The town's name origins are uncertain: for some historians it is linked to the root "var" (fortified place), others from "variarsi" (uncultivated area), and finally for some others the name derives from Veratri, a tribe of Celtic origins. It is located in the province of Vercelli, situated along the Sesia River, at the mouth of the Valsesia. The old town, called Old Varallo, suggestive and fascinating with its ancient buildings with inner courtyards, arches and decorated with stucco decorations, is separated from the more modern district by the stream Mastallone. The town is dominated by the Parish Church of Sacro Monte of Varallo.
Of ancient origins, probably pre-Roman, the center was documented for the first time in 1025, when Conrad II, King of Germany granted certain properties to the bishop of Novara. During the XIV century Varallo became part of the Duchy of Milan. During the Second World War, together with the entire Valsesia, the local inhabitants participated actively in the partisan struggle and were honored with the gold medal for military valor.
Not to miss:
- the Sacro Monte of Varallo built from 1491, by a Bernardino friar Caimi at 608 meters above sea level. It features 44 chapels which feature scenes of the life of Jesus in Palestine, with statues and paintings by famous artists such as Morazzone and Tanzio da Varallo. It has been included in UNESCO World Heritage site;
- the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, built in the XV century, features a series of frescoes including those of Ferrari in the chapel of Santa Margherita and others, down the aisle, that represent scenes from the life of Jesus;
- the Collegiate Church of San Gaudenzio, located in the main square of the town, which was remodeled in 1710;
- the Church of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart built in 1737 near the Sacro Monte;
- the Chapel of Our Lady of Loreto;
- the Church of St. Anthony;
- the Church of St. James;
- the Church of St. John the Baptist;
- the Church of San Marco;
- the Church of St. Peter Martyr;
- Palazzo Pitti-Baldissarri;
- Palazzo Centa-Testa;
- the Civic Art Gallery which preserves paintings and sculptures of famous artist such as: Tanzio da Varallo, Gianoli, Ferrari, Lanino.
- the Comola Museum in Camasco.