Discover Padua and its surroundings.

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Discover Padua and its surroundings.

2647_05_C415_PADOVA_GB 17-05-2006 10:36 Pagina A

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Galleria Pedrocchi

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Piazza del Santo

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Abano Terme

Via P. d'Abano, 18

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Mon-Sat 8.30-13.00 / 14.30-19.00

Sun 10.00-13.00 / 15.00-18.00

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Viale Stazione, 60

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Travelling to Padua:

By Air: Venice, Marco Polo Airport (approx. 60 km. away)

By Rail: Padua Train Station

By Road: Motorway A13 Padua-Bologna: exit Padua Sud-Terme Euganee.

Motorway A4 Venice-Milano: exit Padua Ovest, Padua Est

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Montagnana

Castel S. Zeno

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Teolo

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Discover

Padua and its

surroundings.

Provincia

di Padova

Parco Regionale

dei Colli Euganei

© Photos: Archivio Turismo Padova Terme Euganee, Consorzio Pro Loco del Cittadellese, Consorzio Terme Euganee, Consorzio Battellieri Padova, F. e M. Danesin,

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July 2006


2647_05_C415_PADOVA_GB 17-05-2006 10:36 Pagina 2

Discover Padua and its province.

A land of History,

Art, Spas and Nature.

Padua is one of the most charming and dynamic cities

in Italy. The city centre boasts a wealth of fine medieval,

renaissance and modern architecture; here a fascinating mix

of historic and new, of centuries-old traditions combined

with metropolitan rhythms creates a unique atmosphere.

The medieval palaces, churches and cobbled streets emanate

a sense of history and culture, the shops, markets

and locals, a sparkling vitality and vibrant modern life.

Palazzo Bo, Old Courtyard

Below, Prato della Valle and Basilica of St. Giustina

Old map of Padua

The province of Padua has a vast cultural and artistic

heritage and great natural assets. One has only to think

of the Euganean Hills’ rich flora and history, of the countless

villas and castles scattered all over the area, of the medieval

walled towns, of the world famous Euganean spas, of the

medieval monasteries and abbeys, of the old farm houses

surrounded by wide expanses of fields, of the network of

rivers, streams and canals leading to the Venetian lagoon,

a portion of which belongs to the province of Padua.

3000 years of history.

“Antenor, from the midst of Grecian hosts,

Could pass secure, and pierce th' Illyrian coasts,

Where, rolling down the steep, Timavus raves

And thro' nine channels disembogues his waves.

At length he founded Padua's happy seat,

And gave his Trojans a secure retreat;

There fix'd their arms, and there renew'd their name,

And there in quiet rules, and crown'd with fame.”

Virgil, Aeneid, I, 242-249

The Greek poet Virgil celebrates with these verses the legend

that speaks of Antenor as the mythical founder of Padua. The

historical Padua was actually founded over 3000 years ago,

during the Paleoveneti age, when the old Veneti people were

famous thanks to their excellent breed of horses. In the year 45

b.C. the town became a Roman Municipium. Thanks to thriving

commerce, fruitful land and abundance of waterways, Patavium

was one of the most important and powerful centres of the

Roman Empire. During the Barbarian invasions the town was

razed to the ground by command of Langobard king Agilulf

(601 A.D.) It was only after the year 1000 that Padua registered

an important growth in wealth and power, and new imposing

religious and civil buildings, such as the Cathedral, the

Commune Palaces, towers and defensive walls were built. The

13th and the 14 th century marked a period of extraordinary

economic and cultural liveliness and ardour, which left great

evidences in town: the medioaeval walls, the foundation of the

University, the Ragione Palace, the Basilica of st. Anthony and

many others. The Trecento, historically characterized by the

ruling of the Seigneury of the Da Carrara family, is considered

Padua Golden Age: the art panorama was dominated by Giotto

and his followers and the city was the most important centre

of artistic production in medieval Europe. In 1405 the

Da Carrara Seigneury terminated and Padua passed under

Venetian rule. Venice fortified Padua with new walls, increased

the power of the University, and the venetian nobility invested

their capitals on the paduan land, where beautiful villas

were erected. The decadence of the Serenissima (1797) and the

upcoming of the Napoleonic imperialism put an end to one

of the most extraordinary historical, artistical and cultural ages

of Europe. The French and the Austrian dominations, and

the two World Wars produced a long period of economic and

cultural standstill, from which Padua, as the rest of Veneto,

recovered with a new and reinforced conscioussness starting

from the second half of the 20 th century. Today Padua is one

of the main economic centres of Veneto and of Italy,

an important motorway, railway and waterway junction, which

connects Italy with the rest of Europe, and last but not least

a beautiful city of art and culture.

Piazza delle Erbe


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The classic itinerary.

Over three thousand years of history have left a wealth of

historical buildings and places. Combining the old and the

modern, great art and beautiful artifacts, the city centre is

full of surprises.

The classic itinerary touches three areas, which enclose the

symbols of Padua history.

The Museum Complex

around the Roman Arena.

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The medieval heart.

The historic centre of Padua is dominated by the imposing

Palazzo della Ragione, which was built in the year 1218

to host the court of justice on the upper floor, and various

shops on the ground floor. The vast hall, called il Salone

(the great Hall), is one of the largest medieval hanging halls

of the world and its walls are covered by 15 th c. paintings

depicting the zodiac and the astrological theories of Pietro

d’Abano, one of the greatest medieval scientists. The three

squares surrounding the palace - Piazza delle Erbe, Piazza

della Frutta and Piazza dei Signori - are the site of Padua’s

daily market, which has been taking place here for more

than 800 years. The squares are lined by bars, restaurants,

shops and historical buildings.

Piazza dei Signori is a gentle Renaissance square closed

westwards by the white façade of the Capitanio Palace

and the beautiful Clock Tower. Closeby is Padua’s Cathedral,

a 16 th century building which keeps one of the delights

of the town: a Romanesque baptistery with 14 th century

frescoes by Giusto de Menabuoi.

The adjacent Bishop Palace Museum displays precious works

of art, including paintings, manuscripts, jewellery, sculptures,

and allows visitors to admire the magnificent Bishops Hall.

From here, following the suggestive narrow streets of the old

ghetto, the itinerary leads back to the area of the City Hall

(16 th c.). The palace faces Palazzo Bo, the historical seat

of Padua University, and is closed northwards by the Caffè

Pedrocchi (1831), one of the most famous historical cafès

in Italy and prestigious venue for cultural events.

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Basilica of St. Anthony

and Prato della Valle.

The third great monumental area develops around St.

Anthony’s Basilica, locally simply called Il Santo, which holds

the mortal remains of Saint Anthony. The great sanctuary, a

real shrine of art and devotion, is surrounded by an impressive

number of monuments: the equestrian statue of Gattamelata

by Donatello, St. George’s Oratory, the Scuola del Santo with

Titian frescoes, the Antonian Museum and the Renaissance

complex of Loggia and Odeo Cornaro. A short distance away

you can visit the University Botanical Garden, one of oldest

in the world. A little to the south sprawls the Prato della Valle,

one of the largest town squares in Europe, surrounded by the

waters of the Alicorno canal and decorated by a double order

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of statues. The square is lined by ancient palaces and churches.

On the northern side is Palazzo Angeli which hosts

the delightful Museum of the Magic Lantern and Pre Cinema.

On the opposite side is the 16 th century Basilica di Santa

Giustina, which keeps the mortal remains of saints and martyrs

of Christianity: St. Giustina, one of the first Christian martyrs,

St. Luke the Evangelist, St. Mattia, and many others.

4 Donatello’s monument to Gattamelata

5 View of Padua, the domes

of the Basilica of St. Anthony

6 Prato della Valle, antiques market

7 Basilica of St. Anthony,

Donatello’s altar

Below, view of Padua,

Palazzo della Ragione

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Around the Roman Arena (1 st c. AD) and the adjacent

Eremitani Square is a concentrated true museum complex.

The most outstanding monument is the Scrovegni Chapel,

which was magnificently decorated by Giotto at the beginning

of the 14 th century, and is universally considered one of the

greatest art masterpieces of all time. In the nearby Eremitani

Museum the history of Padua is narrated through pre-Roman,

Roman and Etruscan archaeological findings and rich art

collections, which are housed in the peaceful rooms and

cloisters of the former Hermits monastery. The adjacent

Eremitani Church keeps 14 th century frescoes and the famous

remains of the Ovetari Chapel decorated

by Mantegna’s frescoes.

The museum complex

is completed by the 3

Museum of Applied

and Decorative Arts

and the Bottacin

Collection at Palazzo

Zuckermann

and the University

Scientific Museums,

which are housed inside

Palazzo Cavalli.

1 Scrovegni Chapel

2 Caffè Pedrocchi

3 Basilica of St. Giustina, Madonna and Child

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Padua: City of frescoes.

Padua keeps kilometres of frescoed walls, where light and

colour give life to extraordinary illustrated stories.

It was Giotto, in the first years of the Trecento, to give

impulse to fresco decoration, narrative painting

and monumental cycles.

Throughout the century

all the most important

monuments of the town

were decorated with

beautiful cycles

of frescoes so vast

and so numerous as

to be found in only very

few other Italian centres.

The cycle inside the

Scrovegni Chapel

(1303-1305) is considered

the greatest masterpiece

of forteenth century

Italian and European

painting.

1 2

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Under a blue, starry heaven, panel after panel, it illustrates

the life of Mary, the life of Jesus and the story of the

Passion to end with the imposing vision of the Last

Judgement. The lesson of the Tuscan master was taken

over by the most eminent painters working in town in the

second half of the 14 th century, Guariento, Jacopo Avanzi,

Altichiero da Zevio, Giusto de Menabuoi and Jacopo

da Verona, who developed and reinterpreted Giotto’s style

and tecnique. Their style and skill can be admired in all

the most important civil and religious monuments

of Padua: fourteenth-century frescoes are in the Basilica

of St. Anthony, in the Eremitani Church, in the Baptistery

of the Cathedral, in St George’s Oratory and in St.

Michele’s Oratory and in the Accademia Galileiana (former

Carraresi Chapel). The walls of the vast main Hall

of the Palazzo della Ragione (mt.81x27) are entirely covered

with a superb astrological cycle. And so is the enchanting

Bishops’ Hall in the Bishop Palace, which is adorned by

the portraits of hundreds of Paduan bishops.

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6 Padua Cathedral’s

Baptistery, Giusto

de Menabuoi’s frescoes

7 Scuola del Santo, Titian,

The jealous husband

stabs his wife

8 Basilica of St. Anthony,

Giusto de’ Menabuoi’s

frescoes (detail)

9 Palazzo della Ragione,

the Salone (detail)

5

1 Basilica of St. Anthony, Altichiero

da Zevio’s frescoes (detail)

2 Scrovegni Chapel, Giotto’s frescoes;

Presentation of Mary in the Temple

3 Scrovegni Chapel

4 Scrovegni Chapel,

Meeting of St Anne and Joachim

5 Diocesan Museum and Bishop’s Palace,

The Bishops’ Hall

Mantegna’s frescoes, even though badly damaged during

World War II can be admired

in the Ovetari chapel inside

the Eremitani Church.

Colourful sixteeenthcentury

frescoes

decorate various

oratories, churches

and palaces: discover

Titian’s frescoes in

the Scuola del Santo,

Dario Varotari’s cycle

in the Scuola della Carità,

16 th century frescoes

by Girolamo del Santo,

Domenico Campagnola

and Stefano dall’Arzere in the Scoletta

del Carmine and in St. Rocco’s Oratory,

and the forty-four heroes adorning the Giants’ Hall.

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Padua: City of science and culture.

Padua is the ideal place to trace the history of man’s

progress and achievements in the field of science,

technique and creativity. In its ancient and glorious

University fundamental contributions to the progress

of science and technology have been made thanks

to the presence of enlightened and ingenious personalities.

The University of Padua, which was established in 1222,

is one of the oldest in the world (the second in Italy after

Bologna University) and keeps several places of great

historical value: the anatomy theatre (1594), which

is the oldest in the world, the 14 th century Medicine

room, Galilei’s chair, the Aula Magna and the 16 th century

old cloister, both decorated by students and professors’ coats

of arms, the statue of Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia,

the world’s first female graduate (1678). The Botanic

Garden is another scientific treasure. It was founded in

1545 by Padua University for the study of the ‘simples’,

i.e. medical plants. It is the oldest university botanical

garden in the world, which has never moved from

its original settlement. It keeps about 6000 plants:

exotic, medicinal, poisonous and insectivorous.

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The oldest tree here is a Palm planted in 1585

and known as Goethe’s palm, having supposedly played

a role in the German writer’s work on the Metamorphosis

of the plants. Since 1997 the garden is part

of the Unesco World Cultural Heritage.

Another scientific monument belonging to Padua

University is the astronomic observatory, called

La Specola. It was built in the 18 th century on a tower

belonging to Padua medieval castle to test the astronomic

theories elaborated at the University. Today it houses

the University Astronomy Department and a museum,

where various scientific instruments coming from

different countries are displayed. Many other University

museums reveal the continuing influence of this ancient

institution on world art and culture: the Geological

and Paleonthological Museum, the Museum of Phisycs,

the Museum of Mineralogy, and many other institutes of

research and scientific studies.

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By the year 2006 a new museum dedicated to the History

of Medicine and Health will be inaugurated inside the

15 th -century complex of St. Francesco’s Hospital.

4 Astronomic Observatory,

La Specola Museum

5 Padua University,

Palazzo Bo, Sala dei Quaranta

and Galilei’s chair

6 Padua Botanic Garden

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1 Padua University,

Palazzo Bo, Aula Magna

2 Museum of the Pre-Cinema

Minici Zotti Collection

3 Padua University,

Palazzo Bo, Anatomy Theatre

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Padua: a dynamic city.

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Vital, creative and dynamic: the spirit

of Padua combines ancient charm,

millennary traditions and the vibrant

rhythms and vitality of the modern

metropolis. The city centre has been

transformed into a wide pedestrian

oasis, where streets and picturesque

squares are lined with historical

monuments, street cafés and

historical coffee-houses, music

bars and venues, bookshops,

high-fashion boutiques, antiques

and modern handicraft shops,

galleries, classy restaurants.

Historical buildings merge with

daring contemporary architecture, such

as Daniel Libeskind’s memorial “Memory

and light”. The brilliant American architect

of Polish origins, winner of the competition

for the reconstruction of Ground Zero

in New York, has left in Padua an uplifting

memorial, which contains a dramatic beam salvaged

from the World Trade Centre attack, given to the city

of Padua by the USA Department of State in memory

of the victims of the attack to the Twin Towers.

The so called Antico Ghetto with its suggestive

narrow streets lined with porticoed medieval palaces

and prestigious buildings has been recently transformed

into a trendy borough which encloses innovative shops

and locals, refined restaurants and old osterias.

The medieval squares – Piazza delle Erbe, della Frutta

and dei Signori - are the seat of the daily market

and have been representing one of the most beloved

meeting points of the Paduans for the last 800 years.

1 Palazzo della Ragione, Loggia (detail)

2 Old Ghetto

3 Palazzo Moroni (City Hall) and Caffè Pedrocchi

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On Summer nights the colourful tables

and chair of bars and cafés cover these

squares, and open air music gently

accompany the servings of food

and drinks. The short and narrow

via St. Fermo and the nearby

Galleria Borromeo and Piazza

Insurrezione is an unrivalled

designer shopping borough,

where you will find all the most

famous Italian and foreign

fashion designers. Along the

streets leading from the University

to the Basilica of St. Anthony

you will find lots of ancient

and modern bookshops, food

and drink specialities. Imposing medieval

and Renaissance buildings face the old

streets, such as Palazzo Zabarella, one of

the most culturally vital and prestigious

venues of the city. Piazza del Santo and

the surrounding streets are the ideal area to find

a typical souvenir and take a picture of some of the

symbols of the city: the huge Basilica, Donatello’s

equestrian statue, Prato della Valle, the Botanic Garden

or the Museum of the Pre-Cinema, unique in its genre

in Italy. After having wandered through monuments,

attractions and shops take a break and relax at one

of the numerous restaurants or trattorias. Nowadays

you can find an exciting variety of flavours and dishes

in every Padua high street.

Almost all restaurants serve food based on traditional

Paduan or Venetian recipes but with a modern and

international twist. Ethnic-cuisine lovers will be spoilt

for choice as the city offers good quality foreign cuisine

from Mexican to Japanese, from Indian to Persian,

to name but a few. Cultural life is very vital, too.

This is refelected in the rich events calendar and

in the wide range of art venues, galleries, exhibition

halls and high quality collections.

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Special events, celebrations of culture and festivals run

periodically throughout the year. Open air performances

take place in summer in all major parks and squares

of the city. In the last years the Paduans have

re-discovered the importance of the waterways which

surround the city, and recently there has been an

increasing development of boat tours. From March to

October sightseeing boat tours offer cruises and journeys,

which give the possibility to enjoy the view of the old

walls and of peculiar spots of the city at the leisurely

pace of river and canal boats. Thanks to the presence of

Padova Fiere (Padua Trade Exhibition Centre) and of the

University the congressual activity is very vital too.

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Padua is an excellent

business destination

as the congress

system offers the

diverse range of

meeting venues

to ensure success.

Good infrastructures,

locations and

multifunctional

spaces, from stately

homes to the most

modern congress

halls: Padua has the right meeting-place for any event.

Culture, art, science, entertainment, shopping, good

cuisine, nightlife: whether you are wishing to stay one

day or for a longer holiday Padua will surprise you with

its oustanding variety of attractions.

4 Piazza delle Erbe, market

5 Prato della Valle

6 Memorial “Memory

and Light”, D. Libeskind

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A land of faith.

1

1 Basilica of St. Giustina

2 Basilica of St. Anthony

3 Basilica of St. Giustina,

Martyrs’Corridor

4 Duomo (Cathedral) and Baptistery

5 St. Nicolò’s Church

6 Eremitani Church, B. Ammannati,

Tomb of M. M. Benavides

7 Eremitani City Museum,

Guariento, Angels

4

Just few meters from the Basilica of St. Giustina

is the Basilica of St. Anthony, one of the major places

of Christian worship in the world, with about 5 million

pilgrims visiting it every year. An architectural masterpiece

of the 13 th to 14 th centuries, the Basilica also presents

a unique pageant of Paduan past history – the shrine

of St. Anthony, the tombs and memorials of famous people,

was commissioned by Fina Buzzaccarini, wife of the most

eminent 14 th c. lord of Padua, Francesco il Vecchio da

Carrara: the hundreds of saints portraied on the dome

watched over Fina and Francesco’s tomb, once placed

exactly at the centre of the baptistery. Many other churches,

even though often less well-known, keep unexpected treasures:

the Eremitani Church has fine 14 th century frescoes and the

famous Mantegna’s cycle in the Ovetari chapel, which was

badly damaged during WW2; in the Scoletta of the Basilica

del Carmine you can admire a colourful 16 th century fresco

cycle; the church of St. Sofia is one of the most ancient

religious buildings of the town with great medieval architecture

Religious heritage.

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The early and wide diffusion of Christianity in the Paduan

territory is testified by the outstanding religious heritage,

which graces Padua and its province. A strong faith

combined with a great artistic fervour have left a great

number of sacred places and monuments all over

the territory, real and true shrines of faith and art.

Following the tradition the Basilica of St. Giustina

was built on the place where, Giustina, one of the first

martyrs of Christianity, was buried around the year 304.

The huge 16 th century Basilica -the ninth largest

Christian church in the world-, contains elements

of an older church (12-13 th c.), the martyrs’well,

with bones of varius martyrs, the Sacellum of San

Prosdocimo, which dates back to the 6 th century,

thus representing one of the earliest places

of worship in town. The adjacent Benedictine

monastery with frescoed cloisters has a rich

library and a famous restoration book centre.

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and works of art realised between the 14 th and the 20 th

century, the most famous of which are the beautiful

14 th century frescoes, the Renaissance marble bas-reliefs,

and Donatello’s bronze statues and reliefs on the main altar.

The complex of the Basilica comprises four cloisters,

the Antoniano Museum, St. George Oratory, which is decorated

by an enchanting 14 th c. fresco cycle, and the Scuola del

Santo, adorned by various frescoes, three of which by Titian.

A ten-minute walk leads to the Sanctuary of St. Leopoldo

Mandic, which keeps the remains and the confessional cell

of the beloved Dalmatian saint. The historical part of the city

centre corresponds also to the heart of Christian Padua.

In Piazza Duomo stands the sixteenth-century Cathedral.

Its Baptistery represents one of the landmarks of Padua

history. The oldest part of the building dates back to the

12 th century; inside, it is lined with beautiful fourteenth-century

frescoes by Giusto de’ Menabuoi, a follower of Giotto’s.

The breathtaking representation of the Paradise on the dome

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2647_05_C415_PADOVA_GB 17-05-2006 10:38 Pagina 14

outside and a very spiritual atmosphere inside; in the church

of St. Francesco 15 th century frescoes and a Renaissance

bronze funeral monument are kept; the little Romanesque

church of St. Nicolò stands in one of the most lovely corners

of the town and keeps works by Jacopo da Montagnana,

Stefano dall’Arzere and Giandomenico Tiepolo. Few people

know that the 18 th century composer Giuseppe Tartini, who

wrote the opera Il trillo del diavolo (Devil’s Trill Sonata)

is buried in the small church of St. Caterina; an unexpected

surprise awaits the visitor of the church of St. Massimo:

three beautiful

paintings

by Giovan

Battista

Tiepolo (17 th c.),

the painter

who

decorated

many Italian

villas, and

painted

the ceiling

frescoes in the

palace of the

Archbishop at Würzburg and the palace of Charles III

of Spain in Madrid. More recent masterpieces are the church

of St. Gaetano built on a plan of Vincenzo Scamozzi (16 th c.)

and the church of Santa Maria del Pianto, called Chiesa del

Torresino, for the central embattled tower. Another ancient

church is the Oratory of St. Michele in Pozzoveggiani, which

is the result of the juxtaposition of a Romanesque building

on an early-medieval one. The church of St. Anthony

at Arcella is the place where the saint died in 1231.

1 Monteortone of Abano Terme, Madonna della Salute Sanctuary

2 Padua, St. Michele’s Church at Pozzoveggiani

Below, Praglia Abbey

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The province of Padua is rich in religious buildings and

monuments too. The coenobia of the monastic orders have

been peaceful retreats for scholars, chief centres of Christian

piety and learning for centuries. A visit to these religious

sites is a great experience for those who enjoy the sense

of somewhere different, very spiritual and peaceful.

Embedded in the greenery of the Euganean Hills, the

Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria di Praglia is one of the

oldest monasteries of the region. It was founded in the 11 th -

century but almost entirely rebuilt in the 15 th century, when

the abbey became one of the main centres for land reclamation

and conversion into farmland of the whole Paduan territory.

The wide complex includes a fine Renaissance church

(1448) with frescoes and paintings of Venetian school,

and a crucifix attributed to the followers of Giotto’s,

the medieval monastery with ancient refectory and guest

house, cloisters, the Old Library, and finally the worldwide

famous book restoration centre. Nestled on the top of the

hill, the Monastery of Monte Rua, is still a Camaldolite

hermitage.

Even though visitors are not allowed in the monastery,

from the spot where it rises one can enjoy a beautiful view

on the surrounding hills. The Abbey of Santa Maria

di Carceri near Este is an ancient former monastery

(12 th century), which was partially converted into private

mansion by the Carminati noble family at the end of the

17 th century. The huge complex includes church and abbey,

cloisters, guest-rooms, and a library with fine frescoes.

Not far from Carceri, in Urbana, stands the former monastery

of San Salvaro with its ancient church dating back to the 11 th c.

adorned by frescoes (14 th c.) and a collection of old maps,

papers and finds, which document the history of this part

of the paduan territory.

5

An important example of the romanic style of North-East Italy

is the church of St. Stefano at Due Carrare. Once part of an

important abbey, the church survived the terrible earthquake

of the year 1117, which destroyed almost all the main buildings

which had been built up to that year.

St. Stefano’s Church still keeps its original medieval structure

and belltower, fine 11 th century and 14 th century mosaics

and the tomb of Marsilio da Carrara, prince of Padua at the

beginning of the 14 th century. Many churches and sanctuaries

are dedicated to the Virgin Mary and they often rise where

a miraculous event took place. The Sanctuary of Santa Maria

di Monteortone in Abano Terme began its history in 1428

when a soldier, a certain Pietro Falco, bathing himself in the

grotto at the side of the present church to heal himself of the

plague, obtained a cure and, following a divine command,

exctracted from the healing water a panel representing

the Madonna, which is still displayed on the altar of the apse.

On the Monte della Madonna (Teolo) is the fifteenth-century

Sanctuary of the Madonna, with small Benedictine monastery

and beautiful view on the surrounding landscape.

3

4

In Este a church dedicated

to the Madonna delle Grazie

(our Lady of the Graces)

keeps a venerated Byzantine

Madonna on wood realized

in the 15 th century. Another

sanctuary dedicated

to St. Mary is in Ospedaletto

Euganeo. The so called

Santuario del Tresto was

erected in 1468 in order

to host a miraculous image

of the Virgin, who had

appeared to a boatman.

In Piove di Sacco, the most

important centre of the south-eastern part of the province, two

important religious monuments are to be visited: the Cathedral,

dedicated to St. Martin and the Sanctuary of the Madonna

delle Grazie (our Lady of the Graces), built in 1484 to hold

an effigy of Mary, which the people believed to be miraculous.

In the north of the province, in Camposampiero, stands the

Santuario del Noce (Walnut-tree Sanctuary), dedicated

to the most beloved saint of Padua and its province,

St. Anthony. As the legend goes, this small church was built

precisely on the spot where St. Anthony delivered a memorable

sermon while standing at the top of a walnut-tree.

3 Torreglia, Hermitage

on the Mount Rua

4 Camposampiero, Sanctuary

of the Wallnut-tree

5 Piove di Sacco, Madonna delle Grazie

Sanctuary, Giovanni Bellini’s

Madonna with Child

Below, Carceri Abbey


2647_05_C415_PADOVA_GB 17-05-2006 10:38 Pagina 16

A province of waters.

The first settlement of Padua arose around

the 12 th century B.C. inside a wide bend of the river

Medoacus, the actual river Brenta. Since then the history

of Padua has been marked by waters. Already in the 1 st

century A.D. the famous Roman historian, Titus Livius

(or Livy), author of one of the more veritable versions

of the history of the Roman Republic, narrated of the

incredible skill of the Paduans in navigation, when in the

year 302 B.C. they defeated the fleet of the Spartan King

Cleonimus. During the Roman age Patavium was one of

the most thriving commerce centres of the Roman Empire.

3 4

1-3 Paduan waterways

4 Canale Battaglia riverbank

5 Onara Marsh

6 Canoeing on the Bacchiglione River

7 Padua, view of the waterway

which flows around the ancient walls

16

2

8 Riviera del Brenta, tourist navigation

in front of Villa Giovannelli

at Noventa Padovana

9 Padua, Ognissanti Gate

10 Battaglia Terme,

Museum of River Navigation

The great Greek historian and geographer Strabon wrote

that Patavium was the most important town of the region

and ancient chronicles report of the great number of wares

that left its harbour towards Rome thus proving the presence

of a flourishing and dynamic people and economy.

The city thrived until the barbarian onslaughts and

the subsequent Langobard invasion, which took place from

the fourth to the seventh century. Recovery was slow and

Padua’s great canal network played again a fundamental

role, as it had an ever increasing strategic importance

in the fights for the territorial supremacy. First during

the Commune government and then during the Da Carrara

Seigneury and the Venetian domination the excavations

realized to control and exploit the waters led to the creation

of a dense network of navigable canals, real and true

“water motorways”. This network connected Padua with

the surrounding territory and with all the most important

towns of the Veneto region. During the four centuries

of the Venetian domination waterways were used

to transport an impressive quantity of wares and goods

from the paduan territory to Venice and Venetian

noblemen could easily navigate them to reach

5

1

the Euganean Hills and the paduan countryside, where they

erected their magnificent villas. Until the middle of the 20 th

century Paduan waterways were sailed by all sort of boats:

rafts, peote, burci, gondole, sandoli, padovane and burchielli,

and were populated by fix and floating watermills.

The Bacchiglione river, which in the past connected Vicenza

with Padua, represents still today the primary water source

for the city: its waters enter in Padua from the South and

flow along the Renaissance walls to the Ezzelino Castle.

Here the Bacchiglione bifurcates: the link

wing, called Tronco Maestro, flows

8

7

downwards along

the medieval walls

to the old Carmine

Basilica; the right

wing, called Naviglio

Interno, follows the

internal side of the

walls, flows through the

city centre to the Porte

Contarine, after which the Tronco

Maestro and the Naviglio interno flow together and form

the Piovego canal. In the last years a great programme

of waterways recovering and restoring has given impulse

to the tourist navigation along Paduan canals and rivers.

9 10

6

The burci (or burchi), i.e.

the typical Venetian barges,

could easily moor anywhere

along the river banks.

In the Divine Comedy Dante

reports that “As sometimes

wherries lie upon the shore,

That part are in the water,

part on land...”

(Hell, canto XVII,

vv. 19-20).

The itineraries include the navigation along the internal

canals with beautiful views on the walls, the Brenta River

and its imposing villas, the Euganea Riviera with its

enchanting vegetation and historical sites, the way to the

Venetian Lagoon. The story of river navigation and the life

of the ‘barcari’ (boatmen)

are widely narrated in the

Museum of River

Navigation in Battaglia

Terme, which displays

about four thousand pieces

(boats, equipment, historic

photos, old maps, books and

documents) housed in an

historical little palace built

in beautiful position at the

confluence of two canals.

17


2647_05_C415_PADOVA_GB 17-05-2006 10:38 Pagina 18

Terme Euganee, over 2000 years

of health and well-being.

Montegrotto Terme, Butterfly Arc

2

Surrounded by the relaxing greenery of the Euganean Hills,

the Euganean Spas (Terme Euganee), with the two main

centres of Abano and Montegrotto and the smaller ones

of Galzignano, Battaglia and Monteortone of Teolo,

are famous worldwide for the mud and spa treatments.

They are the ideal site for a healing, uplifting and fun spa

holiday. The secret is in the spa water, which falls into the

category of deep underground waters. They are of meteroic

origin and derive from the uncontaminated basins of the

Lessini Mountains in the foothills of the Alps, passing

through calcareous rocks and into the subsoil at a depth

of approximately 80 kilometer route that takes an average

of 25/30 years. During this time they take on mineral sals

and finally reach the Euganean Spas where they spring

forth at a temperature of 87°C. The abundance

of the dissolved substances make this water a unique

thermal resource, one of its kind in the world.

From the chemical point of view these waters are classified

as hyperthermal sodiobromidiodic waters.

The healing virtues of the Terme Euganee waters were

already appreciated by the Euganean people, who over

2000 years ago had a sacred lake here for the veneration

of the God Aponus, the god of thermal waters.

During the Roman age (1 st -2 nd c. A.D.), the Fons Aponi

(Aponus’spring) became very important and famous.

The spas were attended both for healing and religious

reasons: the legend says that one of the roman Emperors

went to the Fons Aponi to have the response of the

Gerione oracle, a mysterious god who said the future

through the hot waters. The imperial palace, a partly-covered

amphitheatre also used for shows on water, patrician villas

and residences, places of cult, reflection walks, and rich

thermal baths: this is how the Fons Aponi appeared

in Roman times. The growing interest in the spas led the

Da Carrara family, rulers of Padua in the 14 th c.,

1 Abano Terme, monumental

gateway to the Montirone

2 Montegrotto Terme,

Villa Draghi

On the left, Terme Euganee,

Mud therapy

3 Thermal pool

4 Montegrotto Terme,

International Artistic

Glass and Spa Museum.

5 Golf on the Euganean Hills

1 3

to promote a deep survey of the waters. The survey

was led by the University of Padua and it continues still

today thanks to the studies of the Centro Studi Termali

Veneto Pietro D’Abano (Spa Study Centre). Through

in-depth study of the primary components of the thermal

resources –water, algae, muds- the Study Centre performs

systematic research into the thermal medicine

and constantly monitors the effects of fangotherapy

in order to guarantee the utmost quality. The spa hotels

are specialized in the various spa treatments:

fangotherapy, balneotherapy, hydrokinetic therapy

and inhalation therapy. Besides the astonishing abilities

to aid and restore, the thermal waters are also used in

beauty treatments. Thanks to the modern, accomodating

bath establishments, you can regain your vigour, relax

and achieve that lost sense of well-being. After the spa

treatments a wide range of sports and outdoor activities

can be practised in the area. The Euganean Hills, which

surround the spas, are most inviting for those who wish

to keep in shape or enjoy sports. In fact, this context,

which mixes modern facilities and beautiful natural

environment, lends itself to numerous activities,

4

such as golf, horse riding, cycling, rock-climbing,

jogging or simply walking along the paths of the hills.

The historical and artistical heritage is vast, too.

Among the hills you will find historical monuments,

villas, castles, museums, ancient abbeys and monasteries.

And last but not the least, you will be surprised

to discover the excellent local cuisine, which combines

wholesome food and genuine wines. Here nature

has helped create the special flavours of the traditional

dishes, offering, especially in Spring and in Autumn,

numerous varieties of wild herbs, mushrooms, produce

of the undergrowth and vegetables to be used in risottos,

omelettes and other specialties.

5

18


2647_05_C415_PADOVA_GB 17-05-2006 10:38 Pagina 20

Villas and Castles.

Imposing strongholds and beautiful villas surrounded

by luxuriant gardens are scattered throughout the Paduan

province. These grand buildings along with their historical

gardens witness the age-long strategic importance

of this territory and its cultural and economic vitality.

One of the most interesting

itineraries among medieval

towns and castles develops

in the south western part

of the province. Three imposing

castles rise at a short distance

one from the other. The 14 th c.

castle of St. Pelagio was

converted into private mansion

house by the Zaborra family

in the 18 th c. After one of the

greatest fly actions of the past

century, i.e. Italian poet

Gabriele D’Annunzio’s

flight to Vienna, took place

here in 1918, architect Avesani

arranged the interior of the

castle into an interesting air

museum, which illustrates the

history of flight. The castle

is surrounded by extensive

parkland. The Catajo castle 2

in Battaglia Terme is actually

a mansion house. It was erected in the 16 th c. with the imposing

appearance of a castle by Pio Enea I degli Obizzi, who was

famous for his military skill and for having invented the howitzer.

This huge property keeps beautiful frescoes and is enhanced by

a wide park with architectonical decorations. The wide halls

of the medieval Monselice castle superbly exemplifies the

tranformation which defensive buildings underwent during

the Renaissance age, when the military function ceased and

castles and strongholds were converted into luxury private

dwellings. The wide complex includes medieval rooms, beautiful

halls with original 14 th c. fireplaces later parts added or enlarged

in the 16 th -17 th c. And important collection of old arms and

armours, which are still on display. On the Euganean Hills still

rise two of the most ancient castles of the Paduan Province.

The ancient St. Martino della Vaneza castle (11 th c.) in Cervarese

1

St. Croce has a distinct sense of history and a picturesque rural

setting along the banks of the Bacchiglione river. It contains

a museum dedicated to the river Bacchiglione. Set in peacefully

surroundings at the foot of the Lozzo hill, Valbona Castle is a very

well preserved 13 th c. building and one of the most interesting

examples of medieval military fortification. The castle boasts

a reastaurant and a photographic display about the Paduan castles.

Venetian villas are amongst the most precious gems of the Paduan

territory. Enhanced by wide gardens or age-old parks, these

magnificent dwellings were realised between the 15 th and the 18 th c.

to satisfy the agricultural and recreational needs of their noble

owners. Villa Contarini majestically dominates the town of

Piazzola sul Brenta. Its scenographic mass comprises a 16 th c.

central body with the famous Sala della Chitarra Rovesciata (Hall

of the upside-down guitar), long monumental 17 th c. barchesse

(lean-to), wide semicircular arcades, and 50 hectares of parkland

with fish ponds, lakes and tree-lined avenues. Not far

away from Villa Contarini, in Piombino Dese, is Villa

Cornaro (1551-52), a masterpiece by Andrea Palladio.

It is a monumental house with loggias and a central hall

adorned with white statues and columns. In the same town

stands Villa Marcello, a sixteenth-century building with wide

barchesse, garden and beautiful halls decorated by frescoes,

which depict episodes from the life of Charles the Great and

of the Olympian Gods. A great number of villas crowd into

the green landscape of the Euganean Hills. Nestled

at the top of a gentle hill, the elegant Villa Emo Capodilista,

in Selvazzano represents one of the most original 16 th c. villas

6

of the Veneto region. In Luvigliano, one of the preferred

destination of wine’s lovers, lies Villa dei Vescovi, a 16 th c. villa

planned by Falconetto. With its open loggias and multicoloured

external walls it represents one of the first examples of the

characteristic venetian “pictorial” architectures, which started

developping in that period. The house of the great Italian poet

Francesco Petrarca (14 th c.) in Arquà Petrarca, retains original

ceilings and furniture. From the balcony you can still enjoy the

superb view on the hills, which enchanted the poet and inspired

him some of his verses and letters. A fairy-tale atmosphere

5 Piombino Dese, Villa Cornaro

6 Arquà Petrarca, Petrarch’s House

Below, Piazzola sul Brenta,

Villa Contarini

5

surrounds the beautiful Villa Selvatico-Sartori lying in enchanting

position at the top of St. Elena Hill. Its scenographic park was

designed by architect Giuseppe Jappelli. An imposing staircase

leads to the villa, the halls of which are decorated by 17 th c.

frescoes. Many other mansions are scattered throughout the

area which includes the medieval walled towns of Monselice,

Este, and Montagnana, which was one of the favourite inspiring

lands for generations of artists, poets and writers. The whole

area can be the ideal destination to discover the places of

importance to the many artists, writers and craftsmen who have

drawn inspiration from the hills, among them troubadoric poets,

Petrarch, Byron, Shelley, Foscolo, Fogazzaro and Bruce Chatwin.

Fine villas adorn the rural landscape of the Saccisica region.

In Bagnoli di Sopra Villa Widmann was particularly famous

in the 18 th -century when Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni

played in the private theatre of the mansion. Today the noble

dwelling, which is surrounded by wide park with numerous

statues, houses a famous wine-cellar and the Stradon del Vin

Friularo Association. A few kilometres farther on is another

beautiful mansion, Villa Garzoni Carraretto, which was built

on a plan by Sansovino (1537-40). Another fine country

mansion is Villa Roberti in Brugine. The wide halls are decorated

by sixteenth-century Frescoes attributed to Paolo Veronese.

The wide park which surrounds the villa hosts the monthly

antiques market.

1 Battaglia Terme,

Catajo Castle

2 Monselice Castle,

hall with typical

carrarese fireplace

3 Lozzo Atestino,

Valbona Castle

4 Due Carrare,

St. Pelagio Castle,

Hot-air balloons Hall

20

3 4


2647_05_C415_PADOVA_GB 17-05-2006 10:38 Pagina 22

Historical gardens and parks.

1

The mild climate of the region and the skill of passionate

gardeners and garden designers have left in the area

a host of glorious gardens and centuries old parks.

The garden of Villa Barbarigo in Valsanzibio ranges

among the most important in Europe. It was re-designed

on a grand scale around the middle Seventeenth century

by the venetian aristocrat Giovan Francesco Barbarigo.

Plenty of water enlivens an extraordinary universe of

fountains, cascades, fishponds and brooks. Classical and

romantic elements combine harmoniously and constitute a

precious patrimony of statues, architectonical decorations,

water games, loggias. A famous labyrinth enhances

the property. The sheer variety and abundance

of flowers and shrubs is one of the most amazing

characteristics of the garden of Villa Emo in Rivella

di Monselice. During the Spring and the early Summer

the garden is at its best with fruit trees in blossom, borders

and lawns are studded with masses of narcissi, roses

reflect their colourful shapes in the water below, masses

of brilliant day lilies create extraordinary borders.

An 8 ha. park surrounds Villa Miari de Cumani in St.

Elena d’Este. The mansion, characterized by embattled

towers and walls, is part of a wide complex which includes

rural houses, greenhouse, the beautiful romantic park

partially created by the Venetian architect Giuseppe

Jappelli (19 th c.) and concluded by Osvaldo Paoletti in 1870

with a lake and grotto.

2 3

The luxuriant park, which surrounds Villa Pisani Scalabrin

in Vescovana, comprises an Italian-style garden and

romantic English-style park with chapel, theatre, barchesse,

rural buildings, statues

and an 18 th c.

neo-gothic little temple.

The park was celebrated

by English writer

Margaret Symonds in

her book “Days spent

on a Doge’s farm”.

Imposing plane-trees

and centuries old oaks

crowd the Frassanelle

Park, which mixes

English style garden

8

6

7

9

6 Noventa Padovana,

Villa Valmarana

7 Noventa Padovana,

Villa Giovannelli

8 Vescovana, Villa Pisani

Scalabrin Park

9 Rivella di Monselice,

Villa Emo

10 Battaglia Terme,

Villa Selvatico Sartori

features and romantic park elements. Its artificial grottos

are quite suggestive. The famous Riviera del Brenta with

its beautiful villas starts at Noventa Padovana. In this

small town rise some of the most beautiful villas of the

area: Villa Giovanelli with its imposing façade was erected

in 1670 in palladian style; Villa Grimani Valmarana

was built in the 15 th c. on the ruins of an ancient castle

and keeps 18 th c. frescoes; Villa Giustiniani, a wide rural

complex built at the end of the 16 th c. and restored

in the 18 th c. The riviera del Brenta continues following

the course of the river from Stra to Venice. A charming

trip among villas and gardens, a superb tour which

enchanted poets and travellers, such as Lord Byron and

Goethe, the Italian poet Gabriele D'Annunzio, the scientist

Galileo Galilei, the playwright Carlo Goldoni.

4

5

1 Bagnoli di Sopra, Villa Widmann

2 Valsanzibio di Galzignano Terme, Villa Barbarigo

3 St. Elena d’Este, Villa Miari de’ Cumani

4 Selvazzano, Villa Emo Capodilista La Montecchia

5 Valsanzibio di Galzignano Terme, Villa Barbarigo

10

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Medieval walled towns.

The ancient town of Cittadella, with its elliptical and perfectly

preserved medieval walls, is one of the most interesting

walled towns in Europe. The settlement started life

as a military outpost of Padua, which founded it in 1220.

The town walls are still intact with a circumference of 1461

m., 12 towers and 12 turrets of various heights, 32 sections

and 12 Guelf merlons. The four major towers correspond to

the four gates: Porta Bassano, Porta Treviso, Porta Vicenza

and Porta Padova (or Porta Nuova, which is decorated by the

town clock and the coat-of-arms of the Commune of Padova

and of the Da Carrara family). Porta Padova incorporates

the Church of St. Maria

del Torresino and the

Torre di Malta, which

was built by Ezzelino

da Romano in 1251 as

a gruesome prison for his

enemies, named also by

Dante in the verses of the

Divina Commedia

(Paradise IX, 54). Besides

the walls Cittadella offers

a lot to visit such as the

works of art inside

the Duomo (cathedral) 2

and its Museum, the

nineteenth-century Teatro Sociale, with a neo-classical

façade projected by Giuseppe Jappelli, the Town Hall, which

dates back to the 14 th century, the Palazzo Pretorio

(Magistrate’s Hall), the Podestà palace and the Archeologic

Museum housed in the Torre di Malta.

Monselice has an enchanting historical centre which

develops around the slopes of the Citadel Hill. The defensive

function and the setting out of the citadel (Rocca) date back

to the Roman times, and was later enlarged and completed

by the Langobards in the fifth century.

1 Cittadella

2 Cittadella, Bassano Gate

3 Cittadella, Teatro Sociale

4 Cittadella, Cathedral

4

Above, Cittadella, Palazzo Pretorio,

fresco detail

In the year 1239 the town was further fortified by will of

Emperor Frederic II, who ordered extensive fortification works

and the building of the castle. The town was later contended

by the most important families who dominated the region in

the fourteenth century, the Estensi, the Carraresi and the

Scaligeri until in 1338 it was conquered by the Da Carrara

noble family of Padua. In 1405 following an enervating siege

lasting a full year it became part of the Serenissima Republic

of Venice, a domination which lasted until the end of the

3

1

eighteenth century. The beautiful walk from piazza Mazzini to

the top of the hill reveals the most important historical events

of the town through its main monuments. The first stop is at

the Chiesa di S. Paolo (St. Paul’s church), which keeps an early

medieval crypt with 13 th century frescoes. Taking the Via del

Santuario you reach the Castello (Castle) a fortress dating

from the late Middle Ages, re-built by Ezzelino da Romano in

the 13 th c., enlarged by the Da Carrara family and transformed

into a residence by the Marcello Venetian noble family.

In 1942 it was made a museum by Count Vittorio Cini who

added a rich collection of arms and furniture. Continuing

the ascent is the 16 th century Villa Nani Moncenigo and after it

the old Pieve di St. Giustina, which was consecrated in 1256, it

houses a number of important works or art and a fine

beamed ceiling (1787). After passing through the doorway

6

of the ‘count’s lion’ you reach the wide panorama of the

rotonda. The Porta Romana (Roman gate) erected in 1651

marks the entry to the Jubilee Sanctuary of the Seven

Churches designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi on commission

from the Duodo Venetian noble family. The mansion of the

Duodo family, Villa Duodo, and a spectacular exedra mark

the end of the route. From here a stairway

and path lead to the top of the hill

(150 m) dominated by the

imposing Mastio Federiciano

5

(Frederick’s stronghold).

A short drive away is the

elegant town of Este.

Before the year 589 the

river Adige flew through

the town and along its

banks important religious

and cultural Paleovenetian

settlements developed

in pre-roman age.

5 Monselice, Villa Duodo

6 Monselice, Castle

7 Monselice, Antica Pieve

of St. Giustina (old cathedral)

8 Monselice, the City Hall

Below, Monselice,

Sanctuary of the Seven

Churches

7

8

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2647_05_C415_PADOVA_GB 17-05-2006 10:39 Pagina 26

The town became one of the most important Italian centres

after the year 1000 thanks to the presence of the Estensi

family, who erected their castle and fortified the town.

The circle of walls was later enlarged by the Da Carrara family

and by the Venetians. The fine rooms of the Atestino National

Museum house a great number of items from Paleovenetian

and Roman times, and a beautiful collection of ceramics.

The imposing remains of the castle, which scenographically

descend from the top of the hill downwards for about one

kilometer, are one of the main attractions of the town.

In the 13 th century the castle became one of the most

important centres of troubadoric poetry as many Italian

1

7

2 3 4

and foreign troubadours and ministrels met at the court

of Azzo VI of Este. The religious heritage of the town

is very rich, too. The Cathedral keeps a beautiful painting

by Giambattista Tiepolo (1759) and the tomb of Blessed

Beatrice d’Este, the daughter of the Marquis of Este, who died

in 1226 when she was only 26 years old. Her beauty and

virtue had enchanted many poets, who dedicated their lyrics

to her. The charme of this town attracted poets and artists

1 Este, Castle

2 Este, Situla Benvenuti

3 Este, Castle

4 Este, ceramics

5 Este, Ca’ Pesaro

6 Este, Atestino

National Museum,

Paleoveneti bronzes

even in more recent times: in the 16 th century a great

numbers of artists gathered at the dwelling of Alvise Cornaro

a rich and generous patron of art and culture of Venetian

origins; in the 19 th century the great romantic English poets

Byron and Shelley spent a long and intense holiday at Villa

Kunkler; the 20 th century registered the presence of Bruce

Chatwin and Emma Tennant at Villa Albrizzi.

Este is worldwide famous for the production of artistic

ceramics. The last walled town in the south-western part

of the province of Padua is Montagnana. The fortified city

centre remains one of the best preserved and most charming

examples of a walled city in Europe. The walls have

a circumference of about two kilometers with two gates

and 24 towers. St. Zeno Castle, one of the two gates, was

erected in 1242 and now hosts the Town Museum. The other

gate, Rocca degli Alberi, is a real jewel of military architecture.

It was erected in 1360 by the will of Francesco I the Elder

of the Da Carrara family. The narrow porticoed streets of the

town lead to the wide Vittorio Emanuele Square, dominated

by the Cathedral (works of art by Sansovino and Paolo

Veronese inside). Close to Porta Padova is Villa Pisani a work

by Andrea Palladio (1553-1555). Montagnana is situated

at the centre of the Veneto Berico Euganeo Sweet Ham

7 Montagnana,

Palio of the 10 Communes

8 Montagnana,

medieval walls

9 Montagnana,

medieval walls

8

production area. The glorious past of these beautiful medieval

towns is recreated in spectacular historical re-enactments

and medieval festivals, during which costumed performers,

musicians, flag-wavers, invade the streets, play games from

the middle ages, compete the palio (horse-race) to win the

prize, and recreate the typical medieval atmosphere in

vigorous and colourful tournaments, picturesque markets

and medieval fayres. The most important medieval events

are: Palio of Trambaque at Cervarese St. Croce Castle (May),

Estensi’s Days in Este (June), Palio of Montagnana (1 st Sunday

in September), Rocca’s Joust in Monselice (3 rd Sunday

in Semptember) and Voices from the Middle

Ages in Cittadella (end September-early

October). The year ends with the

Medieval New Year in Montagnana

(last Sunday in December).

9

5 6

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The Euganean Hills and other natural oases.

The gentle landscapes of the Euganean Hills are one of the

main attractions and tourist destinations of the Paduan

territory. Their peculiar skyline created by the sequence

of about 100 hills of varying heights and shapes immediately

catches the traveller’s eye. The hills arose during the

volcanic activity in the Tertiary Era (between 30 and 40

million year ago) and are characterized by a special

ecosystem, where different varieties of vegetation - from

the typical Mediterranean shrublands to chestnut groves

and mixed oak woods - unfold around the slopes of the

hills. The Mount Venda (601 mt.) is the highest mountain

and marks the centre of the hills. Protected since 1989

by the Colli Euganei Regional Park, the Euganean Hills

cover nearly 20,000 hectares.

The climate is particularly mild and allows extensive wine

and oil-growing with excellent results: there are a full 13

D.O.C. (Denomination of Controlled Origin) wines including

the well-known Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon,

Chardonnay, Serprino and Moscato Fior

d’Arancio. Other typical products

of the hills are honey, cheese and

seasonal fruits (chestnuts, cherries,

peas, and jujubes). Local feasts

and village festivals celebrate

these products, among

them the Grape Festival,

which takes place every

year in September

in Vo’ Euganeo. The Park

counts 15 towns and

villages with great natural

and historical heritage.

The gem of the hills is the medieval village of Arquà

Petrarca, where time seems to stand still, keeping the magic

of the Middle Ages intact. Its peaceful atmosphere attracted

the great Italian poet Francesco Petrarca, who spent here

the last years of his life. The enchanting landscape of the

hills has attracted and inspired generations of poets, writers

and artists: from the provençal troubadours, who gathered

at the Estensi court in the 12 th century to the most

important Italian and foreign writers of the past centuries

such as Byron, Shelley, Foscolo, Fogazzaro and Bruce

Chatwin. Following one of the numerous signposted

pathways of the Parco Colli is an excellent way to discover

the magic of this unique natural oasis. Either by bicycle

or on foot or even on horseback you will admire

the Hills’rich flora, the wide extents of vineyards, meadows,

olive-yards and woods and visit historical monuments

and museums. Some places are ideal to observe the little

inhabitants of the wood, in particular slow-worms, spotted

salamanders, cuckoos, sparrow-hawks, badgers, foxes and

stonemartens. Leaving the Euganean Hills and going

eastwards, you meet the green Saccisica, which together

with the Conselvano form a fertile countryside,

1 Torreglia,

Villa Tolomei estate

2 Portrait of Francesco

Petrarca

Below, The Euganean Hills,

view of Teolo Church

1 2

5

rich in multi-coloured fields and orchards, crossed by

an extraordinary network of waterways. This territory

has always been the Paduan countryside and the beloved

hinterland and “endless granary” of the Venetian nobility.

The rural landscape is characterized by the presence

of numerous country-houses, villas and mansions, old

Benedictine courts. It was thanks to the presence

of the monks that vast areas of marshy land were reclaimed

and destined to agricultural purposes with the introduction

of new cultivation systems. The Correzzola Benedictine

Court, now partially transformed into hotel, and the

Legnaro Court, now meeting centre, are among the best

preserved medieval courts.

Travelling through this part of

the paduan province, it is easy

to see the casoni, the typical 7

rural houses of the area, which

were originally built with very

simple materials such as clay,

reeds, straw and wood.

Some casoni have been

recently restored and are now

part of the cultural heritage

of the province of Padua.

3

Other distinctive buildings of this area are the idrovora

(water-scooping machines), works of hydraulics especially

built in the 19 th century to avoid floods and now

considered noteworthy examples of industrial archaeology.

At the far south-eastern borders of the Saccisica

the territory includes a portion of lagoon, the Valle

Millecampi: 1,581 hectares of typical lagoon environment

with canals of fresh water, stretches of brackish water,

typical lagoon islets submerged at regular interval,

which create an environment of great naturalistic

and anthropological interest. The inhabitants of this part

of the province are very proud of their ancient traditions

6

4

and rural origins, which they often celebrate during

popular feasts and ‘sagre’ (village festivals) dedicated

to the agricultural produce such as the famous sweet

potato of Anguillara, the radicchio of Maserà, the grappa

of Conselve and the DOC wines.

3 The Euganean Hills at sunset

4 Valle Millecampi

5 Orchard on the Euganean Hills

6 Saccisica, view of the countryside

7 Cinto Euganeo, former Cava Bomba kiln, now Museum

29


2647_05_C415_PADOVA_GB 17-05-2006 10:39 Pagina 30

On the table the flavours of a generous land.

“Going for food and wine

in the Paduan territory

means going for surprises

and nostalgia such as one

would never find elsewhere”

Orio Vergani,

Writer and journalist

The Paduan cuisine combines high quality

ingredients with a traditional simple way

of cooking. A great variety of seasonal products

feeds it in its diversity of lagoons, valleys, hills,

fluvial and on the plain. Tasteful examples

of the typical Paduan cuisine are the numerous minestre

maridae (soups with rice and pasta), pasta e fasoi

(pasta and beans), risi e bisi (rice and peas), rice

with chiken livers, rice with pumpkin, vegetable soup,

sausages and luganeghe with polenta, quails and game

of the plain and of the Po Delta, tripe and baccalà (stockfish)

with white or yellow polenta. In spring and in autumn nature

helps create special flavours, offering numerous varieties

of wild herbs and undergrowth products which are used

in risottos, omelettes, stuffings and traditional cakes.

The Euganean Hills are a real and true mine of wild herbs,

excellent wines and oils. The area boasts thirteen D.O.C. wines,

the quality carefully controlled and certified by the Consorzio

Vini Colli Euganei. The area also has a long tradition of oil

production. Documents report of the existence of an oil-mill

already in the 14 th century, and the still existing and working

oil-mill in Valnogaredo dates back to the 18 th century.

The oil has a particularly fruity flavour and an after taste

that hints of sweet almonds.

30

1 2

Honey is produced both in the Millefiori (obtained from

different types of flowers) and in the one-flower variety,

in particular acacia and chestnut honey.

Among the starters, the famous bigoli, especially

those seasoned with duck ragout, deserve

a mention. A specialty of Torreglia are

the torresani (tower doves).

The oenogastronomic tradition of the

Euganean Hills can be discovered through

the itineraries and suggestions of the Strada

del Vino Colli Euganei (Euganean Hills

Wine Route Association). The cooking

of the Montagnana and Este districts are

influenced by the near Polesine area.

Tasteful and simple it is based on genuine local

products: rice, truffle, game and pig. Actually this

is the area of the rites connected with the butchering

of the pig and from it come forth the most unthought-of

creations, such as codesini (tails), bondiola col lengual

(sausage with tongue), soppresse, luganeghe, etc, but the most

famous of all, is the Prosciutto Veneto Berico Euganeo better

known as Montagnana

sweet raw ham. One of the

most ancient recipes of this

district is the oca in onto

(goose), a dish which is

rarely served today and

based on the conservation

of goose cuts in their fat.

3 4

1 Typical products

2 Schissotto bread

3 Bondiola sausage

4 Typical Wine-cellar

of the Euganean Hills

5 Jujubes specialities

6 Polverara hen

7 Padovana hen

8 Veneto Berico Euganeo

Raw Sweet Ham

9 Old crafts, besoms

10 Grape-gathering time

6

5

7

8

The traditional list

of desserts includes

the zaleti (biscuits made

with maize porridge flour)

and the Pazientini, biscuits

made with almonds

and hazel-nuts.

The south-eastern area

of the Paduan Province,

the so called Saccisica,

a green land characterised

by wide expanses of fields

and a huge number

of farms, is the reign

of the Friularo Wine and

of poultry. Ducks, geese,

wild ducks, but above all the famous Polverara hen, which,

together with the Paduan hen are considered the best Italian

chickens. The closeness to the lagoon influences the cuisine

of the area. It is not rare to find restaurants which include in

their menus fish specialties (both sea and river fish, but also

frogs), together with game or roasts. Dishes made with horse

or pony meat are a peculiar culinary tradition of this territory.

The typical dishes of the Alta Padovana (northern part

of the Province) are strictly linked to the local tradition

and based on seasonal products. Here the polenta is truly

queen, also in its sweet version (polentina). Even though

in this part of the province there is a great fervour

of gastronomic initiative, there survives a widespread

respect to tradition and it is still possible to find polenta

e osei (polenta with small quail birds cooked on a spit),

arna rosta (roasted duck), marsoni fritti (fried fish),

and the luccio (pike) of the Brenta river.

Dishes of game, baccalà and radicchio (lettuce-type

vegetable but purplish red in colour) are also frequently

served in this area. The abundance of water and the wide

extent of permanent meadows encourage the production

of excellent cheese, such as Asiago, Montasio

and Grana Padano.

Arts and Crafts.

9 10

Padua and its province boast a rich tradition of handicrafts - it

can truly be considered an “artisan province”.

The origins of all the main handicraft sectors, such

as ironwork, copperwork (wrought and embossed), casting

copper (the Situla Benvenuti displayed at the Atestino

National Museum is a pre-Roman masterpiece of copper

working). Other distinctive crafts of the area are the enamel

painting of home accessories, the ceramics production

(of great value the Estensi’s ones), the production

of wooden furniture, the restoration

of antique furniture (this activity is very

diffused in the Montagnana area).

A great importance has also the jewellery

sector. The textile craft, which was

the main source of Paduan

medieval economy, continues

in a springing up of knitwear

and textile factories, needle-work

and tanning.

Typical handicrafts can be admired

on the occasion of the numerous

arts&crafts exhibitions and fairs

or during local feasts and festivals,

when great attention is often dedicated

to this sector.

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