Sunday, March 4, 2007

Ride to medieval Castellaro Lagusello

The Saturday club ride departed Verona for Castellaro Lagusello in the Comune di Monzambano, Mantova. Castelalro Lagusello is a well preserved medieval village founded between 1100 and 1200.

".......enter a whole other dimension, peaceful and bucolic....the fortified village of Castellaro, which is mirrored in its heart-shaped lake, was first forgotten (thus we must give our thanks to the power of oblivion) and then – when people noticed that this corner of the Garda morainic amphitheater had miraculously escaped the plague of surveyors – it received tender loving care from the local council.
Thus the old Guelf walls, the streets paved with river stones, the exposed stone walls of the rectory and of the houses were saved: such as the house covered with climbing plants, opposite Villa Arrighi-Tacoli, which one would never tire of looking at, because it has remained intact since the 13th century.But let us proceed with order. One enters the small village from the north through a wide gate, which until the 1700s also had a drawbridge. A tall square tower, called the Clock Tower, rises above the gate to protect it.
Venturing further among the rustic houses, one soon comes to the Baroque church of San Nicola, which holds a wooden Madonna from the 1400s.
Following the tiny side streets, filled with a forgotten silence broken only by the scratching of chickens in the courtyards, one reaches the small square where stands the 19th-century Villa Arrighi (today owned by the Tacoli counts and open to visitors only by request), which incorporates a fort with defense walls with Guelf battlements and mullioned windows, from which there is a beautiful view of the lake and the surrounding countryside.
The villa is a transformation of the former feudal castle, and it incorporates the small church of San Giuseppe, which was completed in 1737 and holds a number of paintings from the 1600s. The church opens onto the square, from which one reaches the lake shore by going down a brief stairway. The wooden boats moored near the shore add to the idyllic enchantment of this place.
The view of the village from the south is also admirable, with the city walls from the 11th century (from the same period as the old castle and once including nine towers), the lake adorned with ditch reeds, and the luxuriant nature all around."

It was an enjoyable morning ride of 55 miles on quiet roads.
Photo: riding into Castellaro Lagusello.

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