Hidden treasures

Prato della Valle in Padua

Historical Curiosities
prato-della-valle

Prato della Valle in Padua

Probably only the inhabitants of Padua and a few other people know of a particular record their city is boasting about: having the largest square in Europe!

Prato della Valle has in fact an area of 88620 m²: it is characterized by a central elliptical island, called Memmia island (about 20 000 m²), surrounded by a small channel (fed by the Alicorno canal) on whose banks there is a double ring of statues; the outer circumference is 1450 m.

In the Roman and early Middle Ages, the area was known as Campo di Marte or Campo Marzio because it was used as a place for military exercises, among other functions. Subsequently the area was referred to as 'Valle del Mercato', for the markets and seasonal fairs held here, and as 'Prato di Santa Giustina' in relation to the presence of the church of the same name.

In the Middle Ages, the term Pratum was used to indicate a large space intended for commercial uses that, if not paved, often could also be covered with grass; the term Valle means 'bassura' (i.e. low land) and 'marshy place'.

Its current appearance was conceived by the administrator Andrea Memmo in 1775, who designed the creation of a central island surrounded by an artificial elliptical canal surrounded by a double ring of statues. The island was built by transporting 10,000 wagons of earth to fill the central depression of the lawn and prevent the stagnation of water and the swamping that periodically affected the area. The island immediately took the name of Memmia in honor of its creator.

In addition to Prato della Valle, Padua holds many treasures worth discovering! Book now your private tour of Padua, choose the itinerary you prefer and set out on a discovery of this wonderful city accompanied by our brilliant local guide!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: 'Duri i banchi!': the meaning of a famous motto in Venice

duri-i-banchi
Figures of speech

The Venetians are a people of workers, proud and deeply attached to their city, and for these reasons, they never surrender to hardship...

View

Venice: Coronavirus is not (fortunately) Venice’s new plague

peste
Historical Curiosities

As recently as a month ago the Coronavirus or COVID-19 started to affect our lives causing much disruption. It appeared precisely in ou...

View

Venice: History of the Queen of Venice Carnival: Frittella!

Frittelle_di_carnevale
Local Traditions

It is Carnival time...and what could be better than biting into a soft and tasty Venetian frittella? Frittella, ‘fritoea or fritola...

View

Venice: The legend of Melusina and the stone heart of Sotoportego dei Preti

Melusina
Mysteries & Legends

February: the feast of lovers is approaching and you are thinking of relishing magical experiences together with your better half in Ve...

View

Top posts

Chioggia: The Valley of the Seven Dead Men

casone-millecampi-detto-casone-dei-sette-morti
Mysteries & Legends

Halloween is just around the corner: have you already got into the fascinating terrifying aura of the scariest party of the year? No ye...

View

Venice: The stone heart of St Mark’s Basilica

cuore-erizzo
Unknown places & works

If you are visiting St Mark’s Basilica and have just abandoned the wonderful vision of the Pala d'Oro (which is a must-see), just a f...

View

Venice: Map of Venice, what to know before you leave

mappa-venezia
Did you know that...

Did you know that Venice is not a single large island but rather a collection of 117 small islands linked together by over 400 bridges?...

View

Verona: The roman walls of Verona

porta-borsari
Historical Curiosities

Verona has always been considered a city of considerable importance from a military point of view: being at the mouth of the Adige Vall...

View