Padua / Surroundings

Arquà Petrarca

Arquà Petrarca

This small town, sheltered in the green silence of the Euganean Hills, has lived through more than 2000 years of history but now remains shrouded in the Middle Ages.

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There is something magical about the atmosphere which surrounds Arquà Petrarca, a quality which one believes could be found in the very soul of the poet himself, Francesco Petrarch, who chose to spend the last years of his life here, and something which since the fifteen hundreds has sought to preserve itself from the modern era, enshrouded in the dense woods and glades of the area.

The town has changed little since then. Once known simply as Arquada, today it bears the name of the poet whose house and final remains are still preserved here. At the centre of the square from which all the town spreads forth the body of the poet rests in a striking monument: a red marble arch from Verona of clearly pre-Christian inspiration, adorned with a 15th century bust of the poet.

Petrarch's house remains of course the main cultural attraction for the visitor to this artistic city. It was constructed on land apparently given to him by Francesco da Carrara of Padua, and was his home from 1370 until 1374, writing, reading and studying, immersed deep in the countryside of beech and chestnut trees, with only his daughter Francesca and his cat for company. The house has undergone several periods of restoration, and yet still preserves its original quiet and charm: the great poet's chair, writing desk and library are still imbued with the spirit of his thoughts and immortal works.

Other noteworthy places for the visitor include the parish church, originally constructed in the 11th century and remodelled in the 17th, which houses a Palma il Giovane, a 14th century polyptych, and medieval frescoes, the oratory of the Holy Trinity, which dates back to the 12th century and was extended in the 14th, and, opposite this, the Loggia del Vicari.