Situated on a rocky spur jutting out of the lake, access to the castle is through the so-called “seresina” gate. It was built on three successive levels, and each level is linked by draw-bridges and ladders.
From the third court-yard you can admire the 30m high battlemented keep. At the top of the keep you gain access to the “specola”, a vantage point from which you can admire much of the lake.
The castle houses a museum whose three halls are dedicated to various aspects of life around Mount Baldo; don’t miss the Mount Baldo museum, the Garda Museum and the original sketches drawn by Goethe on his visit to Malcesine in 1786.
“castle of Malcesine”
Malcesine’s most prominent landmark is the Castello Scaligero, which has 13th-century fortifications and an older medieval tower in white natural stone. Like the castle of Sirmione at the southern end of the lake, it is named for the della Scala family of Verona who ruled the region in the 13th and 14th centuries, and has the characteristic swallow-tail Ghibelline merlon crenallations. Remnants of an Etruscan tomb have been found within the castle walls. Most of the structures visible today date to the period of the della Scala. The bell of the castle was cast in 1442 and it is still in service.
In September 1786, Johann Wolfgang Goethe was questioned by the local magistrate on suspicion of being an Austrian spy after drawing sketches of the castle, and recalled the incident in his published travel report Italienische Reise (Italian Journey).During the period of Austrian rule, which ended in 1866 after the Third Italian War of Independence, major renovation work took place inside the castle. The Austrians turned it into a military garrison and the munition store they constructed was later used by the Guardia di Finanza of the Kingdom of Italy as a prison.Since 1902, the castle has been a national monument.
Today, the castle contains a small museum on the natural history of Lake Garda (Museo del Garda) and Monte Baldo (Museo del Baldo). One room in the Austrian powder magazine is dedicated to Goethe and his visit.
“Palazzo dei Capitani“
Located on the lake shore is the Palazzo dei Capitani. It was constructed by the Scala family between the 13th and 14th centuries on older Roman and Romanesque remains. After being reduced to a simple shell, possibly in an earthquake or by a fire, the building became the property of Francesco Mercanti, from Verona and he passed it on to his heirs. On 18 December 1473, it was sold to Alessandro Miniscalchi. By 1477, the building was already remodelled in the Venetian style. In 1618, Verona purchased the building on the behest of the Republic of Venice for use as the residence of the official called Capitano del Lago. Various further remodelling work followed. The Capitano was the head of the Gardesana dell’Acqua, a regional autonomous territory under Venetian rule.
On 20 March 1854, the comune of Verona effectively ceded the property to the comune of Malcesine and in 1897, Malcesine became the sole owner. It has been a national monument since 1902.Today, it is used for exhibitions and events and also houses the public library.