The most accepted theory on the town's name is that it derives from the word of Celt origins "Arton" (mountain between water). A tourist resort in the province of Novara and a major trading center on Lake Maggiore. The municipal territory is formed by a complex of several districts and villages, some of which area washed by the stream Vevera.
There is no certain details on its origins: the area was inhabited since Prehistoric times as evidenced by the discovery of several important findings. The presence of a Celt population is evidenced since the III-II century B.C. It definitely became a Roman settlement, as revealed by several gravestones and other artefacts found during excavations made here. The first town centre, built around the Abbey of San Salvatore, is attested in the year 979, but for some historians there is divergence of views on this date. Surely the Abbey ceded its domain in favor of the Della Torre Family, who ceded the town to the Visconti. The center was linked to Milan during the medieval period and submitted the rule of the Borromeo, who gave importance to Arona and controlled the territory between the XV and XVII centuries. Under the domain of the Sforza, the town was fortified and became the first military port on Lake Maggiore. It then was ceded to the Savoy in 1745 and, after a short period of French domination, with the Congress of Vienna, Arona returned to the Savoy.
Not to miss:
- the Church of Santa Maria Nascente, started in the XV century and finally completed by the Borromeo in the XVII century. Within it features a single nave and two aisles and preserves precious paintings of the XVII century of the artist Morazzone depicting the Annunciation, the Marriage of the Virgin, the Visitation and a XVI century altarpiece of the artist Ferrari which represents the Adoration of the Child. The Bell tower was originally built in Romanesque style, but the higher levels added have been completed, however, in Baroque style;
- the Romanesque Church of SS. Martyrs, entitled to Saints Graziano and Felino. Refurbished several times over the years, it features a Baroque façade and the interior, which was built in more recent times, is in Gothic style. It houses a valuable altar, an altar piece of the artist Bergognone dating from the late XV century, depicting the Virgin and Child with Saints and a XVI century painting of St. Charles of Palma;
- the Church of the Madonna di Piazza, built in 1592 on designs of the architect Pellegrini;
- the statue of St. Charles Borromeo, who was born in the area. It is in copper and dates from the XVII century;
- the Mayor's House in Piazza del Popolo, the town's main square, whose construction dates back to the XV century.