Already in Roman days a relatively large settlement existed at the foot of the cliff. Arco later became a Lombard and Carolingian village, and was first mentioned in documents from 771. Annexed first to the dukedom and consequently to the county of the episcopal principality of Trento, it later passed into the hands of the counts of Arco, who were invested with the castle and its jurisdiction in 1186. The town was ruled by the Scaligera family of Verona from 1348 to 1405.
Later besieged and burned by the Venetians, it remained the bulwark of Trento against the Upper Garda territories. In 1579 the counts of Tyrol conquered the county and reigned until 1614, when it again became an imperial domain. In 1703, during the War of the Spanish Secession, Arco was occupied and plundered by General Vendôme's troops in retreat. With the secularization of the episcopal principality, Arco and the rest of the Trento region first fell under the control of Austria (1804), then Bavaria (1806). The area returned to Austria in 1815 and remained under its dominion until World War I.
You can soar through the sky with your parasail from the summit of Mount Stivo (2,059 m) to Arco, covering a difference in height of about 1900 m. To reach the take-off spot, take the road to Val di Gresta as far as Ronzo, then turn left for S. Barbara and Mount Stivo. Proceed on foot along a numbered path (the walk will take about one hour). You can land at the Arco soccer field (just make sure it isn't in use!). The flight is spectacular for its duration and the breathtaking scenery. Suggested flight times are all day in winter, but only after 7:00 p.m. in summer. Strong air currents in the summer make it dangerous to fly in the afternoon. Paragliding is prohibited with the north wind.
The Great Carnival takes place in Arco each year. During this famous event, a traditional parade of allegorical floats winds through the streets of the small town. Splendid balls in which the guests are dressed in costumes from the Hapsburg period are held in the rooms of the Casinò.
Compared to its original structure, very little remains of the magnificent manor house of the counts of Arco. Well before it was developed by the community of Arco, the locality was already fortified in Roman and Lombard days. Thus, the fortress became the residence of the family from which the city took its name, and was first mentioned in documents of 1124. The fortress was owned for several years by the Scaligero family. Besieged by the Venetians and later bombarded by General Vendôme's troops, it remained the emblem of the city near the lake garda. It can be reached by way of a lovely scenic road that winds through the olive groves. Recently restored, the castle will be used for prestigious cultural events.
Every year in September, Arco is the stage for the Rock Master trial of the free climbing World Championship. The climbing stadium is crowded with thousands of young spectators and hundreds of competitors from all over the world, ready to face an imposing artificial wall 25 meters in height.For information contact:
Rock Master Committee Phone 0039 0464 518094.
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