The built-up area of Alzate, set on a hill, exemplifies in its plan the compact area around the castrum dating from the Roman period to which this, like other Larian settlements, owes its origin. The historic centre consists essentially of two roads set almost perpendicular to each other, recognizable as the Etruscan-Roman scheme of the cardo-decumanus, with the piazza and the early mediaeval tower where they intersect. In the centre, there are the two villas of the ancient feudatories: one, Villa Alciati, now Villa Baragiola, adjacent to the tower, with its extensive park stretching to the north-west, and the other, Villa Odescalchi, at the centre of extensive estates recorded from the 16th century. The town is represented in the 1721 Catasto Teresiano (Cadastre of Maria Theresa of Austria) clustering around the villas, while the houses that would line the main street had not yet been built. The village expanded along the road to the plain in the 1800s.
Significant architectural works
Villa Baragiola, via Anzani 3, Palazzo Alciati until 1798, the feudal castle of the village, remodelled in the 19th and 20th centuries. The pronaos, from the early 1900s, repeats neoclassical forms. The great park passed to the municipality in the 80s.
Villa Odescalchi (now a hotel), via Anzani 12, is the result of an intervention by Tommaso Odescalchi (in the years close to his death, in 1686) in an existing building purchased by the family a century earlier.
Church of S. Giorgio, via Alciato, 18th century; inside, a side chapel has a remarkable cycle of frescoes, Leonardesque in inspiration. The current appearance of the building dates from 17th-century alterations.
19th-century building curtain along via Diaz.