Castell'Arquato medieval village (Piacenza-Italy)

The village of Castell'Arquato rises along the valley of the river Arda in the province of Piacenza, perched on a hill overlooking the surrounding landscape. The historic center is built according to the structure of the medieval villages and offers interesting monuments, churches, museums.

Historical signs

Its origins date it back to around 750 thanks to documents that mention the church of S. Maria Assunta, now known as the Collegiata di Castell'Arquato. Only in 1349, in full domination by the Visconti, were the works for the construction of the Rocca completed. Since then the historical events of Castell'Arquato have been linked to the Visconti family and then passed under French rule in 1499. After the French domination the village passed to the Sforza until the early 1700s when the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza took over the area.

Visit to Castell'Arquato village

The most interesting part of Castell'Arquato is its historic center which is accessed through narrow, characteristic alleys flanked by houses and low walls that wind sinuously up to the top of the hill where we find the most important buildings.
The Collegiate Church has a three-nave church with trussed roofing and sandstone columns with carved capitals, mostly in geometric designs, one different from the other. The side cloister and the high bell tower built later in the 13th century. , complete it. The back of the church overlooks the main square of castel'Arquato offering a beautiful architectural vision thanks to the apse and the various chapels that differ in terms of height and position.

On the northern side of Monumental Square, the fulcrum of life in the village, stands the Podestà Palace, a building that dates back to the end of the 1200s, which has undergone several changes and extensions over time. Built on three floors, with vast and deep pointed arches, it is surmounted by a crown of dovetailed merlons. In the center stands a pentagonal tower whose northern walls hold two large clocks from the 1600s.

Strong piece of Castell'Arquato is the Fortress, built on a previous forlizio, it was completed in 1349.
The highest tower was an important observation point between the Po Valley and the slopes of the Apennines and allowed full control of the valley. The main entrance with a bridge, once a drawbridge, is located at the base of the great keep, while another entrance, also with a drawbridge, is placed on a side tower (now closed). Today the external perimeter structure with four crenellated defensive towers with a square base, as well as the main keep, inside which it is possible to visit a permanent exhibition on medieval life and on the history of the fortification, remain of the entire fortress. Through a wooden staircase you can reach the top of the keep from which you can enjoy a splendid view of the village, the town and the valley.

Of the walls that protected Castell'Arquato very little is left, you can see some entrance doors to the village, the best preserved is that which leads to the Apennines, Porta Sotana. The building is in stone and bricks, on the outside it has a round arch, inside a lowered sixth. Overlook five merlons of dovetail, symbol of the Ghibellines.

Castell'Arquato curiosity

Every year the second weekend of September, the medieval festival is organized in which everyone can participate in the life of the encampment along the Arda stream wearing the medieval costumes made available to the Proloco di Castell'Arquato.
In the mid-80s, Castell'Arquato was one of the Italian locations chosen to give life to a famous film: Lady Hawke. The village, with its beautiful square in particular, became a large open-air set, a part of the population was involved playing roles of extras.

Castell'Arquato considerations

The village of Castell'Arquato deserves to be visited dedicating the time necessary to walk in its alleys, quiet, clean and well maintained. In this way it is possible to grasp the spirit of this place that knows of other times. The historic center is certainly interesting with the hill that offers many points of artistic interest, a little 'less than the fortress of which there is only the main tower and four smaller towers.

Where is Castell'Arquato

Castell'Arquato photo and video gallery

All photos, albums and videos on this site are by Robert.

Complete photo album
of Castell'Arquato
Video from the drone
of Castell'Arquato

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Medieval villages near Castell'Arquato

(Piacenza IT)

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