The fortress was built between the thirteenth and sixteenth century, in a strategic position to control the commercial traffic via the lake. It was owned by the Archbishop of Milan then by the Viscontis, who extended it. In 1449, it passed to the powerful Borromeos, who expanded their domain beyond Angera. In the nineteenth century the fort's defensive function ceased to exist because of the demolition of the fortifications by the French.
The fortress is composed of the following buildings: Palazetto Scaligero, of thirteenth century, which takes its name from the intervention of Regina della Scala (circa 1370), wife of Barnabò Visconti. Traces of framed Visconti frescos have remained. Palazzo Visconteo, thirteenth-fourteenth century, was built at the request of Ottone Visconti. It has a façade with battlements made from great blocks of stone from Angera, and is lightened by single and double-lancet windows. The Borromea Wing, adjacent to Palazzo Visconteo is preceded by a triple-arched portico. The most beautiful part of the building's interior is the gothic-style Sala di Giustizia (Courtroom). From this room you can reach the Castellana Tower. The entrance towers and Castellana date both back to the thirteenth century. the Castellana tower represents the architectural synthesis between the Middle Age and the fourteenth-fifteenth century era. These buildings surround a large courtyard divided into two by a small wall, the Belvedere and the Noble Courtyard, accompanied by a pointed arch portico. The most important works of art include: the Roman lapidary collection below the arches facing the Borromea Wing; the frescos in the Courtroom, a pictorial cycle from the fourteenth century and one of the oldest and most valuable examples of profane art in Lombardy; the fifteenth century frescos of the hall in the Borromeo Wing, including the "Raccolta delle melograne" (Gathering of the Pomegranates), and a wine press from the seventeenth century.
Address: via alla Rocca