Arco Castle is the ruin of a 12th-century medieval fortress built on a prominent spur high overlooking Arco and the Sarca Valley in Trentino, Northern Italy. It’s well worth a visit if you are on holiday in Riva del Garda. In collaboration with Garda Trentino S.p.A. Tourism Board
One of the characteristic features of the Garda Trentino landscape is the rock of Arco which dominates the plain of the River Sarca at the point where it widens.
At the top of this prominent 273 m outcrop of rock you’ll find Arco Castle – the remains of a 12th-century fortress. It’s made up of the Torre Grande (the square structure with the tall sides), the Prigione del Sasso dungeon, the Sala degli Affreschi with its 14th-century frescos and the Torre Renghera at the very top.
Three paths lead to the castle from the village of Arco. These paths wind through the olive groves in the hills to reach the castle within a few minutes. Follow the marker “Castello” between the houses and the olive grove, with it’s cicada orchestra, to reach the castle. It’s a steep climb, taking 15-20 minutes, but well worth it for the views.
It is thought that the foundations of this castle date back to 1000 AD, built by the villagers themselves before being taken over by the Counts and nobles of Arco during the Middle Ages. The castle fortress controlled the Northern side of the Valle del Sarca valley, which used to be often crossed by armies coming from the North and heading towards the Po River Valley.
There’s a large lawn at the base of the castle, used during the summer months for picnics, music and poetry events. It’s a popular wedding venue as well.
Take in the stunning views of old Arco from this vantage point, a view which stretches all the way to Lake Garda.
Looking up the hill you see the walls of the Torre Grande, surrounded by its age-old cypresses. This tower was built in the 12-century and survived Napoleon’s cannons.
At the gift shop next to Torre Grande pay the entrance fee (or show them your Garda Trentino Guest Card for free entry) and enter the castle. Information panels guide your way and explain the history of the castle. Guided tours are also offered.
In the Sala degli Affreschi you’ll find beautiful frescoes from the 14th-century with scenes of games of draughts, battles and ladies very intent on playing chess.
Continue up the hill from here to the Torre Renghera, the last refuge in the event of a siege. Here, the bell, known as the “renga”, called the locals to prayer.
From here you’ve got a wonderful view of the lake, to the Monte Stivo in the east which may still be covered with snow and to the Paganella in the north.
An icon and symbol of the city, Arco Castle is reproduced in countless codices and paintings, including the very famous watercolour by Albrecht Dürer kept at the Louvre in Paris. It’s definitely well worth a visit if you are in the area.
Arco Castle Opening Times
01.03 – 31.03 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
01.04 – 30.09 10.00 am – 7.00 pm
01.10 – 31.10 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
02.11 – 06.01 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
07.01 – 31.01 10.00 am – 4.00 pm only Saturday and Sunday
01.02 – 28.02 10.00 am – 4.00 pm
Closed: January 1st, November 1sth, December 25th, 26th, 24th afternoon and 31st afternoon
Note: last admission to the upper towers one hour before closing time!
Price: € 3.50 / € 2.00 ( 12-18/over 60 ) / € 3.00 ( groups min. 20 people). Ask for the Garda Trentino Guest Card at your hotel for free entry.
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Elizabeth was a guest of Garda Trentino S.p.A. Tourism, but all thoughts and opinions expressed are hers alone.