An important industrial city in the province of Varese, bordering with the province of Milan, Busto Arsizio is among the most populous cities of Lombardy. Situated in plain in the Varesotto, it features a modern look, but its origins are very old evidenced by finds of the late Roman period which allow to the historians to date the foundation between the II and IV centuries A.D. In medieval times the village was part of the large Parish of the Bishop of the City of Milan, later fief under the rule of the Visconti until 1573 before being ceded to the Marliani, to the Gambarana and to the Cicogna. In the Renaissance the trade activities flourished and the industry of iron wire. Finally, in the XIX century the local craftsmen implemented an important textile industry in the area.
Among the historical sites of interest, worth a visit:
- the Sanctuary of Santa Maria in Piazza (or the Blessed Virgin Hague), a beautiful Renaissance building erected between 1517 and 1527. The portal with its two statues of the Annunciation are masterpieces of the artist Rodari, today displayed inside, along with paintings of Gaudenzio Ferrari, Gian Paolo Lomazzo and Bernardino Luini;
- the Basilica of St. John the Baptist, one of the most remarkable monuments of the XVII century of the whole area of Milan. The original structure dates back to the Lombards, when a small chapel was built dedicated to the saint. The current project is the work of Francesco Maria Ricchini. The Bell tower, instead, is of the XV century in Romanesque-Lombard style;.
- the Church of San Michele Arcangelo, erected by architect Ricchini, with a Bell tower that once served as a castle tower;
- the Church of San Rocco, built in the XVIII century, on the ruins of an existing chapel of the XV century, entitled to the same Saint;
- the monumental cemetery, designed by Ercole Seves;
- Villa Ottolini-Tosi, designed by Camillo Crespi Balbi;
- Villa Ottolini-Tovaglieri, designed by the same architect, Balbi;
- Villa Leone, in Art Nouveau, designed by Silvio Gambini;
- Palazzo Marliani-Stork, today seat of the City Museum;
- the Textile Museum of the industrial tradition of Busto Arsizio, which preserves technical machinery and finished products from the XIX century to today, retracing the steps of the industrial development that has contributed to the growth of the city.