Italiaoutdoors Travel Guide to Italy

Arqua Petrarca | Padova Province

Communita di Arqua Petrarca


Arqua Petrarca

Why did Francesco Petrarch choose this village to spend his last years peacefully? Time seems to stand still in Arquà with narrow lanes, that climb the slopes of the hills, made of medieval palaces and villas celebrating the Venetian past. Arquà sits at the foot of the Castello and Ventolone hills of the Euganie, about 21 km from Padova.

Here everything honours the memory of Francesco Petrarch. His house retains its 14th century character (the small loggia with two arches was added in 1546) and contains a collection of works and objects that belonged to the poet laureate, while the square houses his tomb: a sarcophagus of red Verona marble. The church of S. Maria, built just after the year 1000, was expanded and embellished with paintings. Of particular interest is the painting by Palma il Giovane (Young Palma).

The Touring Club has awarded this spectacular medieval town the title of "Orange Flag" for the value of its historical and cultural resources that are widely available and well preserved.

But Arquà Petrarca is famous throughout the world for a curious fruit, the jujube, a sweet autumn fruit that comes from far away lands and has found an excellent habitat in the sunny slopes of the Euganean Hills. It is celebrated in the month of October during the Feast of the Jujube

In Piazza San Marco you can see the Holy Trinity oratory, a church that was dear to Petrarch, containing a seventeenth-century wooden altar and another altarpiece by Palma the Younger. The Loggia of the Vicari is adjacent to the church and is decorated with the crests of the noble Paduan rectors. A visit to the house in which Petrarch lived is a must for those who come to Arquà. The house is surrounded by a charming garden and still holds a series of historic relics and some of the Poet's works.

If you continue to stroll the streets of the town, you will see Villa Alessi, the current venue for concerts and events, Casa Strozzi, now an art gallery, and Villa Rova, a typical example of a Venetian villa of the 1400s. Villa Centanin hosts a permanent exhibition of antique pianos and is home to concerts, including a classical music festival.

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