On the hill in front of the Rocca di Arona stands the statue of San Carlo Borromeo. The work, nicknamed Il Sancarlone for its large size (about 33 meters), represents San Carlo in the act of blessing the diocese of Milan with his right hand while holding the voluminous book of the Acta Ecclesiae Mediolanensis with his left hand, a collection of what he did for the reorganization of the Milanese Church. The statue is hollow and it is possible to access inside, up to the head, where, through the opening of the eyes and the windows present, it is possible to admire the surrounding landscape.
The static stability of the work is allowed by a stone pillar placed inside the statue from which an iron structure departs that acts as a support for the body of the statue, made of wrought copper plates.
The work, commissioned by Federico Borromeo, was created by the sculptors Bernardo Falconi of Lugano and Siro Zanelli of Pavia, based on the original design by Giovan Battista Alberti, known as “il Cerano”. The statue was completed in 1698, 84 years after the work began, and since then it has stood among centuries-old woods as the prominent point of Arona, also visible from the lake.