Gallarate [ɡallaˈraːte] (Lombard: Galaraa) is a city and comune of Alto Milanese of Lombardy and of Milan metropolitan area, northern Italy, in the Province of Varese. It has a population of some 54 thousand people. Its name comes from Latin, in fact a lot of cities around it have the same root "rate", such as Casorate Sempione, Samarate, etc.

City of Gallarate
Church of Santa Maria Assunta.

Coat of arms
Location of Gallarate
Location of Gallarate in Italy
Gallarate (Lombardy)
Coordinates: 45°40′N 8°48′E
ProvinceVarese (VA)
  MayorAndrea Cassani (Northern League)
  Total20 km2 (8 sq mi)
238 m (781 ft)
 (30 November 2014)[2]
  Density2,600/km2 (6,800/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Dialing code0331
Patron saintSt. Cristopher
Saint day25 July
WebsiteOfficial website

It is the junction of railways to Varese, Laveno and Arona (for the Simplon). Some 10 kilometres (6 miles) to the west are the electric works of Vizzola, where 23,000 hp are derived from the river Ticino. Its territory is crossed by the river Arnetta, and belongs to the Ticino River Natural Park.

The city in the first part of the 19th century had a strong textile industry.


Founded by the Gauls and later conquered by the Romans, Gallarate was mentioned as an important vicus or village in documents dating back to the Roman conquest of what was then called Gallia Cisalpina. After the Carolingian conquest of northern-central Italy, a castle was erected upon the remains of the original Roman fortifications located beside the still existing Basilica of Santa Maria. The castle has disappeared, but its ancient location is identified through the city’s topography and by the street name Via Postcastello.

After the obliteration of Castelseprio by Ottone Visconti in 1287, Gallarate became the capital of the vast Seprio county. During these years, Gallarate saw a period of prosperity and economic growth that would last for the rest of Visconti’s control, until the beginning of French rule two centuries later (1498). Documents in the National Archives refer to Gallarate as an important centre of commercial exchange between both Italian and foreign markets, particularly for cotton, drapes, flax and textiles. Distinguished families such as the Rosnati, Reina, Masera, Palazzi, Macchi, Curioni, Mari and the Guenzati represented the nobility and the merchant classes. This period was also noted as a time of great civic improvement and the beginning of Gallarate as a centre of industrial activity.

In the late 15th century, the city fell under foreign dominations, initially under the Spanish and then under the French (and then again Spanish and their Austrian successors), a condition which lasted until the 19th century. In between this political instability, Gallarate became a private fief of some of the competing nobles Italian families such as the Bentivoglio, Pallavicino, Caracciolo, Altemps, Visconti, Castelbarco.

Gallarate became a part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1859 and received the honorary title of city with a royal decree on 19 December 1860.

By the latter half of the 19th-century modern industry had begun to take over many areas of Italy. In a few decades, Gallarate became an important industrial city. This period was also marked by heavy social tensions brought about by the rapid political and economic changes wrought by Gallarate’s own industrial revolution. Nowadays, Gallarate’s industrial structure no longer includes these giant industrial powerhouses of the past. Their existence, however, is still marked out by the presence of the high chimneys, which are still visible along Gallarate’s skyline. Many of the old Liberty-style buildings, where thousands of Gallaratesi worked during the past century-and-a-half, have been turned into new modern multi-level shopping centres and plazas.

Main sights

  • San Pietro: Romanesque church built in the 11th to 13th centuries, including some Gothic elements. The interior has a nave without aisles. The façade, the apse and the sides are characterized by arcades supported by small columns forming a fake loggia. It was declared a national monument in 1844.
  • Santa Maria Assunta: church located in the city centre and in autumn 2016 the local government started works of restoration
  • Baroque church of Sant'Antonio Abate
  • Sanctuary of Madonna di Campagna, dating to the early 17th century.
  • Church of San Zenone (18th century)
  • Church of San Rocco (16th century)
  • Historical pharmacy Dahò, where the carbonari used to hide in the 19th century, owned by Dott. Renata Minoli. The pharmacy is located in Piazza Garibaldi, in which there a statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi.
  • Museo MAGA (Museo d’Arte Gallarate-Art Museum of Gallarate) museum which holds over 5,000 pieces of modern and contemporary art.


In the 19th and 20th centuries Gallarate was an important centre for the textile industry. Now it is a local hub for transport and high-tech industries.


The Sistema Bibliotecario Consortile Antonio Panizzi has its main offices in Gallarate.[3] The system operates the Biblioteca Civica " Luigi Majno " in Gallarate.[4] Gallarate is also the seat of the Aloysianum, a former Jesuit college, which is now a Jesuit cultural centre with an important library. Carlo Maria Martini spent there the very last years of his life. In 2010 the local government built a modern art museum called Museo MAGA, hosting a Missoni exhibition in honour of the deceased Ottavio Missoni. MAGA is a focal point for local student research and adult education.


Gallarate railway station, opened in 1860, is the junction of the railway lines Domodossola–Milan, Luino–Milan and Porto Ceresio–Milan. The station is a stop for several long-running trains (EuroCity from Milan to Geneva and Basle), of regional trains from Milan to Domodossola, and of line S5 of Milan suburban railway service, and line S30 of Ticino railway network.

Gallarate is close to the Milan–Malpensa international airport.

Notable people


  1. "Superficie di Comuni Province e Regioni italiane al 9 ottobre 2011". Istat. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. "Popolazione Residente al 1° Gennaio 2018". Istat. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  3. "Contatti Archived 8 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine." Sistema Bibliotecario Consortile Antonio Panizzi. Retrieved on 18 January 2011. "Piazza S. Lorenzo, 5 21013 Gallarate (VA)."
  4. "Gallarate." Sistema Bibliotecario Consortile Antonio Panizzi. Retrieved on 19 January 2011. "Piazza S. Lorenzo, 5 – 21013 Gallarate (VA)"

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