Many are Arco’s souls: it’s a city that attracts many tourists from all around the globe. It has been the birthplace of the great painter Segantini, the holiday resort and treatment center for many well to do people and noble families of the Austro – Hungarian Empire. To our days, it’s the location for the Rockmaster’s world climbing championship and arrival of many important trail running and mountain bike contests. Overall it’s a place where outdoor passionate people are more than welcome: nature lovers here feel like at home.
So, why not discover a little bit of nature and history in Arco and its lovely fractions scattered around in its vaste territory? There’s really a lot to explore, but today we want to focus with you on five locations you cannot miss to visit is you will pass by Arco.
1. San Giovanni al Monte e mount Biaina
San Giovanni al Monte is a location full of charm. It’s not uncommon to find bikers groups visiting this place located 1000 meters on the sea level: it has gorgeous views on the valley below. It used to be a place of hay and wood harvest, a shelter for farmers after the labor; now, it’s a popular vacation center for Arco citizens. To enjoy the views at their best though, we suggest you to make the effort to get on top of Biaina mount; from there, you should reach the so called Castelletto area, a location with the most stunning views all around the place. An unique feature!
2. Arco Castle and olive grove
It’s a true pleasure to hike along the alleys of Arco, and find yourself surrounded by unexpected mediterranean sceneries once you left the city center. Yes, it’s all true: the Arco Castle is the only one in the shire that is surrounded by centuries old olive groves. This scenery can deliver seaside feelings although set amidst alpine territories. A bit higher up, the castle reminders will welcome you. Started in unknown ages, it has been remastered many times over the centuries before being partially destroyed by general Vendôme in 1702. You can visit it, and it will allow you to set your eyes on the whole lower course of Sarca river, until the Lake Garda. It cannot be missed!
3. The chestnut orchards of Troiana, Carobbi and the “Pezzol balcony”
On the mountains near the villages of San Martino and Massone there are some communities that were once independent from the municipality of Arco. The fractions of Troiana and Carobbi have been known for centuries to be great in cultivation of chestnut orchards that can still be seen, with many centuries years old samples that are chartered in the list of the monumental trees of Italy because of their size. Chestnuts has been since Roman times a very important source of food for the villagers. Not too far, in the forest, a walk will take you to the so-called “Pezzol balcony”, a place known for its panoramatic view on the valley. From there, in the clearest days, you can see beyond the southest point of lake Garda. It surely is a magic place!
4. Arco mountain farms and Stivo mount
Going up from Carobbi on the forest dirt road, you will get into the wild of the Arco forests on the sides of mount Stivo. It’s a wild place, and a real biker’s paradise. The main track will lead you up the slope through many turns, until you’ll get to one of the most beautiful mountain farms of Arco, named Malga Vallestrè. This natural highland offers wide views all over. If you want to go higher though, the Cargolini path will lead you to the Mandrie Alte, pastures used since ancient times by the shepherds, a land with a great scenery all around and a nice sunny exposure, not too far from the refuge “Marchetti allo Stivo”. One more effort will take you to the top of Stivo mount, a spectacular location!
5. Spirituality and hospitality: San Giacomo
The correct name is Eremo di san Giacomo e Silvestro and it’s located on the ancient track that was linking the Adige valley to the Arco flatlands. Set on the panoramatic side of mount Stivo, over the locality of Salve Regina, it’s a lovely medieval hermitage. It was probably created as an isolated refuge that would help the villagers to escape the barbaric strikes and it had built right away next to the church a refectory for the hermits and the pilgrims asking for hospitality. Even now the people living in the fraction of Bolognano go on the pilgrimage to the hermitage every first day of May. The church and the hermitage are property of the parish Addolorata di Bolognano and can be visited in the summer Sundays, from June until end of August, thanks to the volunteers of the Recreational Circle of Bolognano, or on the first of May or on the day of the Apostle Saint James (25th of July).
This is only the beginning: many other interesting places are around, historical and natural, in the towncenter or in its fractions. The architecture, the mediterranean landscape, the austere rocky cliffs, the forests that grow between them are a neverending source of inspiration for further exploits. But this is another story.. and shall be told another time.