Palazzo Estense is one of the most visited and appreciated historical places in Varese and is now the seat of the City Hall and the Civic Library. It dates back to the second half of the eighteenth century and was originally the residence of Francesco III d'Este, Duke of Modena and Governor of Lombardy. It was created by restoring the Villa of Tommaso Orrigoni, based on the project of the architect Giuseppe Antonio Bianchi who also took care of the beautiful eighteenth-century garden. The project was inspired by the main Italian and European mansions and involved the partial demolition of existing houses in the area. The architecture can be traced back to the "Lombard barocchetto" where white string-course cornices stand out against the pink plaster that fills the entire palace.The imposing fountain located in the square of the palace, the "Grottesco", a nymphaeum with three niches covered with tufa that contained statues of satyrs and, centrally, a stone dolphin that threw water, is the ideal culmination of the park that can rightly be considered one of the most beautiful public gardens in the Italian style, so that Stendhal nicknamed it "Versailles of Milan".
Estensi Gardens Varese
Since 1949, the Estensi Gardens are a single entity with the Park of Villa Mirabello, now home to the Civic Museums of Varese, from which you can enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding area and Monte Rosa. Inside the palace, of great value is the Hall of Honor on the first floor, with the illusionistic architecture painted by Bosellini and the large central medallion frescoed by Giovan Battista Ronchelli. The polychrome marble fireplace and the elegant crystal chandeliers are remarkable. On the upper floor is the Ballroom, decorated with 16th-17th century paintings. Valuable is the Virgin with Child of the school of Morazzone. The wrought iron and partly gilded balcony, which runs along the upper perimeter of the room, was originally intended for the musicians who performed during the palace festivities.