Ancient village where the Petrarch has lived until his death
The medieval village of Arquà Petrarca also known as “Borgo del Poeta – Village of the Poet” is located in the Province of Padua at an altitude of 80 meters. In 1868, “Petrarch” was added to the original name of “Arquà” who chose to live the last years of his life dazzled by the beauty and silence of these places. The village, nestled among the Euganean Hills, preserves its eternal medieval beauty. Thanks to some archaeological discovery at the end of ‘800, emerged that the village has very ancient origins of the Bronze Age developed on Rive della Costa.
At the time of Emperor Augustus it was inhabited by the ancient Venetians. The first evidence of the village dating back to 985 shows the presence of a castrum (fort) set on a hill that now bears the name of Monte Castello in memory of the disappeared forts. In ‘200, the town became a fiefdom of the Marchesi d’Este (Este Marquess), and thereafter was placed into Padova political path. Upgraded to the high rank of vicar by the Carrarese’s Signoria, its real fortune arrived after the Tuscany Poet decided to settle down with his daughter Francesca (with her family). The spreading presence about the Petrarch was a motivation for some aristocratic families coming from Venice and Padua (Contarini, Pisani, Capodivacca) to build their luxury houses.
Around 1405, the Urban planning of the village was completed remaining the same until the present days. With the fall of the Venetian Republic, Arquà gradually lost its arqua-petrarca-venetoinfluence. Only in 1866, after Veneto was enclosed into Italy, it gained back the reputation by acquiring the Municipality. In 1364, in occasion of some treatments against scabies at the city of Abano the Poet found Arquà.
In 1369, Francesco il Vecchio, gave to the Petrarch, that since 1365 had become canon (priest) at the collegiate of Monselice, a piece of land where to build his home. Petrarch lived in Arquà from 1370 to 1374 – year of his death. Its remains are kept into a red marble Ark placed at the centre of the village on the parvise of Santa Maria’s church.
The village is defined by winding ramps that lead from the down village to the high one, stone houses, old wash, drinking trough and the Petrarch’s fountain, so called even if it was built in two hundred. You reach the churchyard of the chiesa arcipretale (church) of Santa Maria Assunta built after the year thousand, enlarged and embellished by a Byzantine painting. Inside, the canvas representing the Ascension of Palma il Giovane (the young). In the middle of the churchyard, the 1380 red marble Verona Ark containing the remains of Petrarch. On the higher part of the village is located Piazza Petrarca (square) and the Venetian Gothic Palazzo Contarini built in the fifteenth century.
Along the adjacent (via Roma) you arrive at Villa Alessi, a building dated back to 1330 and restored in 1789. At the end of the climb, the Oratory of SS. Trinity with the Loggia dei Vicari which, in the past, was decorated with Padua noble coat of arms who run Arquà on behalf of the Serenissima. The Oratory, built with a thatched hut, houses a painting by Palma il Giovane (1626) and some frescoes. The 1612 Veneto Lion Column goes into Via Valleselle from where you reach the Petrarch’s house submerged into the greenery and surrounded by vegetable gardens himself cultivated. The soggetta and the frescoes inspired to the poet’s works were added to the house in the ‘500.
In May takes place the traditional arts and crafts ancient medieval festival. In October, the thirty-year tradition feast of Giuggiola with shows, music, dance, and appearances to experience the originality of ancient traditions vanished in time. Olive trees are cultivated in the village and in the nearby Euganean hills where a special oil is produced and celebrated in November.