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Arco is a city of 18,000 people (2015) at the northern shore of Lake Garda in Italy. It has been a popular resort for centuries, and is one of the most popular climbing spots in Europe.


Arco is in the Alto Garda and Ledro area between the hills behind Riva del Garda, not far from the lake in the final part of the Sarca river valley which flows from here into Lake Garda. It is protected by the mountains and the proximity of Lake Garda, providing this area a particularly mild climate. North of Arco is the Patone cave, a horizontal cave that can be easily visited.

Arco overlooks Lake Garda to the south, while to the north it is surrounded by mountains. The city has been known and popular as a place of rest and treatment since the Habsburg period; Archduke Albert of Habsburg wanted Arco as his winter residence, the Villa Arciducale, which boasts a luxuriant park, the Arboretum. The Habsburgs embellished the city with parks and gardens, Art Nouveau villas and palaces, as well as the Castle which is one of the best examples of Trentino.

Its municipal territory embraces the towns of Bolognano, Caneve, Ceole, Chiarano, La Grotta, Linfano, Massone, Moletta, Padaro, Pratosaiano, San Giorgio, San Martino, Varignano, Vigne and Vignole.

Get in[edit]

Map of Arco

Arco is 4 km northeast of Riva del Garda.

By plane[edit]

  • Bolzano-Dolomites Airport (BZO IATA) (6 km from the centre of Bolzano), +39 0471 255 255. open to the public: 05:30–23:00; ticket office opening: 06:00-19:00. Check-in for flights from Bolzano is only possible from 1 hour to a maximum of 20 minutes before departure. Small regional airport with scheduled flights to and from Lugano and Rome with Etihad Regional (by Darwin Air). On the other hand, charter flights are numerous.
  • Verona Airport (Catullus), Caselle di Sommacampagna, +39 045 8095666.
  • Brescia Airport (D'Annunzio), Via Aeroporto 34, Montichiari, +39 045 8095666. Connections with Brescia airport are provided by public transport via the bus/shuttle. The stop in Brescia city ​​is located at the bus station (number 23), while the airport stop is at the front of the terminal. There are also connections to the city of Verona through the bus/shuttle line 1.

By car[edit]

A22 Rovereto Sud - Lago di Garda Nord motorway exit on the A22 Brennero motorway.

Provincial Road 118: The provincial road 118 connects it to Riva del Garda and Dro.

By train[edit]

Mori railway stop on the Verona - Innsbruck line; railway station in Rovereto; from Rovereto to Arco bus connection.

By bus[edit]

Connections via the Trentino Trasporti bus lines.

Get around[edit]

Most of the attraction are accessible by foot from the city centre.

Public transport connects the municipalities of Arco, Riva del Garda and Nago - Torbole. It is distributed on four lines: the circular lines 1 and 2 that connect Arco and Riva del Garda and their respective hamlets; line 3 which connects Arco, Riva del Garda and Nago-torbole and line 4 inside the town of Riva del Garda. Timetables are available on the Trentino Trasporti website[dead link].


  • Arco Castle. The city develops on the slopes of a rocky cliff from which the magnificent medieval castle dominates the entire Upper Garda valley . The castle was built as a fortified village defended by mighty walls and a good sighting system thanks to the towers on the various sides of the nucleus. The whole complex consisted of the two Renghera towers in the highest part of the cliff, and Grande as well as several buildings such as the prison rondello, the blacksmith's workshop, the cellar, the mill and three cisterns. According to some sources, its construction originated in the Middle Ages, built by the inhabitants of Arco and only later became the property of the noble Arcense family that dominated these lands. The castle was abandoned during the 18th century also following the siege by French troops in the summer of 1703 commanded by the French general Luigi Giuseppe di Borbone-Vendôme. An accurate restoration in 1986 and others in the following years, commissioned and carried out by the autonomous province of Trento and the Municipality of Arco, allowed the discovery and recovery of some cycles of frescoes depicting knights and court ladies of the medieval era. Arco castle attracts thousands of visitors every year offering an enchanting view of the area and a visit to suggestive ruins. According to some, the houses in the historic center, arranged in an arch around the cliff of the ancient castle, give the town its name, another current of thought says that the name derives from the Latin Arx, arcis la rocca, precisely due to the presence of this important fortification work.
  • Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie, via Dante Alighieri 9, +39 0464 519800. The sanctuary and the adjacent convent were built between 1475 and 1492 at the behest of the local count. In the following centuries the building underwent several renovations, but the lowered arches and some columns with smooth capitals dating back to the primary 15th-century construction are still clearly visible in the cloister. Inside the sanctuary there is a wooden statue depicting the Virgin Mary most likely dating back to the 15th century. modification
  • Church of Sant'Anna. It is near the Collegiate Church of the Assumption. It was consecrated in 1652 by an Albanian bishop and in 1900 it was, in addition to a place of worship, also a winter health centre. The bell tower was damaged by the bombing of the Second World War. The paintings found in the sacristy represent Sant'Andrea and other saints and the whole church was painted by the local painter Antonio Zanoni. modification
  • Collegiate Church of the Assumption, 3 November Square. The construction works were undertaken in 1613 on the remains of an ancient and previous church of Romanesque origin whose foundation dates back to between the 4th and 9th centuries and which is mentioned for the first time in a document dated 1144. Nothing has been preserved. of the ancient medieval building, which was demolished in 1613 to make way for the current factory designed by the imperial architect Giovanni Maria Filippi da Dasindo. The works, also financed by the various communities in the area, lasted for a few decades until 1630 when they had to be interrupted due to the violent plague epidemic that decimated the area — almost 3000 victims - the Arcense community; it was consecrated on May 15, 1671. Inside the collegiate church - with a single nave - there is a marble statue dedicated to the Assumption, perhaps the work of the sculptor Gabriele Cagliari from Verona . Among the altars, five are the work of Domenico Rossi, the fourth on the right is dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament - closed by an iron and brass gate - while the second altar on the left is dedicated to Mary Magdalene sculpted by the brothers Cristoforo and Sebastiano Benedetti di Castione. Above the first altar on the left there is an altarpiece depicting the Madonna with the Child Jesus, two angels and St. Michael the Archangel by Felice Brusasorzi. The wooden choir loft is the work of Giacomo Benedetti from Desenzano del Garda, completed in 1731. Adjacent to the presbytery are the two entrances in the floor that lead to an underground sepulcher where in the past the canons of the collegiate and local counts were buried. In the last years of the 19th century was buried here - provisionally - the body of Francis II of the Two Sicilies, the last monarch of the Kingdom of Naples , who died in Arco in 1894. changes
  • Church of the Holy Trinity. German Church of the Evangelical Lutheran Community of Merano. It was built by the Evangelical community of Arco in 1903 and in the postwar period entrusted to the Collegiate Church of Arco; it was dedicated to St. Therese of the Child Jesus and blessed in 1934. Since 1970 it has been used and managed by the Evangelical Community based in Merano. It is a valuable neo-Gothic building with a steep imbricated roof.
  • Church of Sant'Apollinare (in Prabi). The church is of Romanesque origin and is located in the hamlet of Prabi. The façade and the exteriors were frescoed between the 15th and 16th centuries, while the interior houses valuable frescoes from the 14th century.
  • Church of San Martino, Viale S. Francesco, 3, +39 0464 516184. Located in San Martino, the church was completely rebuilt during the 16th century and inside there are several cycles of frescoes from the Italian Renaissance period.
  • Church of San Rocco in the hamlet of Caneve. Its construction dates back to the 14th century. modification
  • Sanctuary of Madonna di Laghel. Built in 1700 in Baroque style, it stands at the top of the steep Via Crucis. A "dead Jesus", the work of the artist Josef Moroder-Lusenberg from Gardenia, was placed in the tomb after the restoration of the sanctuary on March 19, 1896.
  • Via Crucis of Laghel. Capitals with wooden reliefs of the Passion of Christ by Josef Moroder Lusenberg. The Via Crucis of Laghel already around 1690 was erected and equipped with 14 capitals by Count Gianbattista d'Arco along the boundary wall of his properties in the current Via dei Capitelli in Arco.
  • Marchetti Palace. The former Palazzo di San Pietro dates back to the 16th century and is on the east side of the Collegiata dell'Assunta. The building was owned by the counts of Arco until the mid-19th century when it was sold to Saverio Marchetti, a judge from Bolbeno. Inside the palace there are several cycles of frescoes from different eras and painters, while at the southern entrance of the noble building a portal attributed to the painter and sculptor Giulio Romano of Rome is clearly visible.
  • Palace of the Cloths. The building dates back to the last decades of the seventeenth century and its construction was commissioned by Count Gianbattista d'Arco; the strong testimony of the noble Arcense family is still visible on the portal where the noble coat of arms of the Andrea branch stands out. Towards the end of the 18th century the building was bought by Giovanni Battista Marosi, a priest of Bolognano, who transformed the structure into a wool building from which the name of the Cloths would be derived. The decision to convert the noble palace into a small wool industry was desired by the priest to face the severe crisis of unemployment and misery that was raging in the country. The wool mill was in business for a few years and once closed it became, for the whole of the 19th century, the seat in the following years of various municipal bodies such as fire station, kindergarten and city theater. At the beginning of the 20th century the building hosted several boys from the Institute of Providence and with the advent of Fascism it changed its name to Palazzo del Littorio. The building - which has taken on its ancient name - is the seat of the Bruno Emmert Civic Library, bibliophile of Arco, and of the Giovanni Segantini Atelier. The sculpture in the internal courtyard of the building by the local sculptor Renato Ischia is dedicated to Segantini. The halls of the atelier are used by the Municipality of Arco as a venue for cultural conferences and exhibitions of artistic and historical interest. The palace also houses the Galleria Civica "Segantini" headquarters Arco of May Museum Alto Garda change
  • Civic Gallery "G. Segantini", Via G. Segantini, 9 - Palazzo Panni, +39 0464 573869. Named after the divisionist painter Giovanni Segantini (Arco, 1858 - Schafberg, 1899), it is housed in the Palazzo dei Panni and constitutes one of the two exhibition venues of the MAG Museo Alto Garda , together with the Museum of Riva del Garda. The exhibition consists of a traditional exhibition part with paintings, graphic works and historical documents about the artist, and an interactive part.
  • Arboretum. The arboretum is an area inserted in the previous Arciducale Park wanted by the Archduke Albert of Habsburg, the latter cousin of Franz Joseph I of Habsburg and who established his residence in Arco in 1872 by erecting the Villa Arciducale, and extended to one hectare. The project for the realization of the botanical garden was entrusted in the 1960 to Walter Larcher, professor of botany at the University of Innsbruck. The arboretum is rich in tree and shrub species. The plant species conserved are approximately 150 and come from different geographical areas such as southern and central Europe, eastern Asia, the Americas and African regions. modification
  • Patone's cave (Bus del Diaol; Nigol bus; cave at the 1st Ghana; cave of Ceniga; Arco cave). It is a horizontal cave, that is, with a limited height difference, but with an extension for the length of about 800 m. It can be reached from the state road 45 bis Gardesana Occidentale, north of Arco, in the locality of La Molletta, near San Martino a Patone at a height of 225 m. Along the road, near the Giare farm, there is a gravel pit. Parked, you take an uncomfortable path, steep and landslide, which ends by climbing the bed of a former torrent (canyon), after half an hour you arrive at the entrance of the cave (about 300 m above sea level). To visit it it is recommended to be accompanied by some speleologist, or in any case to have some experience of caves. The visit lasts 2-3 hours, plus the hours to free the siphon (usually 2-3). The entrance on the western side of Mount Stivo is very large, very similar to a gigantic open mouth, for some similar to that of the devil, and develops entirely in the limestones of the Lias. The cave has 5 siphons, which divide it into two sections, of which the second is accessible only after having freed the 3rd siphon from the sand. The birth of the cave is due to the fact that a stream, now dry, came out of it. To enter you must immediately go down a 2-m boulder, perhaps using a ladder, and just beyond the first siphon, which is almost always open. Here, going forward, you reach a gate. The first section has a length of 350 m, and ends with the 3rd siphon, generally obstructed by the presence of sand, unless some visitor has already passed it recently. This siphon is located at an altitude of -21 m from the entrance, the lowest point of the entire cave. To get to the beginning of the second section, it is therefore possible to remove the accumulated sand, using the tools found on site (shovels and buckets), with an average work of 2-3 hours. Once you have reopened a narrow passage, you can slip into the second section, which is much more fascinating than the first. This section has a development of about 500 m and ends in the 5th siphon completely covered by sand. In the past, the caves group of the SAT of Arco did surveys and excavated to try to find out where the cave ended up but without result. In fact, it seems that this 5th siphon is particularly long and according to the experts' voices it could end up in a large, hitherto unexplored hall. The year of the cave's discovery is not known, and neither is its first discoverer. Historically it is only recorded in a writing by Vincenzo Zucchelli, who visited the cave together with some friends in 1885. Other explorations are also dated in the following years, until some scholars, including Battisti and Trenner, at the end of the 1800s took an interest in it. From his studies he also passed on to tourist guides, up to his first relief in the period between 1925 and 1938.


Rock climbing[edit]

There are many spots:

  • Placche Zebrate - 14 multi-pitch routes, optimally secured

A small climbing guide is sold for €1 at the camp sites.


A lot of trails with good indication are available here.


There are lots of shops selling climbing equipment and if you are thinking about completing your equipment before travelling to Arco, don't! Prices are really cheap here.




  • 1 Albergo Cattoi, Viale Rovereto 64 Arco, +39 0464517070. One star.




Go next[edit]

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