Castello di Arcano

Loc. Arcano Superiore, 11/C - 33030 Rive d'Arcano - Udine   see map - Contact
The Castle of Arcano is a complex dating back to the twelfth century located in the locality of the same name, in the town of Rive d'Arcano, in the province of Udine. The Castle belonged for centuries to the illustrious noble family of the d'Arcano, whose splendor began with Leandro de Cornu (1161), owner of a castle near the waterway of the same name near San Daniele del Friuli. The son Ropretto (1167-1211) gave origin to the Tricano (from which Arcano), so called in the Middle Ages for the three black dogs placed in the family crest. They were also lords of Moruzzo (then extinct) and, with the Asquini Counts, consignori of Fagagna.

Castello di Arcano History

It all began in 1161, when the emperor Otto II granted to a certain Leonardo, coming from Passau (Bavaria) and belonging to the royal family of Croatia, several hectares of land that extended from the Pieli bridge to the valley of the present inhabited area. of Arcano Inferiore.
Leonardo built his castle where today is the church of San Mauro, on the banks of the river Corno, which exploited for fishing; it was called "Leonardo di Corno" and adopted as a coat of arms the one of Croatia, that is the shield with the white and red chessboard.
The castle was damaged several times due to the invasion of the Hungarians, but despite everything, one of the two sons of Leonardo, Bertoldo, continued to live there with the name of Bertoldo di Corno.
Instead the other son, Ropretto, built his fortified residence in a higher and strategically safer site, that is the present castle, and took the name of Ropretto di Tercano, then of Tricano, adding to the family crest three dogs (greyhounds) symbol of loyalty to the Patriarch, the Pope and the Emperor.
The fidelity to the Patriarch, however, was not always such: the family took part in the conspiracy against the Patriarch Bertrand, who was killed in 1350 in the Richinvelda plain, and to avenge the Patriarch Nicholas of Luxembourg completely destroyed the residences of all the conspirators, among which that of Bertoldo di Corno. Thus remained only one castle, the "di Sopra" one.

The only entrance is the shielded tower in front of which, once, there was a moat of water that was crossed thanks to a drawbridge.
The castle is surrounded by three orders of walls with square merlons, or "Guelfi", which underline the pro-papal orientation of the Arcanum (differentiating from the castles with dovetail merlons, ie "Ghibellines", which identify a imperial).
As soon as you cross the gate tower, a small road on the right leads to the courtyard behind the building, from which you can admire the entire valley up to the Corno stream, which served as the border between the territories of the Arcano and those of San Daniele del Friuli. Once, scattered through the valley, you could also see the mills, the battiferro and other artisan shops owned by the Arcano, which were fed by the driving force of the Corno torrent.

Returning to the entrance of the tower, we find the small church dedicated to Our Lady of the Snow (Sancta Maria ad Nives), because according to tradition on 5 August miraculously the snow fell on the hills of Arcano. Inside, on the left, there is a valuable baptistery from 1541, by Pilacorte, while in the center of the apse there is the white Carrara marble altar surmounted by the statues of the two Patriarchs of Aquileia, Beato Bertrando and San Paolino.

A legend of the castle says that the Countess Todeschina di Prampero was killed here, married in 1634 by Francesco d'Arcano, but already widowed by his brother. Francesco, who never knew his father, was dismissed from his family because he killed a cousin of Agricola in a dispute, guilty of having married his mother, Anna di Strassoldo, taking away his inheritance. Even Todeschina was never loved in the family because of its rebellious and violent character.
In fact, just because of their bad temper, the marriage lasted very little: during a fight, perhaps triggered by a strong jealousy, Francesco ended up stabbing his wife, who before dying would write with his own blood his initials "TP" , remained clearly visible until before the earthquake of 1976. It is said that he had written with his own blood also the date "1635" that up to about sixty years ago appeared above the door jamb that leads from this room to the dining room ( then had it canceled by Countess Elena d'Arcano).

After killing her, Francesco decided to hide the corpse by walling it in a wall of the castle, and to avoid losing the dowry of his now lost wife, he decided to spend it on the last penny in costly interventions for the castle, such as the precious marble finishing of the upstairs doors.

Inside there are eighteenth century frescoes by the Venetian Andrea Urbani, with bucolic and rustic themes. One of these frescoes sympathetically remembers a servant, depicted standing and in livery, accompanied by a laconic but very ironic inscription: "Angelo Candussio faithfully served drank terribly." Born 1730 ". Some paintings representing members of the Arcano family complete the decoration.

The Castle therefore lends itself to hosting events, meetings, weddings with a maximum capacity in the covered areas of about one hundred people. Further spaces are located in the inner courtyard if suitably equipped with gazebos and / or tents.

The green spaces inside the first order of walls lend themselves to the organization of events such as concerts or parades, possibly assisted by a closed room of about 60 m giving every occasion a frame of unsurpassed prestige.

Every year, in July, the castle hosts an evocative historical re-enactment, while wine lovers will find a winery in the village.

Castello di Arcano

Time period
  • Middle Ages
  • Italy, Udine
Historical figures
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Castello di Arcano
  Loc. Arcano Superiore, 11/C - 33030 Rive d'Arcano
  +39 0432 288588

Castello di Arcano
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