The town originated in pre-Roman times in a strategic position held by the Ligurian Veleiates at the crossroads of the Cento Croci and Bocco mountain passes. It later became an important market centre due to the easy access offered for goods coming from the Tigullio and Luni areas through to the Po’ valley. Beneath the castle of the Fieschi family, who officially received the feudal estate from Barbarossa in 1161, excavations have uncovered traces of the Byzantines, who were later succeeded by the Lombards. At the end of the thirteenth century, the Fieschi family decided to build the “round town” (an unusual urban structure in a rural area), which was closed to the north by a palace that was later transformed into a castle. The church of San Giovanni Battista stands in the centre of the town: it has undergone many modifications, the last of which took place in the eighteenth century. The oratory of Santi Antonio e Rocco is a fine example of Ligurian Baroque style.
Varese Ligure has obtained the hallmark of valley of organic production. They produce biological meat, milk and cheese. The public lighting of the streets in Varese Ligure runs on wind energy in the green spirit of the valley for eco-sustainable management of the territory.