The monumental statue on Lake Maggiore
In Arona, on a hill about 310 metres above sea level, stands the Colossus of San Carlo Borromeo. The imposing statue, at about 35 metres high, peaks out among centuries-old trees, overlooking Lake Maggiore.
Nicknamed “Sancarlone” (big San Carlo) because of its monumental size, the sculpture is hollow inside and is supported by a framework of stone, brick and iron. On the outside, it is made up of sheets of hammered copper joined by nails and tie rods.
This colossal work was designed by Giovanni Battista Crespi, who was known as “Il Cerano”, and sculpted in 1698. It depicts San Carlo in the act of blessing the city with his right hand.
Between the folds of the saint’s robe there is a door, accessible via an iron spiral staircase, that allows you to climb up to the very top of the statue and enjoy breath-taking views through the holes in the eyes, nostrils and ears or through the openings in the back of the statue.