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 Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.