Arcola is a small, charming town perched on top of the hills separating the Gulf of La Spezia and the Magra valley offering stunning panoramas of the Apuane Alps. In the 11th century Arcola became an important center for the feudal Obertenghi family who built on top of the hill a castle - Castello degli Obertenghi, of which only its tall pentagonal tower remains.
The castle itself had a rich history and had an important naval function in the western Marca Ligure. In 1128 the castle became the property of the monastery of San Venerio del Tino. During the thirteenth century the town was the center of the various attempts of the family domain Malaspina and the castle was besieged and captured by Captain Oberto Doria, Captain of the Republic of Genoa. Various events then led to the occupation of the castle by Castruccio Castracani (1320), and after by Niccolò Piccinino (1430). In 1494, the castle was return to the possession of the Genovese Repiblic. Partially destroyed during the Italian campaign of Napoleon, the castle was restored in 1884 by Eng. Canini and became the home to the town hall.
The imposing pentagonal tower built adjacent to the castle is hard to miss in the landscape of the town. Nowadays, it has been declared a national monument and is opened to visitors. It stands at 25 meters high with a perimeter of the same size. The tower was the focal point of the defence system of the castle. It was purposefully built in the most vulnerable to attack part. Positioned as a bastion on one side it had its corner stretched menacingly in the direction of possible attackers coming from porta Sovrana while on the other it was equipped with embrasures, affording the ability to defend the two side entrances.References:
The city walls of Avila were built in the 11th century to protect the citizens from the Moors. They have been well maintained throughout the centuries and are now a major tourist attraction as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can walk around about half of the length of the walls.
The layout of the city is an even quadrilateral with a perimeter of 2,516 m. Its walls, which consist in part of stones already used in earlier constructions, have an average thickness of 3 m. Access to the city is afforded by nine gates of different periods; twin 20 m high towers, linked by a semi-circular arch, flank the oldest ones, Puerta de San Vicente and Puerta del Alcázar.