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Castell'Arquato

Description

Castell'Arquato is a beautiful medieval town, that nestles between the foothills of the Val d'Arda, along the left bank of the river itself, in the province of Piacenza. On the town's name origins there are two distinct schools of thought: some historians believe that it derives from the name of the Roman patrician "Caius Torquato", who founded here the first "castrum", while for others from "castrum quadratum", referring to the square shaped plan of the "castrum".
The first settlement, of Roman origins, was built in the II century B.C. in defense of territory from the attacks of populations from Liguria. Until 1220 it belonged to the Bishop of Piacenza, to whom succeeded the domain of several lords: the Scotti, the Visconti, the Sforza and finally to the Camera Ducale of Parma.

Sites of Interest:
- the Conservatory Villaggi, located in the upper part of the village, a building of historical interest, built starting in 1663 and completed in 1700 by captain Francesco Guarnieri, in relation to the will of the deceased uncle don Francisco Villaggi, who bequeathed all his possessions. From an initial cloistered convent, the complex, once known as the "of the Luigine", became the conservatory and a boarding school for girls of the Val d'Arda;
- the Church of the Holy Trinity, now in disuse, was built in 1770. The façade is divided horizontally into two parts: the lower divided by four pilasters and the higher one by two pilasters and a central window;
- the Church of San Pietro, built in 1594, with a gabled façade flanked by two pilasters and a brick front, divided horizontally by a series of brick arches;
- the XI century small Church of Santo Stefano, rebuilt in the XVIII century. Flanked by a Bell Tower, divided into four levels and topped by a turret opened by round arches with an octagonal belfry;
- the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta, originally built in 758 and rebuilt in 1117, it features a façade divided into three parts by strong buttresses. The interior is simple and austere, completed by three beautiful apses;
- the Visconti Castle, built in 1342 by the noble Luchino Visconti on the foundations of a pre-existing Roman "castrum quadratum". The building has not, fortunately, submitted renovations and was never converted into a manor, keeping its military forms. Currently, the tower houses the Museum of Medieval Life;
- the Tower of the Duke, also known as Farnesiano, with simple and austere characteristics and stands at the bottom of the village. It features a square plan and is 24 meters high, unknown are the architect and the exact date of construction;
- Palazzo del Duca, the residence of Alessandro Sforza, Duke of Segni, during the first half of the XVII century. The original structure was built by Albert Scoto in 1292 as a building of justice;
- the Palazzo del Podestà, built in 1293 by Alberto Scoto. This is a very complex structure, composed of several architectural volumes in terracotta, which radiate from a single large block of three storeys high, which is the XIII century part of the building, reinforced with battlements.

Map

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