The Castle of Arco (link al sito) strikes your chord. It seduces you. Its elegance, its majesty, its grandeur. Garda Trentino is land of castles and fortresses, among which the Castle of Arco stands definitely out.
A real icon of Arco and the whole “busa” (loosely “hole” in the local dialect, as the Garda Trentino area is defined), the castle dates back to the 12th century.
Already in 1196, Federico d’Arco stated that the castle was an allodial good (i.e. a freehold estate in land over which the allodial landowner had full ownership, as it was in the Middle Ages) owned by the citizens of the Pieve di Arco. Since then on, it has become the focus and symbol for Arco, seducing writers and painters along the centuries (world famous are the Dürer’s watercolors, and one of them precisely portrays the castle of Arco). They have described it by pens and brushes, making it become the Arco emblem.
Even if nowadays we only find traces of its glorious past, once the castle was a real village in itself, dwelling not only for the ruling family (the counts of Arco until 1000), but also their relatives and workshops, small shops and everything needed for the “court life”. Since the 18th century, it began to fall until it was bombed by the French army and Vendôme.
A WALK AMONG THE CENTURIES-OLD OLIVE TREES
In 1982 the castle became a property of the municipality; since this moment on, a lot of activities have contributed in making it livelier than ever. Concerts, shows, events. Each and every event on the top of the castle gets a peculiar flavour, because walking there is already living an emotion. From the city centre the path starts, charachterized by Mediterranean scrub, centuries-old olive trees, succulents and cypresses. The heady smell of nature in its spring inflorescence will instill deep feelings in you. Once on the top, the view of a green lawn (called Prato della Lizza), of the whole town down to Lake Garda and of the surrounding mountains (among them, Mount Brione standing out) will open up in front of your eyes.
THE CASTLE BUILDING AND ITS PARTS
Once inside the castle (it will take you about 30 mins walking) you will find the Torre Grande (well preserved despite the fact that a whole part is missing), and the Sala dei Giochi, where you will discover some medieval Gothic frescoes. After a further effort, you will get to the Torre Renghera, the highest spot of the castle, where the bell, called Renga, used to ring to sound the alarm or muster. Lastly, the Prigione del Sasso, where prisoners were shut in in a narrow poky space.
You can visit the castle in these months: from April to September from 10 am to 7 pm, in October and March from 10 am to 5 pm, from November to February from 10 am to 4 pm (excl. January, after the 6th, when the castle is open only at weekends). For further practical information, please click here.
Being you both history or hiking enthusiasts, a visit to the castle of Arco is well worth the effort (minimal, the walk isn’t definitely demanding). Anyway, you’d better to equip with comfortable shoes and clothes, a cap in summer and some water (although there is a small bar close to the Prato della Lizza), but above all, equip yourself with a unique, essential element: an open heart. A heart ready to welcome the beauty around us, sign of a past that shouldn’t be forgotten and guarantee that if protected, loved, discovered and appreciated, it will never stop amazing us and making us live an endless emotion.