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2 days in arco, breathing some habsburg vibes

by Isabelle Yrma Pace
Reading time 3 minutes
Two days in Arco di Trento, in Garda Trentino? They seem not many but, if well organised, they will be enough for you to enjoy the numerous beauties of this town, located only a few steps from Lake Garda and overlooked by the renowned castle, beloved by many painters and poets.

Art Nouveau villas, elegant gardens and buildings, wonderful signs of the Habsburg Empire that left its trace here. Thanks to its microclimate in fact, Arco has always been a health and vacation resort for respiratory diseases. It was also a favourite destination for the nobles of the dynasty who found some relief from the seasonal illnesses here, as well as a mild and agreeable temperature even in winter.

Now as then, Arco welcomes you with the same goodwill. Coming from north, it’s easily recognisable thanks to the unique cliff on which there is it, the castle, dating back to the 12th century.


You can’t definitely miss a visit to the castle! Walking the path there, you will be surrounded by the Mediterranean scrub with olive trees (and don’t forget to taste the precious POD extra virgin olive oil of Garda Trentino during these two days in Arco!) until reaching the castle, that is the hamlet fortified by the Conti d’Arco. First you get to the Prato della Lizza, second to the Torre Grande, then the Prigione del Sasso and the Sala degli Affreschi. Even higher, the Torre Renghera towers. The castle was depicted in the famous paintings by Dürer several times. And if you are lucky enough, it could also turn up you to attend a… wedding! The castle, together with the Casinò and a municipality room (the amazing Palazzo Giuliani) is in fact the place for many celebrations.

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But time is running out and so let’s go to visit the Arboretum, a marvelous park surrounding the villa built by the Archduke Albert VII of Austria, where you’ll find many tree species (around 150 from Asia, America and Africa, together with some European ones), among which the rare Lawson cypress with a distinctive candelabrum shape! Under its shadows, you could do a picnic on one of the several tables of the park, together with your whole family!


From Arco you can get to Dro on a lush cycle route. Once in Ceniga, a community of Dro, follow the signs to the ancient Roman bridge (the origins are pretty uncertain, though). Once passed over the bridge (from here it is possible to appreciate some amazing views of the Sarca Valley), you get back to Arco, but you’d better stop to coo over the San Paolo hermitage for a while. This hermitage dates back to the 12th century, and was built under the rocks. It is open only on July and August Sundays, so if you are planning a visit to Arco in those months, remember to visit it.

But the cycle route is perfect also to reach the Torbole and Riva del Garda beaches from Arco. During these two days in Arco it is in fact impossible to miss the chance to cycle to the lakeshore and enjoy a day sunbathing, to end with a good lakefront aperitif!


The antique lovers will appreciate Arco a lot: here, on the third Saturday every month the Flea Market is held in the town center, from 8am to 5pm in winter, and to 7pm in summer. Via Segantini is the shopping street par excellence, and all the outdoor sport lovers, mainly climbing, will indulge in manyfold purchases. There are lots of shops dedicated to climbing because Arco is the world capital of this sport, and here the world-famous Rock Master Festival is held every year.

But after all, two days off should be used also to relax, shouldn’t they? And so, why not enjoying the calm beaches along the Sarca River, to read a good book? Maybe together with your beloved four-legged friend (Arco has also some Bau Beaches where Rover can get loose safely).

And, to end in style two days in Arco in Garda Trentino, don’t miss some tasty dinners with typical dishes like carne salada. There are lots of picturesque restaurants you will meet around the alleys of this old-fashioned Habsburg town that is able to give off calm, relaxation and peacefulness, but also many opportunities to practice outdoor sports and cultural trips (by the way, art lovers, don’t miss the City Art Gallery G.Segantini, dedicated to the famous Divisionism painter born in Arco).

Well, it’s better to admit that two days are not enough to enjoy Arco at its fullest, but they will be enough to make you dream about getting back as soon as possible. Who wants to bet?

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