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For over 2,000 years Angera's development has been due the fact that it faces onto a bay protected from the wind by the Rocca and San Quirico hills. This natural port lay at the centre of river and lake routes between Europe further north and the Adriatic that passed along the Po and Ticino rivers and Lake Maggiore. In Roman times a lighthouse may have stood in what is now Via Ondoli; ruins were discovered during building work on land belonging to the Greppi family.
The medieval port was at the innermost point of the gulf, but no structures have survived because the barges berthed directly on the shore.
The Austrian port was built for reasons of trade during Habsburg rule to allow the early steamships to dock. The structure dates from 1819 and is composed of massive granite walls.
In 1826 a navigation service opened on the lake, initially involving only Piedmont and Switzerland. Later the Austrians too adhered to the agreement, which permitted the boat to stop also at Angera. The current pier, where the Navigazione Lago Maggiore boats now stop, was built in 1913.