When you visit a city, you cannot miss seeing the main museums of the place. In the city and province of Varese, five of them, very different one from another for exhibited works, location and history, deserve a visit.
While strolling in the town centre, we will encounter in the Marcello Morandini Foundation (via Francesco del Cairo 41), which was founded in 2016 by wish of the artist himself. Marcello Morandini’s art works, designs and architectural projects are altogether kept and enhanced in the large rooms of the nineteenth century villa. The Foundation is a truly appropriate cultural pole, having a permanent collection dating back to 1964 with the initial tridimensionality works and the first personal exhibition curated by Germano Celant, plus a few temporary exhibitions. The Foundation is open to the public on Fridays to Sundays in the morning from 10:00h to 12:30h and in the afternoon from 15:00h to 18:00h.
A few steps up on Biumo hill we can visit Villa Panza, an eighteen century villa which hosts one of the most renowned American contemporary art exhibitions plus international temporary exhibitions; the rustic wing, in particular, houses a collection of artworks specifically dedicated to Light , with pieces by Dan Flavin, James Turrell and Robert Irwin. A must-see is the 33,000sqmt Italian-style stately garden surrounding the villa. Since 1996 the Villa is owned by FAI, Fondo Ambiente Italiano (an Italian association protecting historical sites and buildings). The Villa is open to visitors Tuesdays to Sundays, from 1:00h0 to 18:00h.
Let us further climb to the Sacro Monte, where we can visit the Museo Baroffio and of the Sanctuary, a little gem reopened in December 2001 after almost ten years being closed, thanks to the Foundation Paolo VI for the Sacro Monte. Along the three floors of the building, we can admire drawings, paintings, ancient books and modern sculptures, China works and artworks of many kinds. All this means a path embracing arts at 360’, up to the balcony from which we can admire one of the most charming views of Lombardy. The iconic image of the museum is the medieval sculpture “Madonna con il Bambino” (Madonna with Child) made by Domenico and Lanfranco da Ligurno. This Museum is open Wednesdays to Fridays from 14:00h to 18:00h; Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10:00h to 18:00h.
At approximately 16 km from the city centre, in the small town of Tradate, we can visit the Museo Fisogni, a museum which hosts the world most complete collection of vintage petrol pumps (acknowledged by Guinness World Record). Founded by Guido Fisogni in 1966 it collects more than 5000 pieces of industrial archaeology, plus several objects related to petrol stations: globes, tins, advertising signs, compressors, fire extinguishers, tools, gadgets, toys and pictures. There is also a full collection of technical drawings. It is only open by reservation.
A truly special museum, Volandia, is located at Somma Lombardo. The Park and Museum of Flight is the biggest aeronautic museum in Italy and one of the largest in Europe, having more than 100 aircrafts on a total surface of more than 250,000sqm. The museum is divided into seven areas: the forms of flight, the fixed wing, the helicopter, the pavilion of space, the drones, the airplane models and a kids’ area; it is dedicated to the story and the epic of aviation in all of its aspects. It opens Tuesdays to Fridays from 10:00h to 18:00h and on Saturdays/Sundays from 10:00h to 18:30h.