Situated on the plain of the lower Varese area, bordering the moraine hills of Crenna and Cajelli, Gallarate is an important industrial and commercial center of the province of Varese, close to the international airport Milan-Malpensa. It probably is of Gallic origins, evidenced by the discovery of a tomb of the I century B.C. found in Piazza Ponti. The Romans rebuilt the urban area, of which there are numerous historical relics dating from that period and now exhibited at the Civic Museum of Patri Studies (a former St. Francis convent). Already documented as "fundus Galeratis" in a parchment of 974, in the Middle Ages, the town belonged to the Contado del Seprio, of which it followed the historical events. Gallarate submitted between the XVI and the XVIII centuries the domination of the French and the Spanish, passing under the control of different families. In 1786 the Austrian Emperor Joseph II proclaimed Gallarate, the capital of a new province of Austria.
Among the historic monuments worth of mention:
- the Church of St. Peter, dating from the XII century in Romanesque style with Gothic elements. It features a single nave with an apse and arched ceilings.
- the Basilica of Santa Maria, built between 1856 and 1861, where formerly stood two ancient churches, both entitled to Santa Maria. The building is flanked by a Bell tower of the XV century.
- the small Church of Saint Anthony Abbot, in the historic center of town, built in the XVIII century on the ruins of an existing chapel dedicated to the same saint;
- the Sanctuary of the Madonna in Campagna;
- the Church of San Zeno, built in the XIV century and completely remodeled in the XVIII century;
- the Church of San Rocco, originally built in the XV century, it was seat of memorable visits by St. Charles Borromeo in 1570 and Cardinal Federigo Borromeo in 1622;
- the Church of St. Francis, built between 1906 and 1910.