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Hidden Treasures - Itinerary Dürer Promenade

The Dürer itinerary follows a few pathways that, starting from the center of Arco reconstruct what must have been the route taken by the German painter at the end of the XV century (1495), when he spent some time in the locality and painted the famous watercolor painting of the castle of Arco surrounded by the village (currently in the Louvre). Dürer's visit in Arco took place during the blooming of the Renaissance, when Nicolò d'Arco and Jacopo Vargnano marked a particularly happy moment in the culture of Trentino, and especially of Arco.The path we invite you to walk is presented with a few texts, mostly from Dürer's time, that can give an idea of the pleasure and the amazement with which the German traveler entered the land of the Mediterranean sun, and what he saw or could have seen while wandering through the fields around the town, looking for the best view to immortalize in his painting. 


Start: Piazza 3 Novembre, Arco
End: Santuario Madonna delle Grazie, Varignano (Arco)
Length: 6 km
Duration: 3 h
Elevation difference: 50/60 m.
Difficulty: Medium
Notes: Return from Varignano to Arco also possible with bus Line 1.

1 Piazza Tre Novembre

“Arco's reason to exist is quite eye catching. It is the same reason why swallows build their nest safely under the eaves, so deeply natural a reason that other historical circumstances result of secondary importance. The words of the scholars that emerge from Lombard, Roman, Etruscan documents, are like the chirping of crickets in the manic summer reality. The basin of Arco is solemn and maternal as a womb.  (…) The same physical wellness that Arco offers to its guests seems to stem not from the miraculous climate, but from the daily possibility of aesthetic surprises, from the daily experience of clear beauty. It doesn't surprise, when one considers such eurythmics of the landscape, that the apogee of humanist in Trentino bloomed especially in Arco, in the 16th century circles of Nicolò d'Arco, the chief Latin poet of the region. Arco would have been, in a kind of cosmic predestination, a sort of Magna Grecia of Trentino, open to an aesthetic happiness which here is one thing with the happiness of life. As testimonies of such happiness public monuments of evocative beauty remain, like the Collegiata church of the XVII century, in Palladian style, the Counts' palaces with frescoes of the 15th century, the ruins of the old castle, dominant on the entire valley.”
(Beppino Zoppirolli)

The ancient Collegiata church still stood on the square of Arco, at the end of the XV century, later destroyed to make place for a new construction by Giovanni Maria Filippi, also strongly wanted by the Count of Arco Giovanni Vincenzo, which still stands there nowadays. The buildings and the fountain surely did not look like they do today, due to restorations and new constructions over the years. We know from the Venetian Marin Sanuto that around 1480 the Count of Arco Francesco built for himself and his family the Palazzo Nuovo, now called Palazzo Marcabruni-Giuliani: the structure and particularly the facade have been reconstructed during the XVII century, but we also know that the old palace had a porch, open to the citizens for public councils and meetings. 
2 Monte di Pietà

“Rainbow, gem of the sky, messenger of the gods,
you who spread in the sunset your thousands colors
be kind and generous with the people of Arco
and may this land always flourish under your protection”
Nicolò d'Arco “Iri” early XVI century.

The pawnbroker's (Monte di Pietà) is marked by the belfry on one of the buildings of via Monte Santo: the tower testifies the public role of the building underneath, which was used as a bank where one could get loans with good interests rates, which could relieve the people of Arco from the slavery of loan sharks and improve their prospects. The bank was created by the counts of Arco for this very purpose: in addition of guaranteeing stable [tax] revenue to the counts themselves, it also had the function of keeping the price of loans down and offering a controlled credit possibility to those who needed one. It is interesting seeing how Nicolo d'Arco in the poem asks the rainbow to protect Arco and its prosperity and well being. 
3 Stranforio

“...the joy of this company will be fascinating for you
and the love for the arts, dear to the sky. 
Come to drink, joke, write, sing with us, 
come and hide in the heart of the land of Arco”
Nicolo d'Arco “Ad Vargnanum” beginning of the XVIth century. 

At the foot of the castle, towards the west, the oldest quarter of Arco is found, the least modified by the years, which has always been home to the lower classes of Arco. Walking through the streets, recently restored with a nice paving in the shape of the typical river pebble road, very common around the city, it's easy to feel the medieval flair of the quarter, made of narrow and curvy streets, with houses made of stone standing one next to the other, and characterized by typical farmhouse entrance vaults. 
4 Via Crucis of Laghel

“When, densely laden with
fruits, fall emerges in the countryside
burdening with golden grapes the wines
already pale,
inside a lightly woven
basket my present
I will give you, modest but from
a sincere heart.”
Jacopo Vargnano – Nido – early XVI century 

On the road up to Laghel an evocative an evocative Way of the Cross (Via Crucis) can be found since the late XIX century. It leads up through to the olive trees to the Sanctuary at Laghel. Previously, a different road existed in the same place – which is still called via Capitelli – where a number of shrines were placed on the side of the road: during the building spur at the end of the 1800s and particularly the construction of the many villas with private gardens for the guests of the Kurort, like the wonderful villa of the archduke Albert of Hapsburg-Lorraine, the street completely changed look and the shrines were all demolished. They repair some do the damage, later these new shrines were built, which number fourteen stations of the Way of the Cross, ending above the Madonna di Laghel Sanctuary with a reconstruction of mount Calvary. Still today, during the Holy Week, a procession of the faithful takes place during the celebration of the via Crucis on this path. The current Sanctuary was built in the 18th century, on the location of an existing ancient shrine which stood on the road that, alternative to the one in the valley, led north to the towns of Dro and Ceniga. 
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