There are a number of museums in Lake Maggiore. In fact, with an extremely eclectic mix of Lake Maggiore museums, there should certainly be something to meet everyone’s tastes and interests whether it’s modern art, sport, history or even transport.
European Museum of Transport
The first of the Lake Maggiore museums, located in Ranco, guides you through the history of transport from the beginning of the XIX century to today in an open air park. There is a definite emphasis here on trains, perfect for the rail enthusiast! Admission is free although there is the opportunity to make a donation at the end of the your visit if you would like to. (Closed Mondays)
‘Gottard Park’ Museum, Castelletto Ticino
This is a definite case of a private collection getting out of hand! Gottardo was an extremely successful Milanese businessman who retired and started up the museum in 2003 to share his private transport collection with others. The musuem opens every day all year round but has reduced opening hours off season.
Ferrari Museum, Maranello
Another transport museum, but this time aimed at those with a passion for fast cars. The Ferrarri Museum is a definite day trip from Lake Maggiore but it’s great for car lovers. You can totally immerse yourself in the various Ferrari exhibits which include a constantly changing display of forty Ferrari models, trophies, engines, photographs and production models . You can also trace the evolution of Ferrari by observing recreated models of Enzo Ferrari’s shop and residence in Modena which preceded the creation of the Maranello factory. There is a small projection room that continuously shows racing footage as well as a life size race pit and two simulators (a GT and an F1) on which you can try out your driving skills by paying an additional 5 Euros. A gift shop is also located within the Galleria Ferrari where you can shop for official Ferrari merchandise. Outside the museum, various companies offer visitors the chance to drive the Ferrarri of their choice.
San Siro Museum, Milan
Perfect for fans of football, the museum is dedicated to both Inter Milan and AC Milan and tells the story of the two clubs through various memorabilia from football strips to the cups and trophies and footballs. The entrance to the museum is from gate 14 of the San Siro stadium and it’s possible to visit the museum as well as enjoy a tour of the stadium itself. It’s open every day from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. with possible variations on match days and days of events.
Museum of Modern Art, Maccagno
This museum holds a small collection of modern art.
Villa Menafoglio Litta Panza, Varese
This Museum of Contemporary Art offers vistors room after room of art collected by Giuseppe Panza in the second half of the twentieth century, including some of the world’s most important pieces of American Environmental Art. (Open Tuesday – Sunday)
Chocolate Factory and Museum, Caslano
This has got to be the most mouth watering of the museums in Lake Maggiore! The museum presents the world of chocolate from its origins to this day. Following a catwalk, visitors are introduced to the various steps of chocolate making and at the end of the tour a visit to the shop will give you the chance to try some of the Alprose products. The factory is usually open for production on weekdays so it’s best to visit then. The museum is open from 9.00 – 17.30 on weekdays and from 9.00 – 16.30 on weekends.
Rocco di Angera housing the Museo della Bambola (Doll Museum)
This is definitely one of the museums in Lake Maggiore that will be popular with girls! Over 1000 dolls, toys, books, dolls’ furniture and table and board games are on display at this museum.
Angera Museum of Archeology
The Museum of Archeology is houses in a late 15th century building in Angera.
The Cantonal Museum of Natural History, Lugano
This is open Tuesday – Saturday and admission is free.
Museo Comici, Verscio
This museum contains exhibits of posters, photographs, musical instruments, objects, masks, sculptures, toys, clowns, and elephants of every type. All the articles on exhibit are directly connected with comic theatre, the circus, and the figure of the clown. There is also a projection of films by the greatest comedians, in particular “Grock”, the king of clowns.
Castello Viscontio, Locarno
This castle of the Visconti family of Milan dates back to 998 and is a central monument of Locarno. The 15th-century inner courtyard and richly inlaid ceilings can be seen when you visit the archeological museum now housed in the castle. The museum displays valuable vases and hand-blown glass goblets, as well as artifacts from Roman times. One room also commemorates the Peace Conference held in Locarno which attempted to end World War I. Open April to October 10-12 and 2-5.
Chimney Sweep Museum, Villa Antonia, Malesco
This is one of the more unusual Lake Maggiore museums and records the life of the many local chimney sweeps whose hard trade led them to emigrate from the valley throughout Europe, often at the cost of personal sacrifice. Every September, sweeps from all over the world come to the singular International Chimney Sweeps Gathering in Santa Maria. Italians have countless number of cultural traditions such as this one which ensures that they retain their ties to past generations.
Museums on Lake Orta
There are a number of additional museums on neighbouring Lake Orta which might also be of interest to visitors. These include the Royal Italian Army Museum on the island of San Guilio, the Museum of Musical Instruments at Quarna Sotto, and the Museum of Wood Carving at Pettenasco.