Painted villages: an extraordinary characteristic of Varese’s lands. Arts and colors enchant the visitor in a kaleidoscope of emotions.
The Varese province is also home of the painted villages: little towns and municipalities hidden in the beautiful green surroundings of Varese, villages known for frescos, paintings and drawings on the walls of their houses. These open-air pieces of art are connected to the origins and the history of the villages and fit in harmoniously with the surrounding environment.
Many lands of the Province, enchanting from a landscape and naturalistic point of view, were enriched during the last 50 years with an architectural-artistic heritage reaching the peak in the so-said “painted villages”. Towns like Marchirolo and hamlets like Arcumeggia, Boarezzo, Olona, Peveranza, Runo and San Fermo are today known for their harmonious integration of surrounding natural environment and mural paintings, as well as for frescoes. The figurative subjects are connected with the theme of the place’s origins, with its uses, its traditions, working activities of locals and popular beliefs. A single palette unifying shining colors, worthy a visit in any season.
Arcumeggia - Arcumeggia is a small hamlet near Casalzuigno that lies in the green of Valcuvia and Valtravaglia. It is also known as the village of painters: there are many frescoes on the walls of the houses. You will walk in an open-air museum, surrounded by images of emigration, allegoric and symbolic figures, portraits of inhabitants and ancient crafts, as well as saints and religious scenes.
Boarezzo - The hamlet of Boarezzo, situated in Valganna, on one side of Mount Piambello, consists of a few stone houses, narrow streets and cobblestone paths. Sixteen artists worked to transform Boarezzo in a painted village, a sort of story that tells local traditions and ancient crafts. Today it is a place out of time, full of memories, perfect for a Sunday stroll.
Marchirolo - Marchirolo is a small town situated in the mountains south-west of Lake Ceresio. The frescos are about the theme of emigration through the centuries and are situated on a long path framed by old farmhouses and vllas. A must-see of the village is the church of San Martino, situated on a scenographic staircase.
Peveranza - In Peveranza, part of Municipality Cairate, a group of local artists decided to create an open air art gallery made of painted panels to represent the history and the old working activities of the village. These pieces of art are situated right on the wall of the buildings in which the single working activity was actually done.
Cadero - In the streets of village Cadero in Val Veddasca, walls are decorated with mosaics made in 2015 by students from the Santa Giulia Fine Arts Academy in Brescia.
Brunello - Brunello is a tiny hamlet hidden in the green hills between Castronno and Azzate. The church of S. Maria Annunciata, built in 1300 hosts frescoes from 1400. In 1989 some of the inhabitants of Brunello decided to make Brunello a painted village, involving artists to paint big panels.
San Fermo - a neighbourhood of the city of Varese, and Olona, a hamlet near the town of Induno Olona, in San Fermo you can admire a gallery of frescoes and poems on the walls of the houses.
Runo - In 1978, some inhabitants of Runo decided to create a cultural-tourist association called "Runo per l'affresco" (Runo for frescoes), with the aim to create a "mural book" to "leaf through" along the streets of the village. Runo is also a great place if you want to trek on the surrounding mountains.
Olona – the project "Olona borgo d'arte" involved 12 contemporary artists linked to the land of Varese. The theme is related to the Re Magi story, to whom the local church is dedicated.