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.
Its origins date back to around 750 thanks to documents that mention the church of Santa Maria known today as Collegiata of Castell'Arquato. Only in 1349, under the domination of the Visconti, were the works for the construction of the Rocca completed.
The most interesting part of Castell'Arquato is precisely its historic center which is accessed through narrow characteristic lanes lined with houses and walls that wind their way up to the top of the hill where we find the most important buildings.
The Collegiata has a church with three naves with trussed roof and sandstone columns with carved capitals, mainly with geometric designs, one different from the other. The side cloister and the high bell tower built later in the thirteenth century. , they complete it. The back of the church overlooks the main square of Castell'Arquato offering a beautiful architectural vision thanks to the apse and the various chapels differing in height and position.
On the northern side of the Piazza Monumentale, the hub of the life of the village, stands the Palazzo del Podestà, 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 wide and deep pointed arches, it is surmounted by a crown of dovetail 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 Rocca, 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.
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.