Gardens of the Palazzo Estense in Varese, Italy’s Surprise Package

Located in north-western Lombardy, in the foothills of the Alps about an hour’s drive north of Milan, Varese is style central, a wealthy city where most of the population looks like they’ve just come from a fashion shoot. There’s a gorgeous pedestrian precinct in Corso Matteotti, a lovely walk past the shrines that line the pilgrimage path up Sacro Monte and a glorious country estate in Casalzuigno, just outside. The dining and bar scene is super friendly. When you sit down in a restaurant the waiter will usually bring you a plate of bread and the best parmesan you’ll ever taste. Varese works as a base for exploring the Italian Lakes and the Ticino region of Switzerland as well, all within easy reach. Every visitor in Italy goes to the same places but Varese is something completely different. Put it on your wish list, you won’t be disappointed.

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