Lush vegetation, Monasteries and Abbeys
The volcanic Euganean Hills are located a few kilometers from Padua in the heart of the Po Valley. In 1989, they became the first Veneto Regional Park which includes fifteen municipalities with a total area of 18,694 hectares. The Euganean Hills Maquis shrubland consists of a dense vegetation of plants with low stalk as the “quercus ilex, strawberry tree, erica arborea, the cistus, pistacia terebinthus, broom, hardy asparagus and creeping prickly-pear”.
The chestnut tree wood grows on the siliceous ground of volcanic slopes towards the north. The brushwood is represented by many herbaceous species with a premature flowering such as: the “snowdrop, the hellebore, the narcissus and the rare lilium martagon and lilium bulbiferum”. The thermophilous oak forest covers the slopes exposed to the south. The oak forest is open and bright and comes as a mixed forest with the quercus pubescens, cercis siliquastrum or judas tree, celtis australis, sorbus torminalis and cotinus coggygria, while the soft undergrowth is full of “humus” (chemical component of the soil derived from a process of decomposition and reworking of organic matter) containing the hawthorn, heather, juniper and privet.
The Euganean Hills fauna is composed of small mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds as well as wild boars (illegally introduced), which over the years have increased to the detriment of the surrounding crops. Monte Venda, with its 601 meters above sea level, is the highest area of the Euganean Hills used as site installation for radio and TV repeaters. They are also known for their famous cultivation and production of wine and various typical food products.
In the area there are Hermitages, Abbeys and Monasteries that adorn the rich soil countryside of the Euganean Hills. Among the most important: the Monte della Madonna which stands on top of the mountain with a small adjoining monastery dating back 1253. In the southern, the charming oratory of Sant’Antonio Abate inhabited between the VIII° and IX° century from Santa Felicita, hermit and mysticism whose remains are preserved in the church of Santa Giustina in Padua. The “covolo” (local denomination) for a cave with remains of the foundations of a monastery of the Middle Ages.