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.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Porta Altinate Padua

13th century gate is a popular way to enter the city 

One of Padua’s only two remaining medieval gates, Porta Altinate, provides a way into the centre of the city for thousands of people each day.
The 13th century Porta Altinate

Padua’s tram stops on Riviera dei Ponti Romani and when passengers get off they can quickly walk through Porta Altinate to reach the two main squares, Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta.

Porta Altinate was one of the gates in the walls built around Padua in the 13th century to protect the city from hostile attacks.

The walls were constructed on the orders of the comune of Padua and there are still a few remnants of them left in parts of the city.

In 1256, Porta Altinate was stormed and destroyed by troops fighting to overthrow the notorious tyrant Ezzelino III da Romano. It was the day the hated ruler finally lost his power over the city. 

The gate was rebuilt in 1286 and the event is recorded in an inscription by the historian, Conte Carlo Leoni, on a memorial stone under the archway.

Porta Altinate’s lookout tower has since been reduced in height and the gate now stands between modern buildings.

Looking at it from Piazza Garibaldi, the gate would once have been reflected in the waters of a canal behind it, but this was filled in to create the section of road called Riviera dei Ponti Romani, which was named in honour of the Roman bridges which now lie below the surface of the road.
Monument to Alvise Pisani

Inside the archway is a monument in baroque style to Alvise Pisani, who was captain of Padua from 1686 to 1687 and then became Doge of the Republic of Venice. The monument was the work of artists studying in Padua at the time.

But the intricately carved stonework is probably missed by many of the pedestrians and cyclists who are in a hurry to pass through the gate each day on their way into Padua.

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