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:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.