Castillo Scaligero is situated on a rocky outcrop that looks over Lake Garda that offers splendid views over the lake.The castle is clearly signposted wherever you are in Malcesine,and is well worth a visit. However, do check times as it is not always open.
Once you enter the courtyard to your left there's public rest rooms, a small gift shop and the entrance to a fascinating interactive exhibition which describes flora and fauna of the region,how the lake was formed and the social and political history of the Lake Garda region. Exhibition descriptions are multi lingual and there is enough to keep you entertained for an hour or two.
The pretty gardens are full of modern art sculptures and as you go further up into the castle itself there is a permanent Goethe memorial exhibition which describes the noted man's love of the region (he did a famous painting of the castle), an exhibition of artifacts from a great sailing ship which was purposely sunk to prevent the Venetians from gaining a grip on the area around the 15th century.
The clock tower offers great views across the lake towards Limone,Torbole and Riva del Garda.The castle also offers a popular wedding service.
The entrance fee is very reasonable but I suggest you also keep an eye out for the performances in the theatre behind the castle-the theatre nestles in a natural basin in the rock and sits around 400 people. It is wheel chair friendly, unlike the castle.
Just being there is enough reason to visit. It's such a pleasant place I made sure to include it in my itinerary the third time I went to Italy.
The feature of the place used to be the Scaligeri Castle, and it still is prominent but these days the town is growing and the castle is nestled in a side alley, but still sticks out when you approach the town from the north.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe is probably this castles most famous visitor.
During his life changing 2 year Italian Journey (1786-1788), Goethe was forced to land in Malcesine (In the 18th century, the roadway around the lake wasn't constructed, so Goethe left Tobole by sail rigged row boat.)
At this time Malcesine was the frontier between the Austrian Empire and Venetian Republic. Strong winds forced the boat to stay in the shelter of the towns harbour. Struck by the sight of Castello Scaligero, Goethe proceeded to sketch the view. However, this was interrupted by soldiers arresting him for spying - the castle being a military base!
Luckily he was saved partly by his own diplomacy and charm, and by a local man named Gregorio, who had visited Germany.
He told the military leaders that "We should treat him as a friend and set him at liberty, so that he may speak well of us to his countrymen and encourage them to visit Malcesine, whos' beautiful situation so well deserves the admiration of foreigners"
(It's not recorded if Gregorio was planning a chain of hotels, or if he worked for the tourist Office ;-) )
Goethe stayed 2 nights in Malcesine - a plaque outside The Hotel San Marco on the Lakeside commemorates this. He then headed for Verona.
Prior to visiting Malcesine, Goethe had resided in Torbole, where he wrote "Iphigenie'
Whilst here he also stayed one night in an inn which was called Alberto alla Rose. This is now a lakeside appartment, but a plaque outside states that he stayed here the night of September 12th 1786.
In the grounds of the castle is a memorial plaque and bust of Goethe.
In The Goethe Hall , which was once the powder room of the fortress, are sketches, and pieces of writing by Goethe, plus articles about the man who is considered to be the best German writer, and one of the foremost thinkers of the Western world.
Goethes work spans literature, poetry, drama, science, theology, and humanism. Although he commenced studies in law at University, he was diverted by poetry and literature.
This medieval castle dominates the town of Malcesine, towering above the harbour.
Its quite a pleasant walk from the harbour, winding through cobbled, narrow winding streets. (follow the yellow signs).
This fortification dates back to pre-roman times, and has undergone periods of destruction and subsequent re-construction.
The Longobards and Francs used the tower for defence purposes. Following Hungarian invasion, it became part of the Verona Bishops feud.
In the 13th century, the 'Della Scala' family transformed it into a residence, living there from 1277 to 1387. The Visconti family then resided here until 1403.
From 1405 to 1797 it was part of the Serenissima (apart for the 10 years of French ownership 1506-1516)
During Austrian occupation, from 1798 to 1866 the castle became a military garrison, with much restoration and construction work being carried out.
In 1902 Scaligero Castle became a National monument.
Visitors come here for its historical and architectural interest, to visit its museums, but mainly to enjoy its location and stunning views over the Lake and Mountains.
Because of its Romantic location, the Castle is a popular place for wedding ceremonies. During my visit there was a wedding taking place. Weddings
Open April- November 09.30 - 19.30 daily
Winter - 10.00 - 17.00 Saturday, Sunday and holidays
Admission Price - sorry can't remember how much!
Reductions for Senior Citizens and Children
The Church of Saint Stephen - The Patron Saint of Malcesine, was built on the site of an ancient pagan temple which was dedicated to Isis.
The church is mentioned in documents dating back to the 9th Century
The building seen today was reconstructed in the 18th Century (1729-1739) in a neoclassical -Baroque style.
It looks quite impressive against its mountainous backdrop. It's also got quite a bit to see in its cool and airy interior.
The altars of St Benigno and St Carlo (1769)
Altar of Seven Joys - Sette Allegrezze- (1771)
A 15th Century cibarium
Paintings by Felice Boscarotti, Giuseppe Antonio Valentino and Girolamo dai Libris noted 'La Deposizione'
Outside are some impressive stone figures, displayed in niches and pillars
This is the ancient residence of the Governor "The Captain of the Lake" and the seat of the Venetian "Gardesana del ' Acqua" who were an autonomous authority for territorial control.
I'd wandered into the entrance hall and the gardens without realising the name of the place. I later realised that this was 'The Captains Palace'
I was quite impressed with the 15th century frescoes that decorate the ceiling of the tunnell like entrance hall, which I think was the Salle del Sadle, or Reunions Hall.
Dominating the fresco is the symbol of Venice - The winged lion of St Mark, standing (en passant) with its paw on an open book showing the inscription 'Pax tibi, Marce, Evangelista meus', which are the words spoken by the angel to greet Mark in his Venetian dream.
The Palace which had originally developed on the site of a Roman palace was reconstructed in the Venetian style in the 15th Century.
Its garden is a pleasant place to view the lake, its waters lap the gardens edge.
The Captains Palace is another popular place for weddings - an alternative to Castello Scaligero. The civil ceremony takes place in a room with Renaissance decoration and antique furniture, with views over the lake.
Free entrance to the Reunions Hall, Garden and library
Wandering around the Castle, there are some interesting nooks and crannies. Hidden away are some old frescoes including one of Madonna and Child. In a small yard are some old stone relics including an Etruscan tomb.
While I was there in 2007, there was an exhibition of African icons, shaped from concrete then brightly painted. They are the work of the Nigerian sculptor, Sunday Jack Akpan. At the same time as I was viewing the figures, a wedding party appeared, which was slightly surreal as the party posed for formal shots, near these life size African figures in the grounds of an old Italian castle.
Of interest to many visitors - there is a tower to climb!
Climbing the tower is done by a series of steps and staircases. It is worth the climb for the 360 degree views over Lake Garda and towards Monte Baldo and its cable car, and over the towns roofs. At the top of the tower is a large bell.
Between the Venetian Palace and Goethe Hall, in the fortress walls is this stone balcony that attracts visitors.
Although perhaps not as famous as the balcony 'down the road in Verona' where Juliet was alleged to have uttered her famous catch phrase, you might still have a wait to take in its view over the lake as its a popular place for couples to take a romantic photo.
Less romantically, this was probably an artillery platform or revelino
One of the best ways to kill a few hours at least on a visit to Malcesine is to take the funivia or cable car up to the ridge of Monte Baldo. From here there are stunning views on a clear day (be sure to check the weather forecast before planning a visit!) over the length of Lake Garda and over to the Alps and Dolomites beyond. This was the first time I've seen snow in May and it can be cold up there at anytime of year so I suggest taking several layers to keep warm, and definitely a camera to capture the fabulous views over the peaks and plateaux, and of course the blue lake. If you want to avoid the very lengthy queues for the cable car (we waited well over an hour, if not two, on a fairly quiet day!), then you may want to consider walking. The climb isn't very strenuous, a gentle ascent through Alpine meadows and scrubland full of pretty little flowers in springtime, and the sense of achievement at the end alone is worth the effort expended in the process. Also, you'll get to know the area and environment more intimately than if you were stuck in a tiny rotating box with many more English tourists. If you do take the cable car, it may be worth booking tickets in advance to skip the outside queue at least! In the summer, hikes or walks can be taken to the higher summits of Cima Valdritta and Cima delle Pozette, and in winter skiing is available over 11km of runs. Make sure that you don't leave the cable cars halfway at San Michele, unless you want to walk from here- continue with the second cable car to Tratto Spino at the top!
The best feature of the town is the cable car taking you up mount Baldo. If you're lucky to have clear weather, there is a freat view of the lake from the top. You can have a stroll up there or hike on one of the trails.
Salla delle Sedute (the reunions hall) is the most significant room in Palazzo dei Capitani del Lago. It was the place where the reunions of the Lake Captains were organized. The room is beautifully decorated with frescoes which dates from the 15th century.
Palazzo dei Capitani del Lago was the seat of the Lake Captains in the time when Lago di Garda was under the rule of Venetian Republic. This elegant palace was first built under the rule of noble Scala Family from Verona, on the site of an Roman palace. The palace was completely reconstructed in the 15th century in the Venetian style.
The imposing parish church of St.Stephen was built in the 17th century, however, its origins dates back to the era of Carolings. Nothing remaind from the old church which was dedicated to the Saints Benibno and Caro. The old church was reconstructed in the 14th century when new porticoe was added, the same as it is today. The remains of the old church were pulled down in the 18th c., and on its site was built new church which can be seen today.
go up the mountains thats all i say when you get up it speaks for itself...fantastic!! if you have the pleasure of stay in malcesine there is a lift to the top of the mountain. if you plan to go around march/april time the snow will still be there nice and white hehe. but wear suitable clothing