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Discover the wonders of Montagnana (Padova) with GUIDATOUR’s audioguides

Montagnana is a fortified village like no others in Europe. Its perfectly preserved fourteenth-century walls surround the historical center for 2 km . Like an oyster with its shell, the walls enclose old churches and sophisticated noble palaces. Its fortifications and palaces tell the story of the town. The walls, the Castle of San San Zeno, the Fortress of the Trees tell us about the Middle Ages, when Montagnana was a strategic stronghold at the borders of the Paduan territories. That was the time of the fight between Papacy and Empire. A time of violence which Montagnana lived under the domination of the controversial figure of Ezzelino III Da Romano. At the same time, the walls are a memory of the domination of the Lords Da Carrara, lords of Padua, who completed the amazing city walls with its 24 towers, and its orange red colour stand out on the green moat. The palaces inside the city walls, and the Duomo as well, are the remnants of the Republic of Venice ‘ La serenissima’ which spread its dominations to these lands at the beginning of the 15th century. During the Venetian domination, Montagnana looked like a quiet and wealthy lady which had dismissed her armour and could enjoy the comfort of her vacation, the fruits of the Holy Agriculture. She could also enojoy the view of some works of art of important artists that came from Venice like Andrea Palladio (the author of Villa Pisani Placco, right outside Porta Padua), Paolo Veronese, Alessandro Vittoria, and before them Zorzi di Castelfranco also known as Giorgione. All through the centuries, Montagnana has preserved its cultural heritage: the historical center was hold in the past, while more recent houses were built in the surroundings, next to a fertile countryside which was once cultivated with corn, hemp, vine and wheat. Nowadays Montagnana is renowned not only for its historical and artistic beauties, but also for the Prosciutto Veneto Berico Euganeo D.O.P., a particular ham characterized by its sweet taste and a soft texture which make it unique among the Italian gastronomy products.

The walking tour around and inside the Wall Town is one of the most popular for tourists. Easily practicable, it leads to visit the old settlement of Marostica, Borgo (Borough) Giara, with ist rema of the first Hospital and the craft sites for the production of silk yarn. The early Our Lady of Assumption Church and Prospero Alpini birthplace, who brought the Coffee to Europe at the end of the Sixteenth Century, are still exisiting as witness of many historical events.Leaving Borgo Giara, walk into the Walled Town through the Gate “Bassano”, to discover the Medieval Town, settled by Romano d’Ezzelino who built the Mastio, fortified by the Family Della Scala of Verona with the mighty Wall and the two Castles. The visit continues going up to the Upper Castle along the path on Pausolino Hill: once you reach the summit you can enjoy a breathtaking view, ranging from the plains to the mountains.

The imposing Fortress of the Trees was built under the Carraresi domination between 1360 and 1362. This impregnable military fortress could face any attack thanks to its complex system of drawbridges, portcullises and timber doors which made it almost impossible to reach the mastio, the nevralgic center of the stronghold. Over the entrance of the town stood out the coats of arms of the municipality of Padua, of the Carraresi and of Francesco the Old: only the symbol of the municipality of Padua was not erased by the Venetians. Walking along the inside of the northern part of the walls, there are some pictoresque and colourful little houses which were build in the 18th century next to the walls.

Vittorio Emanuele square is overlooked by the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, built between 1431 and 1502. This is the symbol of the Venetian time, and like a trunk it safeguards some exquisite works of art. On the counter-façade there are two frescoes of David and Judith which have been attributed to Giorgione. In the left aisle there is a Lepanto Battle painting and the unique astrological frescoes of the late 15th century Rosary Chapel. The altarpiece with Christ’s transfiguration was made by Paolo Veronese in his youth, in 1555. In the cathedral there also many works by Buonconsiglio from Vicenza.