Borgomanero rises not too far from the lake of Orta and from the Lake Maggiore. According to the legend, in the XII century, a group of rude men, called the thirteen Ogres, founded the first nucleus of the city on the banks of the Agogna river, returning from a pilgrimage to the island of San Giulio, on the lake of Orta. The place name derives from Giacomo Mainerio, mayor of Novara between 1193 and 1194, who chose this place to built a fortress between the Sesia and the Ticino rivers. In 1449 Borgomanero was involved in the battles between the Duke Ludovico of Savoia and Francesco Sforza. Subsequently, for over two hundred years, it was a feud of the Estensi family. The statue of Our Lady, that Gabriele I of Este made put in Piazza dei Martiri in the XVIII century, is the symbol of the town.
The Collegiate church of San Bartolomeo, with its imposing façade, the Romanesque-Gothic style bell tower, the main altar and the paintings attributed to Pier Francesco Mazzucchelli, called Morazzone and representing San Carlo and San Rocco, overlooks the same square.
The oratory is the most important monument of the town. Built by the marquises of Pombia, inside it is possible to admire masterpieces by the "Maestro di Borgomanero", representing the Christ Pantocrator with the Evangelists' symbols, the Apostles and a very beautiful Last Supper.
Other valuable monuments of Borgomanero are the Romanesque small church of San Leonardo (XII sec.), the Este Palace, the medieval bridge of the Tower and the Vergano castle.