The strategic importance of Lake Garda can be seen today in the numerous castles that are in the region. These offer a powerful look back in time, and provide a glimpse into the culture of the medieval world.

The Castello Di Arco, which stands on top of a rock dominating the plain of the Sarca River, features Roman style architecture. Parts of the castle predate the year 1000 AD, and it became the home of the d'Arco family during the 12th century.

Located about 50 miles north of Verona, the region is a unique mix of palm trees and snow-covered peaks! Today a picturesque castle, Arco was actually the site of a siege in 1703 and suffered severe damage at the hands of French invaders. The castle was bought by the Municipality of Arco in 1982 and restored by the Autonomous Province of Trento. Today the castle is open to the public and provides spectacular views of the region.

Dominating the Sarca Valley and Cavedine Valley is Drena Castle, which was a central cause of disputes among the local ruling family and Northern Italian princes. Acquired in the Middle Ages by the Sejano family, the d’Arco family soon captured the fortress. Through the centuries the castle was destroyed, only over the course of 300 years was it finally restored.

Another former d’Arco family estate in the region is the Guaita Castle, which was built in the 13th century and served as a guard-post for the nearby villages. During the 15th century the surrounding land was reclaimed from the Sarca River allowing villages to be created and the land to be cultivated.Today the castle can be visited year round, and guided tours are available.

Not much remains of the medieval fortress of Penede Castle, which was first mentioned in 1210. The castle was captured by the Scaligeri family in the Middle Ages then returned to the d'Arco family in the 15th century. It changed hands again several times until finally given back to the d'Arcos from 1614. It was destroyed by forces of the Duke of Savoy in 1703. Today the castle can be reached by various wooded paths and, while only ruins remain, the grandeur of Penede Castle remains.