It is a centre of the paper-making industry, with which the town has been connected since the 14th century.
Varese is the seat of active silkspinning, tanning, paper-making and the manufacture of organs and vehicles.
Paper-making is highly developed in the provinces of Novara, Caserta, Milan, Vicenza, Turin, Como, Lucca, Ancona, Genoa, Brescia, Cuneo, Macerata and Salerno.
The principal industries include paper-making, brewing, the making of nets and twine, bricks, tiles and pottery, tanning and oil-refining, besides saltworks and seed-crushing works.
Many of the species are used for paper-making.