Chioggia, the “Little Venice”
Chioggia is an island an one of the busiest fishing ports on the Venetian Lagoon. At the heart of the historic center is a pedestrian street surrounded with shops, cafés and nice seafood restaurants. Attractions not to miss in Chioggia are:
– Its nice beaches and the promenade along the coast
– The fish market, not far from the Town Hall. It is open all mornings except on Mondays
– Chiesa di San Domenico, a beautiful church which sits on its own little island, contains art from many well know artist like Carpaccio, Tintoretto and Bassano, and a the oldest venerated wooden crucifix in the world
– Corso del Popolo: the pedestrian area that leads to the touristic harbor
Curzio Malaparte defined the town as the “the greatest café of Europe”, thanks to its vivacious lifestyle. At almost every hour of the day it is crowded with people walking around the narrow “calli”, streets and arches.
Ferrara’s most famous image is certainly that of its grand Renaissance, the age of splendor of the Estense court. From 1995 on, UNESCO has included the historical centre of Ferrara in the list of World Cultural Heritage as a wonderful example of a town planned in the Renaissance and still keeping its historical centre intact.
National Archaeological Museum – This museum testifies to the ancient archaeological history of the whole province. Of world importance are the exhibits from Spina, an Etruscan port that flourished between the 6th and 3rd centuries BC and a major Etruscan site of the whole region. The exhibition also contains grave furniture found in some of the four thousand plus tombs in necropolises scattered throughout the nearby Trebba and Pega Valleys.
Openings: Tuesday-Sunday from 9am to 2pm, closed Jan 1 & Dec 25
Via XX Settembre, 122 – Ferrara. Tel. +39 0532.66299
Palazzo dei Diamanti – Named for the unusual shape of the over 8,500 marble blocks on the façade, Palazzo dei Diamanti is one of the most famous Renaissance buildings in the world. Construction began in 1493, with the palazzo located in the ideal centre of the so-called “Addizione Erculea”, one of the most important and beautiful examples of Renaissance city planning. The palazzo was acquired by the city of Ferrara in 1832. On the ground floor are living quarters and spaces where the major temporary exhibitions organized by Ferrara Arte and the Gallerie d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Ferrara are held, while the first floor hosts the collections of the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Ferrara. Info and openings: www.palazzodiamanti.it
Via delle Volte – It’s like to jump in the Medieval Time thanks to the “Volte” that characterize this road. A superb walk in a photographer’s paradise, one of the Most Ancient Medieval road in Europe. Not to miss for Art and Architecture Lovers!
Castello Estense – In 1385, a dangerous revolt convinced Niccolò II d’Este of the need to erect mighty defences for himself and his family thus the Castello di San Michele was built, a fortress erected against the people. Its imposing proportions, its moat, its drawbridges and its towers date back to that remote period. An elevated covered passageway, which still exists, joined the military building to the marquises’ Palace, today Palazzo Municipale. Centuries went by and the risk of riots died down. And so the castle became the magnificent residence of the court and was embellished with roof terraces at the top of the towers, marble balconies, the Renaissance style courtyard (at the time fully frescoed) and sumptuous apartments. The imposing towers stand out at the four corners of the Castle, symbols of the magnificence of the Este Family: the Torre di Santa Caterina; the splendid Torre dei Leoni, from which it is possible to admire the panorama of Ferrara (you can climb to the top of it during the visit of the Castle); the Torre Marchesana; the Torre di San Paolo. Info and openings: www.castelloestense.it
This is an itinerary thought if you have just one day to spend in Padova: just some hours to have a view of the city and you will come back soon for sure!
The tour starts in Piazza Radin, where you can easily park your car. From here, you can start your walk and admire the Prato della Valle, one of the biggest square of Europe. In the immediate vicinity, the St. Justine Cathedral, a huge Renaissance building. Now walk down along via L. Belludi, to get to St.Anthony Basilica, a worldwide known pilgrim destination, one of the symbols of the city. Near to the Basilica, you can reach Bothanic Garden, a Unesco heritage site. Walk down to via del Santo: you will pass in front of Palazzo Zabarella, a successful painters – exhibitions venue, and then by Antenore tomb, the legendary founder of the city.
Palazzo della Ragione is also worth visiting. You will be astonished by the frescos and wooden ceiling of this stunning building. Shortly after you can admire the Palazzo del Bo’, the ancient University, today the location of the Faculty of Law. A quick coffee in the historic Caffè Pedrocchi is recommended., and then further down to Cavour Square and Via Altinate.
The Scrovegni Chapel, in Padua, is a masterpiece in the history of painting in Italy and Europe in the 14th century, is considered to be the most complete series of frescoes executed by Giotto in his mature age.
Reservation is compulsory, and must be made at least 24h in advance – Info on: www.cappelladegliscrovegni.it
Medieval and Walled Cities around Padua
The small villages concealing great treasures are the walled cities of the province of Padua.
A walk through the narrow streets and squares enclosed by mighty medieval walls is a blast into the past and into history. In Cittadella, Monselice, Este, Arquà Petrarca and Montagnana the hands of time have stopped and we invite you to experience the magical and mysterious atmosphere of the Middle Ages, while discovering traces of the 13th century and relics from the period of the Carrara family.
Cittadella, the only village in Europe with an elliptical layout, is located about 30 km north of Padua. Here visitors can walk the ancient chemin de ronde (guard patrol path) and see the city and the view from a strategic point, 14 meters above ground level.
Monselice has been called “the door to the Euganean Hills” since ancient times, thus an area where the hills meet the plain. The historical presence of the tyrant Ezzelino III da Romano is still visible in the walls, the castle and the Mastio (Keep). Monselice was later softened by the presence of Venetian nobles.
The beautiful Este is about 20 km from here, to the south-west of Padua. In the large Castle garden, a venue for shows and events, visitors can rest after a walk through the old town and a visit to the Museo Nazionale Atestino (National Museum of Este).
Montagnana is one of the most beautiful walled cities in Italy. The medieval city walls that extend for nearly 2 Km are preserved virtually intact and enclose the elegant city centre. It is located about 50 km from Padua.
Arquà Petrarca is the borough that the poet Francesco Petrarca chose to spend his last years (1370-1374). The narrow lanes that climb the gentle slopes of the hills reveal a magical atmosphere, made of medieval palaces and villas celebrating the Venetian past. Here everything honours the memory of Francesco Petrarca: his house, his tomb, a sarcophagus of red Verona marble.
Discover the walled cities and their traditions and let yourself be drawn into the historical pageants! In September Montagnana, Monselice and Cittadella offer a trip back to Medieval times with parades in period costume, flag throwers, jesters and minstrels.