Arona, Italy is a town of about 14,500 inhabitants and can be reached by the A8 Milano-Laghi autostrada or by Milano - Domodossola railway. Arona is conveiently near a confluence of motorways, and from there one can head for Milan, Genoa, and Gravellona Toce (where the motorway becomes a simple highway to Domodossola and continues into Switzerland). Whereas there is a motorway exit named after Arona, the exit at Castelletto Ticino is usually more convenient for the traveller coming from the direction of Milan.
As a former Roman resort, during the Middle Ages it was the demain of the Visconti and later, from 1439 to 1797 of the Borromeo family. A historically significant castle was built in the 13th century, the remains of which can still be seen on the Rocca, which drops sheer to the lake.This castle was the home of St. Carlo Borromeo (1538-84) whose huge brass and bronze statue rises behind the town to a height of over 20m.
In the centre of the town are a number of well known churches with great historic value: SS. Martiri, the Collegiate church of S. Maria and the Manneristic church of Madonna di Piazza.
Sancarlone.This giant statue of Saint Charles Borromeo was commissioned by Cardinal Federico Borromeo, and construction began in 1614, completed in 1698. At 35.10 m it was the largest bronze standing statue in the world, second only to the Statue of Liberty. It is said that the architects behind the Statue of Liberty consulted the blueprints of the Sancarlone when laying out their own. It was intended as part of a complex of buildings and chapels celebrating the life of St. Charles, of which only three chapels were completed. Next to the statue are the 17th basilica and the former Archbishop's Palace. A smaller version of the statue, the Sancarlino, can be seen in Corso Cavour in the town.
The Lungolago ("Lakeside") offers a fine view of the castle of Angera and the Alps. Swimming in Lake Maggiore is now possible, after years of pollution. A beach has been refurbished by this group close to Piazza del Popolo in the town center, called Le rocchette ("The little rocks").
The 'frazione' of Mercurago is home to Lagoni Park, a protected area including a peat-bog, pastures dedicated to the breeding of thoroughbred horses and a woodland area. There are also some archeological findings from the Bronze Age, including ancient wheels.
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