The L’Arco del Falconetto is the most celebrated of Este’s Renaissance monuments, attributed to Giovan Maria Falconetto around 1525. Although the purpose of this arch remains unclear, some historians suggest that it was probably constructed to create a backdrop to an open-air theatre.
Built of pietra di Nanto, which is a stone that crumbles easily, over the centuries the decorative elements of the monument have been badly damaged by weather. A recent restoration has halted the degradation and today we can still admire its beautifully crafted adornments, including two winged figures, a mascaron that serves as a keystone and four apsidal niches with shell-shaped conches that originally hosted statues.
Today, the L’Arco del Falconetto serves as a main gate to the Villa Benvenuti.