Ispra is a municipality in the province of Varese, located on the Eastern shore of Lake Maggiore, in a hilly area midway between Sesto Calende and Laveno, on the slopes of the Monti del Prete and Nassi. It is a climatic and popular seaside resort, thanks to the long stretch of coastline beaches and its well equipped marina.
There are numerous prehistoric finds unearthed in the area that evidence that the area was inhabited by human settlements since the ancient times. In the last century, under the hill of Barza, a prehistoric canoe was excavated, now preserved in the Museum of Isola Bella. Interesting are also the flint artefacts and tombs with funerary objects dating from the Iron Age. Of the Roman period there are urns and tombstones, engraved in Latin, now exhibited in the Park and in the Villa Sagramoso-Brivio, in the medieval tower of Barza and in the Park of Quassa.
The village is named for the first time in a parchment dell'826. Ispra in the XIII century became a center of major importance, relying on seven churches and a series of chapels. In 1276 it was the scene of the bloody clash between the Torriani and supporters of the Archbishop Ottone Visconti, for the domain on the State of Milan.
Not to miss:
- the remains of the ancient Castle St. Christopher, situated at the top the hill Monte del Prete, which fetaures a section of boundary wall, the tower entrance and the water reservoir tank;
- the remains of the Church of St. Crescenzo;
- the Parish of San Martino, with its beautiful XVII century frescoes, the union of two churches: the old one that faces the lake and new one that faces the main square;
- the small Church of St. Bernardino of Siena;
- the remains of the Oratory of Santa Maria, with its well preserved frescoes;
- the burial temple of the family Castelbarco, with its Classical forms;
- the Furnaces, built between the XIX and XX centuries, an example of industrial archeology and of mining that has characterized the local economy for nearly two centuries.