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Hidden Treadures: Rilke Promenade
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A literary stroll in the shadow of Arco Castle, following in the footsteps of the great Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who drew inspiration from these surroundings. 

In the second half of the 19th century, Arco became renowned throughout the Austro-Hungarian Empire and beyond as a “Kurort”. The healthy, windy climate, Mediterranean but not excessively hot, allowed this peripheral little town to flourish as a health resort and holiday destination for members of the House of Habsburg and the nobility of Central Europe. The most prominent figure was Archduke Albrecht of Teschen, who had a great villa built in Arco which is famous for its gardens, the Parco Arciducale, now a botanic gardens open to the public.

Thanks to its reputation as a pleasant and exclusive health resort, Arco attracted a select clientele. Illustrious visitors included the poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who as a young man towards the turn of the century stayed there on a number of occasions and wrote some of his early poems here. The trail passes a number of places which inspired him or which are mentioned in his correspondence with his friend Nora Goudstikker.

Further information and useful links
  • Rainer Maria Rilke (Prague 1875 – Montreux 1926) was an Austrian writer, poet and playwright of Bohemian birth. He is considered one of the most important poets of the 20th century in the German language.
  • One of the places which made a particular impression on him is the Eremo di San Paolo hermitage, situated on the little road leading from Prabi to Ceniga. The Hermitage, even though it is included in the classic itinerary of the "Rilke Promenade", is quite far from the other stages on the trail and so we recommend visiting it separately or as part of the itinerary “Treasures of Sacred Art in Arco”. For information about the opening hours of the Eremo di San Paolo hermitage: www.gardatrentino.it 
  •  For more information on routes and hike services: guides, shops and hiking friendly accommodation: 
    APT Garda Trentino, Tel. +39 0464 554444 www.gardatrentino.it

Route info
7,1 km
Activity time
2 h 19 min
259 m
265 m
Technical skills
Physical effort
Highest point
226 m
Lowest point
82 m
At the end of the walk, be sure to stop off in one of the bars around the Collegiata to sit and watch the comings and goings in the town centre.
Safety guidelines

The Hidden Treasures itineraries were designed in order to give visitors a chance to get to know places in Garda Trentino that are off the beaten track. For this reason, the signposting is not always in the same style and sometimes missing altogether. We therefore recommend you to take a good map with you on these excursions. And then bear in mind your general reference points: Lake Garda = South, Monte Stivo = East, Rocchetta = West, Arco Castle = North.

The telephone number for the emergency services is 112.

The information on this chart is subject to inevitable variations, so this means that none of the indications are absolute. It is not entirely possible to avoid giving inexact or imprecise information, given how quickly environmental and weather conditions can change. For this reason we decline any responsibility for changes which the user may encounter. In any case,  the hiker is advised to check the conditions of the places, environment and weather before setting out.

Punto di partenza
Arco - city center
From piazza San Giuseppe, the main entrance to the centre of Arco, take Vicolo delle Ere and begin the uphill climb to the castle promontory, passing by vegetable gardens and olive trees. In about twenty minutes you will come to Arco Castle, the unmistakable symbol of the Garda Trentino for over a thousand years (optional visit duration: about 1 hour); now head downhill through the olive grove towards Santa Maria del Laghel which takes  you along the historic Stations of the Cross. At the crossroads at the Parco Arciducale, turn onto via Lomego. At the end of this road, at the carriage turning point (“svolta delle carrozze”) above the hamlet of Chiarano, follow the road down into the town. From the church of S. Antonio, take the path going up to the ancient pillar Capitello della Regola, and keep going straight until you reach the “mills” above the hamlet of Vigne. After the brook turn left and go down into the village. From here you can go back to Arco on foot along via dei Capitelli or you can take the bus from the bus stop near the church of S. Marcello in Chiarano. 
public transportation

The towns in Garda Trentino - Riva del Garda, Torbole sul Garda, Nago and Arco – are connected by a number of urban and intercity bus lines which will take you to the starting point of the trail. For up-to-the-minute information on timetables and routes: www.gardatrentino.it

You can get back to Arco from Vigne on the number 1 bus.

How to get there

Getting to northern lake Garda / Garda Trentino: www.gardatrentino.it 

Where to park

Free parking in Caneve (5 minutes on foot from the centre of Arco).

Pay parkng Foro Boario, Via Caproni Maini (Parcheggio al Ponte), Posta (Via Monache).

This excursion is quite simple and presents no particular difficulty. However, we still recommend you to wear suitable footwear, a hat, sun screen and sunglasses. And be sure to bring water!
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