Welcome in Monselice!
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Monselice (from the latin word Monsilicis=hill of the stone, relating to the stone extraction activity in this area) developed starting from the Roman age, when the Rocca Hill became a major stronghold, the evidence of which is the still existing tower on the top of the Monselice hill, which was implemented in the 7th century by the Lombards.
In the 13th century the defensive walls protecting the town were enlarged by Emperor Frederick II of Swabia who also ordered the construction of some imposing buildings which are still existing and open to the public. After having being a territory contended by nearby powerful families it was finally conquered by the Serenissima Republic of Venice at the beginning of the 15th century. The Venetian domination lasted four centuries during which many noble mansions (villas) and the famous Sacred Way of the Seven Churches were built. The beautiful promenade that unfolds from Piazza Mazzini to Frederick’s Tower on the top of the hill allows the view of main sights of the town: the Civic Tower, the former Saint Paul’s Church (now Museum), the Castle, Villa Nani, the Church of St. Justine, the Sanctuary of the Seven Churches and Villa Duodo. Beside this main monumental mile, Monselice boasts a number of villas scattered on the country out of the centre such as Villa Pisani, in Palladian style with 16th century frescoes, Villa Emo, a work by Vincenzo Scamozzi famous for its historical garden, the Lispida Castle, a former ancient monastery later transformed into private mansion, to name a few. Monselice is crossed by the Euganean Hill Circuit, a 68 km cycling path which follows the perimeter of the Euganean Hills Park. For trekking lovers a walking path signposted by the Regional Park of the Euganean Hills starts from Monselice and develops amid woods of chestnuts and oaks alternating with mediterranean vegetation and beautiful views on the surrounding hills and plain. Every year in September a great event named La Giostra della Rocca recalls the extraordinary feast days that accompanied the stay of Frederick II in Monselice in the year 1239. The nine Contradas challenge themselves in competitions and proofs of strengths. Over two thousand persons dressed in medieval costumes give life to the medieval market and the beautiful parade that winds through the streets of the city for hours. Welcome to Monselice!
At the foot of Colle della Rocca lies an imposing architectonic complex named Castello Cini, which includes various types of buildings. Between the 11th and the 16th century the castle was first a stately home, then a defensive tower and finally it became a Venetian villa. The complex consists of four main nuclei: the oldest part is the Romanesque House (11th century) which together with Castelletto (12th century) formed the first inhabited nucleus.
Along the Santuario Street that leads to the Sanctuary of the Seven Churches of Monselice lies the ancient Pieve di Santa Giustina, commonly called “Duomo Vecchio”. Built from 1256 and completed twenty years later, at the wish of Cardinal Simone Paltanieri, then Archpriest of Monselice, it presents a late Romanesque style with Gothic decorative elements. Inside there are valuable works of art, including the Madonna of Humility and the fifteenth-century polyptych of Venetian school depicting Saint Justine and Saint Prosdocimo with some Saints. In its many years of history, the Pieve also hosted the famous poet Francesco Petrarca as canonical.
San Paolo Museum is set up in the monumental complex of Saint Paul’s Church in Monselice, one of the oldest sites in town, dating back to 750 AD.
Since 1985, several maintenance works and archaeological excavations have been carried out and, in 2006 the adequately restored complex has been opened to the public.
In 2013 thanks to public funding and the determination of the Municipal Administration of Monselice works were started to transform the site into the town museum. The museum was inaugurated on March 11, 2017, a museum that, besides preserving and exhibiting important archaeological finds from the municipal territory represents a cultural center able to keep alive its identity among the residents, so as to promote it among the many visitors, students, tourists, researchers and experts, pilgrims and webmasters who visit Monselice every year.