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Gallarate is a city and comune of Alto Milanese of Lombardy, northern Italy, in the Province of Varese. It has a population of some 51,700.It is the junction of railways to Varese, Laveno and Arona . Some 10km 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 National Park.The city in the first part of 19th century had a strong textile industry.HistoryFounded 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. During the Frankish hegemony, a castle was erected upon the remains of the original Roman fortifications located beside the still existing Basilica of Santa Maria. The castle does not exist anymore, 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 Seprio, a vast and important county at the time. During these years, Gallarate saw a period of prosperity and economic growth that would last for the entire reign of the Visconti’s control, which continued 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 center of industrial activity.
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