´╗┐The first historical information recorded dates from 500 B.C. and refers to fixed and organised settlements of populations of Etruscan origin and other more or less permanent populations, which came under the dominion of Rome after 15 B.C., following Tiberius' the defeat of the Rhaetians. With the fall of the Roman Empire, Ostrogoths, Alemannians and in 568 the Lombards, followed by the Franks and Hungarians, succeeded each other in dominating vast territories in northern Italy, culminating the phase of barbarian invasions.

An initial primitive edification of the fortress by the Lombards seems to date from around halfway through the first millennium. It was later destroyed (590 A.D.) and rebuilt by the Franks; there is documented testimony of the presence in the castle of king Pippin, the son of Charlemagne, in 806. From 1277 until 1387 the territory was ruled by the 'Della Scala' family, who modernised and reinforced the fortress, which was then defined as the 'Scaliger Castle' and was later passed on to the Visconti of Milan (1387-1403).

The Republic of Venice then governed Malcesine wisely from 1405 until 1797, with the exclusion of several brief periods - the Imperials from 1506 to 1516 and the French, from 1797 to 1798. The Venetians instituted an autonomous authority for territorial control known as the 'Gardesana dell'Acqua', headed by a Captain appointed in Venice who resided in the Palace of Captains. From 1798 until 1866, when the Veneto Region became part of the Reign of Italy, the Austrians, in addition to reordering many sectors of social and administrative life in the territories governed by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, carried out important works to consolidate, modify and enlarge the interior of the Castle, transforming it into a military garrison.