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The Captain's Palace of Malcesine

The National Monument of Malcesine overlooking Lake Garda

Seasons

The Captain's Palace is a historic building constructed by the Scaliger and reconstructed with a Venetian Gothic style in the XV century.

This ancient residence of the Scaliger and of the Captain of the Lake was declared National Monument in 1902.

Short history

The Palace was built by the Scaliger between the XIII and the XIV century over Roman and Romanesque ruins. After being damaged, probably by an earthquake or a fire, it became the property of Francesco Mercanti from Verona. On 18th December 1473 his sons sold it to Alessandro Miniscalchi. The bill of sale, dating back to 1477, reveals that the building was already been reconstructed with a Venetian style and sumptuously decorated.

In 1618 the town of Verona, at the request of the Republic of Venice, bought the Palace which became the residence of the Capitain of the Lake. In that period, many refurbishment works were carried out.

On 20th March 1854 the Town of Verona rent it to the Town of Malcesine which became the only owner in 1897.

The Palace was declared National Monument in 1902.

The restoration

The first restoration works date back to 1985 and focused on the roof and on the last floor which today hosts the Public Town Library.

Thanks to the contribution of the Venetian Region and of the Institute of the Venetian Villa, the restoration works in the first and in the ground floor started in 2007, following a project realized by the architect Libero Cecchini. These works mainly concern the restoration of mural paintings, the static consolidation, the redevelopment of the rooms near Corso Garibaldi and the reconstruction of the hydraulic and the electrical system.

When the works finally ended, the Captain's Palace regained its ancient splendour.

The ground floor

Once you come in, after a few steps, you can find a large hall whose ceiling presents a fresco of the emblem of the Gardesana dell'Acqua (the fortress of Malcesine and the Lion of Saint Mark), the emblem of the town of Verona and the emblem of Ludovico Giusti, the Captain of the Lake. On the northern wall, a commemorative plaque is placed to remember the value of the Captain Domenico Becelli, who preserved the coast from the assaults during the war of the Spanish succession in the early years of the 18th century.

The rooms situated in the two sides of the hall were used as an office for the guards, the secretaries, but also as a warehouse or a stable.

The garden

From the gate situated on the eastern wall, you can have access the garden on the lake shore which was used as a dock for the "ganzarina" the Captain's boat.

The first floor

From the entrance hall, going up on a steep stony stair, you get to the "piano nobile" (the principal floor). Turning left, there's a hall with some large Venetian windows and a small balcony overlooking the lake.

The coffered ceiling is decorated with leaves and flowers alternating with the emblems of the Miniscalchi and the Lodron, a family from Trento related to the Miniscalchi.

Under the beams there's a cornice decorated with masks, little angels, sea horses and birds.

The hall door is made of a local dark stone finely decorated with the low relief technique.

The architrave shows the motto: "Stat sine morte decus" (Magnificence is never missing). In the arch above, it is possible to read a sentence written in Latin and probably decorated in 1618: "In 1618 the town of Verona buys and assigns this building to the Captains of Lake Benaco."

The door on the northern side leads to the area which used to be a waiting room for the audience the Captain held in the hall. From the small hall, it was possible to reach the rooms the Captain used during his stay or the chapel consecrated to Saint Zenone.

The second floor

From the hall in the middle, a stony stair leads you to the servants' and the chaplain's rooms in the upper floor.

Opening hours and contacts

The Captain's Palace is located in via Capitanato, next to the port of Malcesine.
Only the ground floor and the garden are open to the public.
The first floor is open only during concerts, conferences or wedding ceremonies.
It is open every day and admission is free of charge.