Originally a Celtic settlement, then Etruscan and Roman, the name has evolved over millennium from Solomnum to Seronium then Saronno in the 18th century. From the Middle Ages to the 12th century, the village became an important agricultural and trade centre. During a period of war between the Visconti, Saronno was so militarily important that it had to be encircled with fortified walls. It was subsequently governed by the Visconti, the Sforza and the Biglia and alternated between miseries such as the plague and glories, too. Later it was dominated by the Austrians and Napoleon and slowly flourished during industrialisation in the 1870s. The biscuit maker Lazzaroni was established in Saronno as early as 1879. The connecting railway line transformed fortunes for the flourishing Saronno, notably when it became a city in 1960.
The friendly city of Saronno is a thriving commercial, industrial and residential area. It's most famous for the almond liqueur DiSaronno Originale, once known as Amaretto di Saronno. Saronno is also known for its Amaretti biscuits.
Don't miss the Del Biscotto museum in Via Novara. Saronno's weekly market, held each Wednesday, is famous throughout Lombardy. To see some fine architecture, make sure you see Madonna dei Miracoli, Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Palazzo Visconti and the Church of St. James.
At 212 m above sea level on a flat plain in the Lombardy region, Saronno is located 20km from Milan and 20km south of Varese and Como on the Italian lakes. The Alps are so close that they dominate the skyline to the north.
There are several fine architectural examples in Saronno. The pilgramage church of the Madonna dei Miracoli, begun in 1498 by Vincenzo Dell'Orto, features a dome with very fine architecture on the outside. Inside, it is adorned with frescoes by Gaudenzio Ferrari and Bernardino Luini. The Church of St. Francis of Assisi is the oldest church in Saronno with medieval origins, although it was radically rebuilt in the 15th century and embellished with the lavish decorations you can see today.
It's easy to reach Saronno from both Milan and Malpensa airport with express train shuttle; it stops only at Saronno on the short journey. There is an excellent local bus service throughout the city. Motorways lead to Milan, Varese and Switzerland, making Saronno an ideal base for Italian city breaks.
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