Padua / Surroundings

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Monselice

Inhabited since prehistoric times, the Roman Mons Silicis, named after the prized stone quarries which furnished the Empire and later the Venetians with their raw building material, is a multi-faceted city lying southwest of Padua.

The air and landscape are alive with the Middle Ages, and allow the imagination to wander freely through the age of chivalry, duels, knights and damsels - as in every medieval town, the deeds and legends of the past are handed down to every new generation, thus preserving the flame of the imagination as much for the inhabitants as for visitors.

Of course the town offers much of the Renaissance as well, and indeed successive periods, and yet nonetheless the imposing presence of the past mingles effortlessly with the present: the medieval cobbled streets contain elegant modern shop windows, blending in with perfect harmony.

The dominant voice in this harmony of palazzi, baroque monuments and new edifices was the Fortress, which also unites the ruins of the castle and indeed the spirits of the lovers Jacopino da Carrara and Judith.

The impregnable city walls, which protected Monselice until the 19th century, slowly grew under the innumerable and various rulers of the city, from the Longobards to Ezzelino, from the Carraresi to the Venetians. Today, little remains of these walls in the aftermath of modern urban redevelopment and the opening up of the city, but their noble and ruined façade still invites discovery.

A visit to the city should start with the Loggia, the Civic Tower and the museum of Ca' Marcello (named after the Venetian family who were the last owners of the castle), continuing onto the 13th century Cathedral of Santa Giustina, Villa Duodo, the church of San Giorgio on the devotional route of the 'seven churches', and finally to the Fortress itself, which dominates the hillside.