Castle of Arcano Superiore

Among one of the oldest and most fascinating in Friuli Venezia Giulia

by Lavinia Colonna Preti
Castle of Arcano Superiore — Friuli Venezia Giulia Secrets

Near Udine, the Castle of Arcano Superiore, one of the oldest, most beautiful and best preserved in Friuli Venezia Giulia, is one of the few in the world that does not need to invent mysterious legends, as a curious "historic thriller", here, has truly happened.

Its history begins in 1161 when Leonardo di Corno, a member of the Croatian royal family and coming from the Bavarian city of Passau, was granted land by the German emperor where he built what is now identified as the Castle of Arcano Inferiore (later destroyed in around 1350).

One of the two sons, Ropretto known as “di Tercano” (so called for the three black dogs – tre cani in Italian – placed in the coat of arms) built another fortress ‘on higher and safer banks’, thus giving life to the Castle of Arcano Superiore, so called after the passage of the family name first in Tricano and later in Arcano.

Castle of Arcano Superiore — Friuli Venezia Giulia Secrets
Castle of Arcano Superiore — Friuli Venezia Giulia Secrets

We decided to leave all the medieval charm of the castle unchanged, kept intact by the noble d’Arcano family who lived there continuously for several centuries.

(family Taverna Todesco, current owners)

The current building retains all the magic of medieval manors with crenelated walls, a mighty keep and a shielded tower, the only entrance to the castle, where the drawbridge was once located.

Entering through the thick walls, it is easy to let yourself be carried away by the suggestions and imagine the nobles on horseback crossing the avenue illuminated by the light of the torches and going towards the ballroom. In fact, leaving the beautiful orangery building on the right, to the left you go up inside the castle, where the thrill of admiring its perfectly preserved rooms awaits us, as if the knights had just got up from the table.

Castle of Arcano Superiore — Friuli Venezia Giulia Secrets
Castle of Arcano Superiore — Friuli Venezia Giulia Secrets

First we meet the dining room, completely frescoed by Andrea Urbani between 1760 and 1765 with hunting scenes and references to the classical arts (really stupendous for organizing charming dinners), while going up the party hall awaits us, furnished with a long rectangular table, an enormous fireplace with the Arcano coat of arms and, on the walls, the portraits of Count Francesco d’Arcano and his wife Todeschina Di Prampero.

For centuries, it has been said that Francesco married her in 1634, already his brother’s widow, to confiscate her rich dowry and that, following a quarrel, he stabbed her and hid the body behind the wall of a room in the Castle. What had always been handed down as a legend, was proved terrible reality when the d’Arcano family, during the renovation works following the damage caused by the First World War, found the remains of a woman right behind a wall that, for shape of the clothes and other characteristics, proved to be Todeschina.

Castle of Arcano Superiore — Friuli Venezia Giulia Secrets

If you want to know more, you can ask the current owners of the Castle, the Taverna Tedesco family, who bought the property in 1961 and who still continue today their mission of enhancing and protecting the history of this wonderful place.

Whether for an event, a holiday, or to book a guided tour, there are so many other fascinating elements of the walled complex that are waiting for you: from the miraculous little church, to the belvedere from which you can enjoy a wonderful view of San Daniele del Friuli, up to the organic farm Arcania, located just before the entrance tower, where excellent organic wine, oil, apple juice and honey are produced.

Castle of Arcano Superiore — Friuli Venezia Giulia Secrets

Follow the Castle’s social networks so as not to miss the many events that are organized there, such as Renaissance dinners, the Botteghe in Corte markets, historical re-enactments, as well as parties of all kinds.

Yes, you may be wondering about the ghost…it’s up to you to look the portrait of Todeschina in the eye and make an opinion for yourself.

The Secret

The story of Todeschina is not the only historical anecdote of the Castle. Next to the entrance is the small church dedicated to the Madonna della Neve (Sancta Maria ad Nives, meaning “The Snow Virgin”) on which snow miraculously fell centuries ago on August 5th.

Useful Info

Castello di Arcano Superiore
Località Arcano Superiore 11/C
33030 Rive D’arcano, Udine
Tel. +39 393 1883522

Visits to the Castle by reservation.

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