Elegant Padova -- known in English as Padua -- is home to an ancient university, a Basilica that is an important centre for pilgrims and a chapel containing one of the world’s greatest art treasures. Use this website to help you plan a visit to this fascinating northern Italian city and find your way to the other beautiful towns and villages in the Veneto that are perhaps less well known to tourists.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Palazzo della Ragione dominates centre of Padova

The Palazzo della Ragione dominates
Padova's market squares

In the medieval heart of Padova, the enormous Palazzo della Ragione (palace of reason) separates the two market squares, the Piazza delle Erbe and the Piazza della Frutta.
The palace was built at the beginning of the 13th century to house the court of justice on the upper floor and to provide space for shops under the porticos at ground level.
Inside the building, there is a vast main hall, known locally as il Salone. It is believed to be the largest medieval hall in the world, measuring an impressive 80m (260 ft) long by 27m (90 ft) wide.
The palace was enlarged in 1306 by the addition of external loggias and the building of the current roof, which is in the shape of a ship’s keel. Although the building was damaged by fire in the 15th century and a tornado in the 18th century, it has remained an impressive landmark at the hub of commercial activity in Padova.
The squares on either side of the palace are lined with fascinating shops, bars, restaurants and historic buildings and have been the locations for the city’s food market for more than 800 years.

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