Located in a marvellous gulf, Angera was appreciated and disputed over for its enviable position controlling the trade traffic in the southern part of Lake Maggiore. For centuries, the Borromeo family spread their sophisticated culture here. The family still owns the famous rocca (fort) - Angera's most important monument.
Rocca Borromeo (Borromeo fort) and its magnificent medieval aspect dominate the town and lake from high atop a hill, despite the many renovations and additions made over the centuries. The ancient castle tower dates back to the 13th century; the view of the lake and the hinterland from here is absolutely charming. The fort - transformed by the Borromeo family from a war edifice into a wonderful residence - is home to frescoes worth seeing in the Sala di Giustizia (Hall of Justice), which were created by Lombard maestros transitioning between Romanesque and Gothic, and the first Italian Museum of Dolls, inaugurated in 1988, which also includes a section dedicated to toys and automata. Over 1,000 dolls, toys and objects related to infancy are on display.
Pedestrian precinct Via Mario Greppi crosses the old town centre parallel to the lakeside promenade, and has a series of roads towards the lakeside thus separating the centre into rectangular districts. This is a clear sign of a Roman urban layout when Stazzona (the town's old name, perhaps originating from Latin statio) was the arrival/departure point for the materials trade (wood and stone) via the lake and the Ticino River, used in the monumental buildings in the big cities in northern Italy. Pietra d'Angera (Angera stone) can still be found today in Milan (duomo and Ca' Granda) and Pavia (Certosa).
The Civic Museum has many works from the Roman period, including grave goods dating back to the 1st century AD, which were discovered in the necropolis to the south-east of the settlement.
Angera's treed lakeside promenade is also beautiful; this worldly place (also the location of Town Hall) offers a view of peculiar, uninhabited Isolino Partegora (Partegora Island), which charmingly surfaces from the lake covered with vegetation. The Madonna della Riva Sanctuary is also located on the lakeside promenade. Construction began in 167, but was never completed. Just a short distance north along the scenic road is the town of Ranco. Arona can also be reached on public transportation in just 5 minutes from the lakeside promenade.
Allea lakeside promenade is the main meeting place for locals and for leading events associated with life in the town, such as the street market held Thursday mornings or occasions connected with the Festa del Santuario (Festival of the Sanctuary) at the end of June.