Virginia Islet, Lake of Varese

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

On the western shore of the Lake of Varese, next to the municipality of Biandronno, there is this tiny island. It stretches on 11.000 square yards with a triangular shape.

Virgina Islet has been a property of the municipality of Varese since 1962.
Thanks to the donation of Marquis Gianfelice Ponti, the island is one of the most important archaeological and environmental sites in Europe.

Over the years, it has changed names several times: in the XVI century it was known as the Island of Saint Biagio – because of the church dedicated to him, later it took the name of Camilla – the wife of Duke Antonio Lotta Visconti Arese, and in 1878 it was given its current after the wife of Marquis Andrea Ponti.

On the island, there are some of the most important prehistoric settlements whose wooden structures have been preserved over time as they are underwater and protected by the vegetation. The island has been part of the “Prehistoric dwelling sites of the Alps” since 2011, and the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

After the 2006 promotional exhibition, those prehistoric ruins were put back in their places of origin, while a cast was created, reproducing the collapse of a part of the elevation of a Neolithic structure, and some other sections of it. Visitors can thus have a better idea about those precious remains.

The tour of the island, which takes about two hours, includes an outdoor itinerary and a visit to the prehistoric museum, managed by the archaeological one of Villa Mirabello.

The Municipality of Varese has entrusted the management of this site to the Gulliver Social Cooperative, in collaboration with the Prehistoric and Archaeological Studies Center (CSPA) and “Internal Navigation srl”.


On the island, visitors can admire several species, such as bald cypresses (Taxodium Distichum) and black alders (Alnus glutinosa). When walking through the woods, the meadows and the reeds, ducks, mallards, chickens and other animals are a very common sight.


The island can be reached by boat, from Biandronno.
There are bars and restaurants, like “Tana dell’Isolino”.

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)


Piazza della Motta 4 - Varese(VA)

0332 255485

Altre info

gratuito, con possibilità di visite guidate, laboratori ed eventi

da marzo al 2 novembre 2016, tutti i sabati e le domencia, oltre al 25 aprile, 15 agosto e 1 novembre. Aperture strarodianrie, a richeista, per gruppi.

sabato 14-18 ; domenica 11-13 e 14-18

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