1646. Also in the villa is the 4-meter-high model of the Bernascone Bell Tower.
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