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Padua in the Middle Ages


The Middle Ages were the pre-eminent period of castle-towns. Feudal villages close up, form satellite villages and organize fortresses with soldiers.


Many examples of medieval fortified towns still survive in the county of Padua, offering a wealth of styles of fortified defensive structures that make the Padua territory one of the most interesting areas in Europe from this point of view.


Powerful historical signs, the imposing defensive bulwarks, with their castels and strongholds, still resound with the echoes of the charming and mysterious medieval world. Past centres of wealth and power, their stern look hides unexpected art treasures.

Padua, the county town, preserves significant portions of its city walls; while in the south-west of the county, along a major communication road and at a short distance one from the other there rise Monselice, Este, and Montagnana, true jewels from the Middle Ages. North of Padua is Cittadella with its perfectly preserved elliptical city walls.



In Monselice, the severe Citadel built under Emperor Frederic II dominates the plain and the built-up area below from the top of the fortified hill. The crenellated walls and the powerful castle, with its vast collection of weapons and suits of armour, recall the strategic importance played by this small town in the Middle Ages. The Giostra della Rocca, or the Citadel Joust, is a spectacular festival organized every year on the third Sunday of September, to recall the days spent by emperor Frederick II in Monselice; this event sees the participation of the town inhabitants in games and celebrations that still rouse the enthusiasm of citizens and tourists.
Information: IAT Monselice (tourist office) tel. +39 0429 783026



Este was an important Paleovenetian settlement, and precious finds are kept in its museum Museo Nazionale Atestino; in the Middle Ages it was one of the major fortified centres to control the territory. It preserves the remains of the imposing castle built by Ubertino da Carrara between 1338 and 1339, and surrounded by city walls for a length of 1,000 meters. These city walls are enriched with 12 towers and enclose a public park.
Information: IAT Este (tourist office) tel. +39 0429 600462



Montagnana is one of the most beautiful walled cities in Italy; its city walls built in the Middle Ages are practically intact still: their two-kilometre circumference contains the town centre. The imposing crenellated walls were made stronger with 24 hexagonal towers and sturdy castles as the Castle of St. Zeno, the most ancient town core probably dating before the year One Thousand, and now housing the Town Museum; and the Rocca degli Alberi, now used for the Youth Hostel, a masterpiece of military engineering under the rule of the da Carrara family. Every year on the first Sunday of September, the 10 villages of the old Sculdascia compete for the pallium during the thrilling Palio di Montagnana.
Information: IAT Montagnana (tourist office) tel. +39 0429 81320



The fourth walled city, Cittadella, is located nearly 30 km north of Padua. In the whole European scenario it stands out as an exceptional example of a walled village in the plains, designed since its inception with an elliptical perimeter. Cittadella still preserves its city walls intact. A strategic military outpost to defend Padua against attacks from the north, the construction of the city walls began in 1220 and included 32 towers. The four main towers defend the four gates that take inside the town. The Tower of Malta, built for Porta Padova, was a prison and was mentioned by Dante in his Divina Commedia (Paradise, IX, 54).
Information: IAT Cittadella (tourist office) tel. +39 049 9404485



Of the city walls built in the Middle Ages from 1195 to bound the ancient Roman island, and of its subsequent extensions there remain some precious examples (including 3 gates), while the city walls built in the Renaissance, in the first half of the Sixteenth century, are almost entirely preserved for a length of 11 km roughly, with 20 ramparts and 6 gates left. The Renaissance city walls were built after the siege of Padua in 1509, when the imperial troops of Maximilian of Austria took the town during the war of the League of Cambrai. The town was freed immediately, but the risk it had run led the Senate of Venice to order that the city walls be rebuilt totally. Works started in 1523 under the direction of Bartolomeo d'Alviano, general captain in the Serenissima Republic, then continued under Michele Sanmicheli and were concluded in 1544. According to the contemporaries this complex defensive system based on impressive walls and ramparts, an outstanding example of the military engineering of the time, made of Padua an impregnable town.

For further information on events celebrating the Middle Ages please visit



Touristic Itineraries
Padova Città  d'arte

Padua as the art city

A classic route in the squares and the monuments of great historical and cultural interest

Padova, Città  degli affreschi

Padua, the City of Frescoes

The frescoes of the fourtheenth century, Giotto and the Giotteschi

Padova navigazione  turistica

Padua and tourist navigation

Boat tours of the Venetian Villas along the Brenta Riviera, and in the canals of Padua

Padova  medievale

Padua in the Middle Ages

History and the Middle Ages in Padua and in the walled cities that rise in its territory

Padova Ville e  Castelli

Padova e i castelli

Gli imponenti baluardi difensivi, roccaforti e castelli padovani

Musei Padova Orto  Botanico

Padua as the city of science

The old University, the Botanic Garden, the Specola, and science museums

Chiese Padova Abbazia  Praglia

Padua as the city of the Saint, the city of faith

The places of faith: churches, chapels, monasteries, and abbeys

Padova  Enogastronomia

Padua, a city to taste

The century-old gastronomic tradition of Padua amidst vegetable gardens, farmyards, and vineyards

Colli Euganei

The Euganeans Hills

A natural oasis at the heart 

of the Veneto plain

Giardini Storici  Padova

Historical gardens and ancient parks

The oldest gardens in the territory, examples of culture and civilization

Strada Vino  Colli Euganei

The Wine Road in the Euganean Hills

A food-and-wine heaven where local species of grapes merge with local food products

Golf Club Padova


Four Golf Clubs only few kilometres from Padua, in the green of the Euganean Hills, feature excellent design and top-level equipment

Regione  Veneto