The castle

The origins of the ancient castle are unknown. Today, only the central part and the ruins remain, but what we do know is that it was a glorious military and civil feat of engineering.

Built on the promontory of the Arbostora, it dominated a large part of Varesotto. From 1400 onwards, the fortress underwent many changes. The turning point came on February 18 1517, when the castle was donated by the confederate states to Francesco Paleari di Morcote, known as Fratino, with the proviso to demolish the military construction. And so the fort became an actual mine between the 16th and 19th century, as the municipality and noble families pilfered its materials to build the bell tower and expand the Church of Saint Maria del Sasso. The ancient fortress featured two underground tunnels for the fortress’ defenders to communicate with allies outside, beyond the boundary walls: the first connected the fortress with the village tower, the second came out near Figino. The fortress, built using massive stones, boasted two main parts: the central one was the ‘castle’, i.e. where the noble occupants resided; the two wings, with a tower at the sides, was the fortress proper. The walls of the whole area were extremely wide, had battlements built in the Ghibellini style with dovetail joints, defensive towers and extended east and west to reach the shore of the lake enclosing the village. If you wish to visit the castle, go to to request a tour to the establishment’s owner.