The huge bronze statue of San Carlo Borromeo near the town of Arone on Lake Maggiore is impossible to miss, which is part of the reason it is often known as the “Colossus.” The statue’s nickname, “Sancarlone,” means “big San Carlo” in Italian.
The Sancarlone statue stands on a hill overlooking the lake, and was placed there in stages between 1614 and 1698. It was commissioned for the estate of the Borromeo family (now the Parco della Rocca Borromea) to honor Charles Borromeo (San Carlo) who was a cardinal in Milan, canonized in 1610.
The statue’s base is more than 38 feet tall, and the bronze statue is another 76 feet above that, making the whole thing tower more than 115 feet overhead. Its enormous size and hollow construction means that visitors can actually climb up a series of narrow staircases and steep ladders all the way up into the statue’s head. From there, you can look out over the landscape through the eyes and ears.
The only metal statue bigger than the Colossus of San Carlo Borromeo is the Statue of Liberty in New York.