Fortified wall still intact
The town of Montagnana is located in the Province of Padua. The city is known for its fortified structure, streets and buildings of the Renaissance period. The Cathedral of International Gothic and Renaissance period was built between 1431 and 1502. Another older church dates back to the XI° century is located on the square. Inside, representation the Transfiguration of Paolo Veronese, three tables of Giovanni Buonconsiglio, alternate name “Marescalco” of the sixteenth century and a votive painting representing the battle of Lepanto in 1571. The walls are enriched with decorations and fresco including Buonconsiglio apse and the Judith and David del Giorgione.
Palazzo Valeri and the Monte di Pietà are located on the town square. The Palace Magnavin-Fioratti in Gothic-Venetian style, situated in via Matteotti, seems to have been the residence of Jacopa, wife of the leader Erasmo of Narni, known as “Gattamelata”. The Town Hall, built in 1532, by the Veronese architect Michele Sanmicheli is in via Carrarese.
The late Romanesque church of San Francesco, near the Monastery of Poor Ladies is located in via Scaligera. Near Porta Padova, the Villa Pisani by architect Andrea Palladio with inside statues of Alessandro Vittoria, Venetian sculptor (1525-1608). The ancient hospital of Santa Maria and the little Church of San Antonio Abate with presence of Templar are in via dei Montagnana.
Esteemed monuments are the city walls which represent one of the most famous and best preserved medieval military architecture in Europe, the Rocca degli Alberi built by the Carraresi with a military function between 1360/1362 – and the Castello of San Zeno whose name derives from the nearby church of San Zeno and residence of heirs of the Ugo il Grande di Toscana, the Marquis. The structure was composed of towers (only two of them exist) and the close Mastio with a height of forty meters. The works of early medieval fortification done in the tenth century AD in defense of the Hungarians, were mostly built by embankments, fences, ditches and barriers composed of pungent plants.
The city mentioned as “castrum” in a document of 996. Its defensive function was of primary importance for the neighboring villages and its inhabitants who had to provide for the maintenance. In 1242, the city was besieged by the tyrant Ezzelino Romano (1194-1259) who burned and rebuilt it with stronger fortifications called “Zironi”. The keep of the Castello of San Zeno is a work of Ezzelino da Romano.
With the conquest of the Veneto cities by the Republic of Serenissima in Venice, all the predominance struggles finished and, for Montagnana, began an agricultural flourishing period – in particular, for the hemp fiber which was of vital importance for the construction of ropes and sails used by the Venetian Arsenal. The Castle of San Zeno was used as hemp storage as well as for military troops housing. Since 1997, after painstaking restoration works carried out by the municipality, the Castle and the Tower of Ezzelino were destined to Civic Museum, City Historical Archives, public library plus head office of different cultural associations.