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Comune di Abano Terme
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hermae. The Euganean Spas A place of culture and well-being.
The Euganean Spas. The largest spa centre in Europe. “All the happiness of the Venetian character lies in its waters” Stendhal, 1817 Welcome to the Euganean spas, where the healthy, beneficial waters have been flowing for more than three thousand years, bringing life to the largest spa centre in Europe. The Euganean spa waters belong to the category of deep underground waters, and their precious uniqueness is assured during its long journey upwards before reaching the Euganean lands. Renowned and appreciated since protohistoric times, today they are still a source of health and well-being. The meteoric water comes from the Lower Dolomites and from the Lessini mountains in the pre-Alps, flowing into the subsoil through the limestone to reach a depth of more than
3000 m. In the subsoil, the water runs for approximately 80 km at high temperatures and under great pressure for an average of 25/30 years, becoming richer and richer in mineral salts. Reaching the Euganean spa basin, it returns to the surface at a temperature of 87°C, rich in geothermal energy and dissolved substances that make
Montegrotto Terme, Cathedral.
it a unique thermal resource, the only one of its kind in the world. The beneficial strength of the water, which today is scientifically classified as hyperthermal bromo-iodine-salt water, has been used by man for centuries for therapeutic purposes, and lies at the root of all the most modern therapies and aesthetic treatments carried out in the many specialised spa hotels in the Euganean spa area: from balneotherapy to mud therapy, from hydrokinesitherapy to inhalation treatments, and the widest range of beauty and relaxation treatments. Each spa hotel offers indoor and outdoor spa pools and a whole department dedicated to well-being and therapies, to ensure that all guests Abano Terme, monumental entrance to the Montirone.
are followed with the utmost attention and professionalism, in a comfortable, pleasant atmosphere. All the resorts have been classified with the “I Super” qualification issued by the Italian Ministry of Health, which demonstrates the respect of the natural resources in the basin and the strict discipline in the use of the water in order to assure the conservation of this incomparable natural resource. And on top of this, the constant commitment of the “Pietro d’Abano” Spa Study Centre, which carefully studies the main components of the spa waters and carries out systematic research into spa medicine and the effects of mud therapy, to guarantee total quality in the therapies carried out and their scientific and therapeutic values.
The Euganean Spas in ancient times. “…The soft soil sighs, and closed beneath the boiling pumice the wave digs flaky roads. […] In its midst, like a widespread boiling sea, a blue lake extends, spinning greatly, covering an enormous area …” Claudian, Aponus, IV century AD
fountains, libraries, conference and exhibition rooms, theatres and beautiful patrician villas were built, all well documented in archaeological findings. Many ancient literary sources also confirm the fame of the ‘fons Aponi’ during imperial times: the most important known to date is the poem “Aponus”, composed by the Alexandrian poet Claudius Claudian, following his visit to the area between 396 and 399 AD. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, also Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths, was to enjoy the spa, as witnessed in his famous letter, in which he proclaims Abano as the “ornament of my realm, famous throughout the world”.
With this troubling, supernatural vision, the poet Claudius Claudian describes the sacred lake that covered the area where the Euganean Spas now lie. In this territory, which at the time was mainly marshland and forest, boiling sulfureous spa waters sprang spontaneous in bubbling springs. An extraordinary phenomenon, considered divine in origin by the ancient Venetian people, so much so that as early as the VIII century BC religious ceremonies were held in the sacred lake, with sacrifices to the gods and baths offering benefits and good health.
2 Above, Abano Terme, The building housing the “Therapy, holiday and tourism board”, decorative bas-reliefs (detail). Archaeological dig carried out at the turn of the 20th century that led to the discovery of thousands of ex voto, including chalices, cups, vases and bronze objects, all from the Paleovenetian era. Today most of these are displayed in the beautiful rooms of the National Atestino Museum in Este the Eremitani Civic Museum in Padua and the International Artistic Glass and Spa Museum in Montegrotto Terme.
The first water-divining activities became the cult of Aponus, guardian god of springs, and added to this was the oracle of Gerion, who was consulted in order to know the future. According to the legend, when passing through Aponus’ land, Hercules founded the cult of Gerion, a mysterious god imprisoned in the bowels of the earth who prophesised the future through a priest or priestess, guardians of the temple, who were able to interpret the prophesies of the god through the spa waters. Svetonius recounts that also young Tiberius invoked the sacred spa spring and, at the request of the oracle,
threw in golden dice to find out whether his destiny would be favourable in the battle with the Pannonians, an obligatory step to his accession to the Emperor’s throne. The dice were thrown, and both landed with the highest score upwards. Tiberius conquered the Pannonians and became Emperor (1st century AD). From 49 BC, when Patavium and the neighbouring lands, including the Euganean Spas, became municipium, an upper class of Romanised “Patavini” was formed, and wishing to emulate the upper classes of Rome they paid great importance to the spa waters, creating public baths and spa stations. The ancient lakeside sanctuary became a rich, multipurpose spa location, visited to revive both body and spirit. Around the spa baths, wide avenues, gardens,
But at the end of the VI century, the Longobard hordes of king Agilulfo stormed the town, sowing destruction and ruin, and so the Euganean spas fell into oblivion for many centuries. Many archaeological testimonials remain of the opulence of the ancient Roman spa, including the large archaeological area at Montegrotto Terme, the many findings on show at the Atestino National Museum at Este, the Eremitani Civic Museum in Padua and many ancient literary sources.
1 Montegrotto Terme, columns from Roman period in the gardens of the Hotel Terme Neroniane. 2 Montegrotto Terme, Hotel Terme Neroniane, hydropinic fountain decorated with ancient artefacts discovered during the digs prior to the construction of the spa hall. 3 Montegrotto Terme, Hotel Terme Neroniane, detail of archaeological digs.
Well-being therapy. The extraordinary therapeutic properties of the spa waters are applied to a wide range of restorative and well-being treatments and programmes.
Balneotherapy: involves the immersion of the body in a single tub filled with hot, ozone-enriched spa water. It facilitates the activities of the joints, makes movements smoother, relaxes the muscles, reduces pain. The intense vasodilating action stimulates the blood. Indicated above all for painful conditions and muscular atrophy, post-traumatic rehabilitation following traumas, fractures and surgery, chronic inflammation and skin conditions.
Hydrokinesitherapy: uses the physical and chemical properties of the water in an ideal treatment for muscle deficit, to regain physical strength following surgery, and for those suffering from arthrosis. In addition to being natural and effective, it is also a fun, relaxing therapy that is done in the swimming pool.
spa mud is a clever combination of a solid component (clay), a liquid one (bromo-iodine salt water) and a biological one (micro organisms and biomaterials). The mature mud lies at the basis of mud therapy, which has four steps: application, spa water bath, sweat reaction and tonifying massage. It is an incomparable natural treatment that helps those suffering from osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
nebulized spa water helps all kinds of upper and lower respiratory conditions, and is effective in the prevention and curing of chronic illnesses.
â€œRemise en formeâ€? and beauty treatments: each resort is able to offer targeted remise en forme and beauty treatments. Expert and qualified staff will help you to recover lost energy, beauty and all-round well-being through massage, innovative treatments, a balanced diet and treatments using spa products.
Abano Terme. Today Abano Terme is one of the most famous spa resorts in Europe. Its large scale accommodation capacity, spread across many hotels all equipped to offer special spa treatment services, holds the record of being the largest spa town in the world. The city centre has a large pedestrian precinct, filled with old and modern buildings, large hotels with well-tended gardens, shops, bars and restaurants, and the historical and monumental sights also include one of the most important testimonials of the Aponus spa, Montirone Hill.
Not to be missed. Montirone Hill: this small hill, once rich in naturally flowing spa springs, was particularly dear to the ancient Patavini, who in Roman times surrounded it with villas and spa stations.
The entrance to the old spring, where until the second half of the 1800s the water still flowed spontaneously at a temperature of 80°C, is marked by an early 19th century Corinthian colonnade and a mighty Doric column crowned by a chalice wrapped in the coils of a snake, designed by Giuseppe Jappelli in 1825 for the visit of Emperor Franz I of Austria. The two buildings either side of the entrance house the civic Montirone Art Gallery, with its collection of 15th - 20th century paintings, drawings and engravings, and the municipal Modern Art Gallery, which hosts temporary exhibitions. Opposite Montirone there is a small oratory designed by Domenico Cerato in 1780, which today is used as an exhibition centre.
1 Abano Terme, Montirone, column erected in honour of Franz I of Austria. 2 View of the spa basin and the Euganean hills. Below, Abano Terme, monumental entrance to the Montirone.
3 Chiesa del Sacro Cuore: with its modern architectural design, this is one of the most important churches in the town. Built during the second half of the 1950s to the design of the architect Giulio Brunetta, it houses a beautiful crucifix, by the artist Mario Pinton, a frontal by Carlo Mandelli, and works by Paolo De Poli. Kursaal public gardens: amongst the greenery of the gardens, right in the middle of the pedestrian area, we can find the statue of Pietro D’Abano, one of the most famous sons of Aponus. Another decorative element of this garden is the Harlequin fountain, by Amleto Sartori, artist of international fame, to whom also the Mask Museum, located in Villa Savioli, is dedicated.
3 Abano Terme, New Town Spa Gardens. 4 Abano Terme, Villa Savioli, “Amleto e Donato Sartori” Mask Museum. 5 Abano Terme, “Amleto e Donato Sartori” International Mask Museum. 6 Abano Terme, Kursaal Gardens, Statue in honour of Pietro d’Abano.
5 Grand Hotel Orologio, one of the emblems of the history of Abano, this beautiful building was constructed in the 17th century by the noble family Dondi dall’Orologio, and was extended in the 19th century with the addition of its neoclassical façade (1825), by Giuseppe Jappelli, who also restored the large gardens surrounding the hotel. Opposite the Grand Hotel Orologio is the Hotel Trieste & Victoria, another building of particular historical value. This was in fact the headquarters of the Italian Supreme Command during the First World War (1918), and General Armando Diaz often stayed here in an apartment on the first floor. Viale delle Terme: wide, tree-lined avenue, the real dynamic heart of the town, with its shops, hotels, bars and restaurants.
Pietro d’Abano: born in 1257, Pietro, son of the notary Costanzo, spent much time in Constantinople, and completed his studies at the University of Padua before going on to become the greatest Italian scientist of the 14th century. He taught medicine, philosophy and astrology at the University of Paris, and from 1306 at the University of Padua. Expert in Greek Byzantine and Arabic arts, he believed that a good doctor should also be a good astrologer and an expert alchemist. This multi-disciplinarity attracted the attention of the Court of the Inquisition, and he was accused of necromancy and heresy, and in 1316 his body was burned at the stake. Pietro believed that human matters were influenced by the stars. His theories inspired the splendid astrological cycle, frescoed in the “Palazzo della Ragione” in Padua.
This large complex, which blends harmoniously in with the buildings and architecture of the spa town, has been conceived as a single, enormous, continuous lawn, criss-crossed by paved walkways and cycle paths and rich in plants and trees along the main avenue. Buildings line up along its sides, all prestigious residences, shops and offices. “Amleto e Donato Sartori” International Mask Museum: the only one of its kind in the world, housing the prestigious works of Amleto Sartori and his son Donato, internationally renowned artists, creators of masks for the “Commedia dell’Arte” and theatre generally.
1 It includes two sites of great interest: the recent Piazza del Sole e della Pace, also known as Piazza della Meridiana, and the S. Lorenzo Cathedral. The polychrome marble sundial is one of the largest of its kind in Europe (3000 m2) and is certainly unique. Designed by Salvador Condè and with the support of the architect Giulio Genta and the gnomonist Giovanni Paltrinieri, it was completed in late 1996, and constitutes a work of the highest scientific, astronomic and educational value. The S. Lorenzo Cathedral is the main religious building in the town centre. It was founded in the second half of the 10th century, but its current condition dates back to the 18th century, and is the work of the architect Domenico Cerato. Inside we can find 16th century sculptures by Tommaso Allio, the Flagellation on the upper altar by Bartolomeo Litterini (1712) and a Via Crucis attributed to Carlo Henrici. The lovely bell tower dates back to 1314, with its base from the 10th century. Parco Urbano Termale: a jewel of modern architecture, designed by one of the most famous architects and architecture historians, Paolo Portoghesi.
1 Abano Terme, New Town Spa Gardens. 2 Abano Terme, S. Lorenzo Cathedral. 3 Abano Terme, View of the pedestrian area. 4 Abano Terme, Via Jappelli. 5 Abano Terme, Piazza Repubblica.
and Viceroy to the Kingdom of Italy. Since 1979 the villa and annexed gardens have belonged to the Municipality of Abano Terme, and have been transformed into a prestigious centre for cultural and sporting events. Villa Rigoni Savioli (ex Malipiero) is a beautiful Palladian villa built in the 16th century. The façade has four semi-columns surmounted by a triangular tympanum. A staircase decorated with statues leads directly to the first floor. Inside (not open to the public) the lounge is decorated with precious frescoes by GiovanBattista Zelotti, friend and apprentice of Paolo Veronese.
4 Beautiful noble villas, built mainly between the 16th and 18th centuries, enrich both the town centre and the surrounding green hills. Villa Savioli, built in the 17th century and extended in the following centuries, houses the extraordinary Amleto e Donato Sartori International Mask Museum. Villa Bassi Rathgeb, built in the 16th century and restored in the 1700s, belonged to the noble family Dondi dell’Orologio. Inside the frescoes are by Antonio Buttafuoco. In the 19th century many famous people stayed here, including Eugenio Beauharnais, Napoleon’s stepson,
7 6 Abano Terme, Pedestrian area, “Therapy, Holiday and Tourism Board” building. 7 Abano Terme, loc. Monterosso, Villa Monzino “La Bembiana”. 8 Abano Terme, Piazza del Sole e della Pace. Sotto, Abano Terme, loc. Monterosso, Gardens at Villa Monzino “La Bembiana”.
8 Villas and Parks.
Villa Mocenigo Mainardi: this complex, where Giacomo Casanova also resided in 1779, includes a small oratory facing over the road. Other villas of particular architectural interest are: Villa Sette (late 17th century with some early 19th century modifications), Villa Erizzo Zanin (19th century, with large gardens and private oratory), Villa Foscolo (also known as the “Cittadella Vigodarzere”), at Feriole, known to have hosted Ugo Foscolo when he was writing “The last letters of Jacopo Ortis” (1796), and finally Villa Selvatico Treves, built in the 16th century but completely renovated in the 19th century in line with the rules of architectural Eclecticism.
Abano Terme. Main events and traditional festivals. • • • • • •
Abano Terme: Monument Statue of Christopher Columbus, by Paolo Boldrin (1956) donated to the town by Armido Bonato.
Late April - early May: International Youth Football Tournament. June/July: AbanoLirica, Opera concerts. Late August: International Show Jumping. September: Festival Show, music event. From 20th December to 6th January: Christmas Decorations Fair. Weekly market: Wednesday.
Among the parks we may mention the historical gardens at Villa Bembiana, in Monterosso. Lying at the foot of the hill, its rich vegetation includes many species of the Mediterranean Maquis, and specimens of holm oak. The villa, which is not open to the public, was home to the poet, historian and philologist Pietro Bembo (15th - 16th century). At the end of the First World War the Italian Victory Bulletin was drawn up here.
Sanctuaries and monasteries. At Monteortone, just outside Abano Terme, we can find the lovely sanctuary dedicated to the “Madonna della Salute” (Madonna of Health). The church was built in the 15th century at the place where, in 1428, a soldier named Pietro Falco was miraculously cured of the plague when he found a wooden image of the Virgin in a small cave and then bathed in the waters of a fountain that flowed at the foot of Monteortone Hill. The church, in the form of a Latin cross with an apsidal nave and two aisles and a bell tower dating back to the 15th century still houses the miraculous image of the Madonna, and each year is visited by many pilgrims. Inside, the church is decorated with many paintings from the 15th century, including frescoes of saints, prophets and kings in the leftnave, and some frescoes by Jacopo da Montagnana
3 2 1 Abano Terme, Sanctuary of the Madonna della Salute at Monteortone, detail of the old monastery. 2 Horse riding on the hills around the Euganean Spa. 3/4 Abano Terme, S. Daniele monastery. 5 Abano Terme, Municipal Art Gallery at Montirone, Pitocchetto, self-portrait. 6 Abano Terme, Cloisters in the old monastery annexed to the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Salute at Monteortone. Below, Abano Terme, detail of the pedestrian area with the Grand Hotel Orologio.
in the Chapel of the Crucifix and on the walls of both aisles, beautiful marble bas-reliefs in the presbytery and the tombs of the monk Simone da Camerino, founder of the annexed Agostinian monastery, and other monks as well as the tomb of the noblewoman Maddalena Cardini Capodivacca (1491). The entrance portal in Istrian stone is also noteworthy, the work of Matteo and Tommaso Allio (1667). Next to the church is the old Agostinian convent, which is now a Salesian institute, with its large Renaissance cloisters. Another important religious centre is the Benedictine Monastery of S. Daniele, nestling on the mountain of the same name. This construction dates back to 1075, built by the noble da Montagnon family in honour of the Paduan martyr Daniele. In 1461 it was home to the canons of S. Salvatore, and from 1772 until the mid 1900s it was the private residence of the BonomiTodeschini family. Today it is home to the enclosed order of Benedictine nuns, whose original nucleus came from Rijeka in 1948. Within the complex, the church, built in 1711 by Francesco Muttoni, a panoramic loggia and some rooms on the ground floor are open to the public.
From the 2nd century BC onwards, in Roman times, the lake lost its sacred function and Montegrotto became a large, famous spa location. The current name of this place is in fact Roman, Mons Aegrotorum, meaning the mountain of the sick. Ancient Latin authors described the Euganean spa waters as prodigious and, as Claudian writes, “without damage, they renew lost vigour and calm the sicknesses of the suffering, who return to good health”. The origin of these therapeutic properties was attributed to the presence of Aponus, the god protector of the springs. Still in Roman times, in addition to their curative properties the waters were also attributed with special oracular powers. According to literary sources, oracle of Gerion was consulted in the ancient S. Pietro Montagnon, today known as Montegrotto. In the archaeological area in the centre of Montegrotto Terme the foundations of some buildings dating back to the Julius-Claudius period can be seen, and these represent just
Montegrotto Terme. Together with Abano, Montegrotto Terme constitutes the main centre of the Euganean Spa. According to archaeological sources, the ancient lakeside sanctuary, frequented by the people of Veneto between the 8th and 3rd centuries BC stood exactly here, in the area between Monte Castello and Colle Montagnone. The lake covered around 2 square kilometres and was round in shape, originating from a spa water spring. The sulphurous exhalations, considered to be divine, came naturally and powerfully from the centre of the earth and were revered with votive offerings, including vases, chalices, cups and glasses.
1 Montegrotto Terme, detail of the archaeological digs at the Hotel Terme Neroniane. 2 Montegrotto Terme, Roman columns in the gardens of the Hotel Terme Neroniane. Below, Montegrotto Terme, Villa Draghi.
Marble slab with inscription from the 1st century AD attesting the cult of the waters of Aponus, “A.A.V.S.L.M. Aquis Aponi votum solvit libens merito,” now displayed at the Maffeiano Museum in Verona.
3 Montegrotto Terme, Bell tower at the Oratorio della Madonna. 4 Montegrotto Terme, Berta Tower on Mount Castello, private property. 5 Montegrotto Terme, Town hall. 6 Montegrotto Terme, “Alberi metallici”, glass sculpture by Del Negro.
The legend of Berta. Legend has it that in 1084 Henry IV of Germany and his wife Bertha of Savoy were guests of the noble Da Montagnon family (from Montagnon, the ancient medieval Montegrotto). During their stay, a poor spinner came before the queen. She had the same name as the queen, and was as beautiful as she was poor, and she begged for clemency for her imprisoned husband, bringing a gift of a reel of thread. Taking pity upon her, the queen granted the pardon of the prisoner, and as much land as could be cordoned off with the reel of thread that the poor spinner had presented to her. Word of the queen’s compassionate gesture spread quickly, and many other women hurried to the castle to try to obtain the same treatment, but the queen replied with the famous phrase, “Berta’s spinning time has long since passed”. Each year the municipality of Montegrotto Terme organises the re-evocation of this ancient legend, an entertaining display in medieval costume.
6 a small amount of the rich imperial spa town, which was certainly one of the most representative of the “X Regio Venetia et Istria”. Among the findings, some baths, one of which has marble flooring, spa water pipes, the remains of an aqueduct and the foundations of a range of buildings.
Not to be missed.
1 1 Montegrotto Terme, Cathedral. 2 Montegrotto Terme, Villa Callas, detail of the entrance portal. 3 Montegrotto Terme, International Artistic Glass and Spa Museum. 4 Montegrotto Terme, Butterfly Arc and Fairy wood. Below, Montegrotto Terme, Butterfly Arc – Butterfly House.
With the fall of the Western Roman Empire, a long period of darkness and silence reigned, and the Spas suffered from an economic and urban slump. In medieval times the Spas were still in use, but it was only
4 from the 15th century, with the arrival of the nobility of the Serenissima that they were restored to their ancient splendour, frequented for both therapy and pastime. In the 18th century the first organic scientific studies were carried out on the composition and provenance of the waters, and in modern times the use of the waters and spa mud for therapeutic purposes led to the development of the Euganean Spas, which are now among the most famous and loved destinations of spa tourism in Europe.
Villa Draghi: set against the splendid backdrop of a park measuring 316,000 m2, this beautiful 19th century villa lies on a small hill half way up Mount Alto. It is a unique example of eclectic architecture, close to the Venetian and oriental styles with typical medieval elements, and this building, which has been uninhabited for a long time and is in a poor state of abandon, has unfortunately been stripped of its most important architectural furnishings, of which today only some rare photos remain. The villa still conserves its crowning Ghibelline battlements, which give it the appearance of a castle. A nature trail, called the “Villa Draghi and Mount Ceva Pathway”, departs from outside the villa. This is one of the main hill walks in the Regional Park of the Euganean Hills. Approximately 10 km long, it offers splendid view of one of the most rich and varied hillside environments, with chestnut, acacia and oak woods, vast meadows, Mediterranean maquis, vineyards, and rocky sections with their typical rocky vegetation. The International Artistic Glass and Spa Museum has been housed inside the Villa Draghi farmhouse, since December 2005, displaying more than 500 works by Giordano Guarnieri, historical master glassmaker from Murano, Umberto del Negro and other master glassmakers from Murano including Venini and the Toso brothers. A section displays precious archaeological findings from the Roman period, which were discovered in Montegrotto Terme. Oratorio della Madonna: the current building of the old parochial quarters of Montegrotto dates back to 1724, with the bell tower from the 18th century, probably built from a castle tower. Cathedral: built in the mid-18th century on the flattened summit of Prebenda hill, this new church houses modern frescoes by Armando Migliolaro and sculptures by Luigi Strazzabosco.
5 Butterfly Arc-the butterfly house: thousands of tropical butterflies fly freely around this extraordinary place open to all, scientists, students, butterfly lovers and other visitors; walking through the tropical gardens it is possible to observe the life of these splendid creatures, and watch their evolution from egg to adult butterfly, their splendid colours and infinite forms. The complex also includes the Fairy Wood and a large insectarium. 5 Montegrotto Terme, “Therapy, Holiday and Tourism Board” building, fresco by Fulvio Pendini depicting the legend of Berta. 6 Montegrotto Terme, Oratorio della Madonna. Below, Montegrotto Terme, archaeological digs, detail of the theatre cavea.
P.G. Omesti permanent exhibition of fossils, minerals and rocks: rich collection of materials from all over the world, with an important and large variety of rocks and minerals that form the earth’s crust and the particularity of the forms of life that have populated the earth in the various geological eras. It is a reference point for lovers and students of mineralogy and palaeontology. Villa Meneghini: also known as Villa Callas, as GiovanBattista Meneghini, the owner in the mid 1900s, was also married to Maria Callas. The building in Caposeda dates back to 1559. Following careful restoration, it is now the headquarters of the International Atelier of the Plastic Arts, run by Master del Negro. Torre al Lago: the suggestive ruins of this late medieval tower, which was once the fortified residence of the Dell’Arena family, provide refuge for a group of bandits led by the infamous brigand Giovanni Stella in the 19th century.
Montegrotto Terme. Main events and traditional festivals. • • • • •
Early May: Flower Festival, exhibition and market. Early June: Beer Festival. Late June: Traditional Saint Peter’s Fair. 2nd Sunday of the month: Antiques market. Weekly market: Thursday.
Galzignano Terme. Ancient settlement on the south-eastern slopes of Mount Rua, where the valleys Pavaglione and Cingolina meet, Galzignano Terme conserves a natural and practically uncontaminated environment with mainly rural settlements, making it the ideal destination for those wishing to spend a relaxing holiday close to nature. The territory is still scattered with noble villas built by rich families from Padua and Venice who loved the pleasant and fertile Galzignano valleys. One outstanding example is Villa Barbarigo Pizzoni Ardemani, at Valsanzibio, with its historical gardens that are among the most important gardens in Europe. The green, variable
1 Euganean hills, view. 2 Valsanzibio di Galzignano Terme, Villa BarbarigoPizzoni Ardemani gardens, Diana’s Portal. 3-4 Valsanzibio di Galzignano Terme, Villa Barbarigo-Pizzoni Ardemani, detail of the gardens.
Not to be missed.
but extended to its current size in the mid 17th century. Footpaths: from Galzignano Terme some of the most pleasant and interesting trails in the Regional Park of the Euganean hills can be followed. The Mount Venda trail starts at Casa Marina in Sottovenda: this hill (601 m.) is the highest in the Euganean hill range, and is rich in landscape, nature and historical-monumental features, including the suggestive ruins of the Olivetani Monastery. The Monte Gallo, Monte delle Grotte and Monte delle Basse trail starts at Case Steogarda, offering splendid views of the Monte Rua hermitage, the villages of Galzignano and Valsanzibio and many hills including Monselice hill with the Federiciano Dungeon. Rabbit Island, the Monument of Time and the Water effects, Diana’s bath (the old monumental entrance) and three large fishponds broken with fountains was designed and built to symbolise the path of man towards his own perfectibility and salvation. S. Maria Assunta: in a splendid position on a green hill shaded by cypress trees, this ancient and disused church still conserves traces of some 17th century frescoes. Pieve di S. Lorenzo: immersed in a tranquil atmosphere reminiscent of days gone by, the hamlet of S. Lorenzo runs along the crest of Mount Staffolo through farmyards, vegetable patches, gardens and vineyards as far at the Church of S. Lorenzo, dating back to the 11th century
natural countryside has earned the attention and development of two splendid golf courses: Golf Club Padova -27 holes -, founded in 1962 is the historical provincial club of Padua, and the Golf Club Terme at Galzignano with 9 holes, opened in 1999 with a wealth of water features and lakes.
Villa Barbarigo Pizzoni Ardemani gardens: the historical garden of Valsanzibio is one of the historic natural features of excellence in Italy. Surrounded by a splendid hillside amphitheatre, it was created in the second half of the 17th century by the Venetian noble Zuane Francesco Barbarigo, helped by his son Antonio, and is still today one of the most important and intact historical gardens in Europe. The high symbolism of the park was inspired by Gregorio Barbarigo, cardinal and later saint, while the design is attributed to the most important papal architect and fountain maker of the 17th century, Luigi Bernini. In this historical garden, water animates an extraordinary world of fountains, streams and fishponds. Between high box hedges and secular trees, seventy works of art, mostly by Merengo, and as many again by lesser artists, blend in with architectural elements, streams, waterfalls, fountains, lakes, water features and fishponds arranged among trees and shrubs covering an area of fifteen hectares. It includes significant features including the great Maze,
5 Valsanzibio di Galzignano Terme, Villa BarbarigoPizzoni Ardemani, detail of the maze. 6 Olive groves on the Euganean hills. 7 Galzignano Terme, view of the spa halls.
Galzignano Terme. Main events and traditional festivals. • 1st Sunday in May: Spring Festival, olive oil fair at Valsanzibio. • 1st Sunday in October: Galzignano Terme: Rosario Fair and “Palio dei mussi” (mule race). • Weekly Market: Wednesday.
Battaglia Terme. Bordered to north and south by two sumptuous princely residences, lying gently between the Hills to the west and meandering canals leading to the sea to the east, Battaglia Terme is a surprising town, totally different from the other towns in the Padua area. Here, everything seems to be linked or related to water. The town stretches along the banks of a wide river, with a footbridge reminiscent of Venice, and houses the only River Navigation Museum in the whole of Italy, as well as being the home to some important hydraulic creations including the Arco di Mezzo (middle arch) and the Conca di Navigazione (lock). Even the toponymy of Battaglia, once known as Baptalea, is tied to the water and could have originally meant “the place of the baths”. Right from the 11th century in fact, the natural spa grotto at S. Elena Hill and the relative baths
1 Battaglia Terme, Catajo Castle. 2 Battaglia Terme, view of Battaglia Canal. 3 Battaglia Terme, River Nagivation Museum. Below, Battaglia Terme, Arco di Mezzo.
1 have characterised and identified this place. From the 13th century on, this toponymy has been mixed with the root of the verb “battere” (to beat), linked to the incessant, rhythmic sound made by the rollers in the Battaglia paper mill, which no longer exists but which was very famous in centuries gone by.
Not to be missed. Castello del Catajo: stately 16th century fortified residence built on the slopes of Montenovo on the wishes of Pio Enea degli Obizzi, famous Serenissima commander and inventor of the howitzer (siege cannon). The building, which has 350 rooms, lounges decorated with splendid frescoes by G.B. Zelotti, favourite apprentice of Paolo Veronese, corridors, staircases, a vast historical garden, fountains, park with free-roaming deer, is one of the most imposing and complete Patrician villas of the Veneto region, now used to hold prestigious events and congresses. The terrace offers a splendid view over the surrounding hillside amphitheatre.
Villa Selvatico Sartori: beautiful, fairytale residence built at the turn of the 16th century by the Selvatico family on the Sant’Elena hill, also known as “stupa” mountain, where an ancient sweating cave can be found. Surrounded by a large secular park, redesigned by Jappelli in the 19th century, the villa was recently cleverly renovated, conserving its original and unique style, which set a trend for baroque Venetian rules, and inside a series of frescoes representing the mythological stories of the city of Padua, by Luca Ferrari, the decoration of the cupola with the compass rose by Lorenzo Bedogni, and the Glory of the Selvatico family by Alessandro Varotari, known as “il Padovanino” (1588-1648). The villa is often used for theatrical performances, cultural conferences and concerts. S. Giacomo Church: dating back to 1332, extended to its current shape in 1703. It houses precious altars, an attractive stoup in red Verona marble, many statues and altarpieces dating between the 17th and 18th centuries. Venetian bridge: also known as the “scaìni” bridge (because of its steps, the only bridge of its kind in the Padua area), it has a brick built Roman arch with a statue of San Giovanni Nepomuceno, the patron saint of the persecuted innocent, invoked against the dangers of the water, the work of a local sculptor dating back to the second half of the 18th century. Battaglia Canal: this canal crosses the town and is completely navigable, offering interesting tourist potential not only due to the expansion of infrastructure including ports and piers but also for the incomparable natural backdrop offered by the Euganean hills. Arco di Mezzo: hydraulic artefact located in the town centre on the eastern bank of the Battaglia Canal, to regulate the flow of the water that, with a drop of between four and seven metres, flows into the bed of the Vigenzone Canal. For centuries it supplied energy to all the factories that made Battaglia famous, and is still extremely important today for assuring the optimal management of all the water in Padua. Conca di Navigazione: an extraordinary, perfectly functioning monument to hydraulic engineering, used to overcome a maximum difference in water level of over seven metres, linking the Battaglia canal, and the Paduan and Euganean territory, with the Rialto-Vigenzone canal, and the sea.
River Navigation Museum: one of its kind in Italy, it celebrates the intense and fervent mercantile activity along the waterways of Battaglia for more than 7 centuries. It contains more than four thousand articles, including river boats and river boat parts, scale models, historical photographs, drawings and documents, navigation maps, objects used by boatmen on board their vessels, specific technical texts, equipment used in boathouses, and tools covering the range of crafts linked to river navigation. Oratorio di Santa Maria, better known as the “Pigozzo” church (meaning woodpecker, cuckoo), and what remains of an old church dating back to 1736, which was demolished at the end of the 1920s. On 25th March, on the day of a small local festival, “cuchi”, small, brightly coloured terracotta birds that make a sound similar to the cuckoo song, are sold in the church square. Sentiero Ferro di cavallo (Horseshoe path): runs along the hill tops of Montenuovo, Ceva, Castellone, Spinefrasse and Croce. Thanks to its geological conformation and the natural and environmental peculiarities, this hill top area is considered one of the most important of the Euganean Hills.
4 Battaglia Terme, Villa Selvatico Sartori. 5 Battaglia Terme, River Nagivation Museum (detail). 6 Battaglia Terme, view of Battaglia Terme.
6 Battaglia Terme. Main events and traditional festivals. • 25th March: Pigozzo Fair, selling the typical “cuchi”. • 1st Sunday in May: Flowered Canal Festival. • Last Sunday in May: Remada a seconda. Rowing event with all kinds of boats including fun and grotesque craft. • July: Water festival. Election of “Miss Onda”, historical procession and dressed boats to celebrate the wedding of Battaglia and its canal. • End of August: San Bartolomeo Fair, large open-air market and fun fair. • 11th November: Battaglia Terme - San Martino fair with chestnut feast. • From 22 December to 15 January: Nativity scene on the water. • Weekly market: Saturday.
1 Teolo. Lying among the most beautiful of the hills, Teolo has very ancient roots, a rich history and an important historical, artistic and naturalist heritage. Tradition has it that it was the birthplace of the great Latin historian Titus Livius. The ancient Titulo (Latin for boundary) lies in a strategic position between the lands of Padua and Este, the two most important Paleovenetian centres. A boundary stone dated 141 BC found near the church of S. Giustina di Teolo would confirm the existence of this border area, which was already inhabited in pre-Roman times. In the medieval Teolo was one of the largest towns in the Padua area, with a podestà tenure in the Medieval Commune and Carrarese eras, and later a Vicariate of the Republic of Venice with administrative powers over a very large territory. Firstly the Napoleonic reorganisation and later that of the Austrians decreased the administrative importance of Teolo. Today it is one of the most attractive areas of the Euganean hills, and a privileged destination for tourists and day trippers from Padua.
Not to be missed. S. Giustina church: mentioned in a papal decree dated 1297, the old church of S. Giustina was built between 1290 and 1310, while the bell tower was built in 1400.
In the mid 19th century the church was extended, with the addition of side chapels and the baptistery, while the beautiful cuspidate bell tower we can still admire today is the original one. Inside, liberty frescoes by Giacomo Manzoni from 1912, and the great altar is the work of Domenico Campagnola (16th century). Palazzetto dei Vicari: built in the 14th century but extended in the 16th century to house the vicars and noble Paduans appointed by the Serenissima during Venetian domination to administrative and military functions, today the building is home to the Contemporary Art Museum dedicated to Dino Formaggio, internationally renowned philosopher and art critic. Rocca Pendice: this is one of the most original rock formations in the hills. It is a wall of volcanic rock, a trachyte seam 130 metres high, frequently used for mountaineering practice. And on the rock summit, half hidden by thick vegetation, are the remains of the most resistant castle of all the Euganean hills. This fort, the only one of all the hilltop castles, was never taken in battle, and nature alone was able to drive it into ruin. To reach the castle remains, also famous for the legend of Speronella, the shortest path starts at the 15th century farms at Schivanoia, or follow the “Altavia n. 1 dei Colli Euganei” path starting near Treponti di Teolo.
1 Colli Euganei, ruins of the Olivetani monastery on Mount Venda. 2 Teolo, Palazzetto dei Vicari, housing the Dino Formaggio Contemporary Art Museum. 3 Teolo, view with Rocca Pendice in the background. 4 Teolo, Benedictine sanctuary on the monte della Madonna. 5 Teolo, church at the sanctuary on the monte della Madonna. 6 Praglia, abbey.
Teolo. Main events and traditional festivals.
4 S. Maria di Praglia Abbey: founded in the 11th century, in the medieval and renaissance period this was the stronghold of the Benedictine agricultural community of S. Giustina di Padova, founded in 1448, following which the abbey was extended and restored with the construction of an elegant church following the designs of Tullio Lombardo, and the reconstruction of part of the monastery. The church dedicated to the Assumption still conserves numerous frescoes and paintings from the Venetian school and a wooden crucifix attributed to the circle of Giotto. The monastery houses an attractive late 15th century covered cloister, a botanical cloister, a rustic cloister, the precious Capitolo Hall and the monumental refectory and the famous “divine loggia” immortalized by the writer Antonio Fogazzaro in the novel “Piccolo mondo moderno” (1901). The abbey is known throughout the world
The legend of Speronella. According to the legend, in 1166 Count Pagano della Torre, vicar of Federico Barbarossa, fell in love with Speronella, a sensual beauty from Padua betrothed to Iacopino da Carrara. Having kidnapped her, he locked her away in the Roccapendice Fort and convinced her father to allow him to marry her instead. But the Paduan noblemen, led by Iacopino managed to fight their way into the castle, killing Pagano and freeing Speronella. According to historic fact, however, as told by the judge Manfredino di Ugone, Count Pagano was in fact just one of Speronella’s six husbands, to be exact the second, after she had left her first husband, Iacopino da Carrara, in her conceited determination to marry the imperial vicar.
• 4th Sunday in April: Gnocco fair with tasting events offering local specialities. • First half of August: Holidaymakers’ fair. • 2nd Sunday in October, Bresseo di Teolo: ancient fair with large market, food stands and fun fair. • Antiques market: 1st Sunday of the month. • Weekly market: Tuesday, Sunday (from April to September).
for its important antique book and illuminated manuscript restoration, carried out by the monks themselves. Oratorio della Croce di Villa Teolo: the old Crucifix, in poplar wood to the right of the great altar, dates back to the 16th/17th century and is inspired
by the school of Donatello. Chiesa di San Giorgio at Tramonte: of very ancient origins, this church houses frescoes dating back to around the year 1000, roundels with the twelve apostles dating back to the late 15th century and a crucifixion attributed to the Paduan school Squarcione.
Footpaths: From Teolo there are two splendid walks signposted by the Regional Park of the Euganean Hills: the Monte Grande path, with a deviation to the ruins of Rovolon castle, and the Monte della Madonna path, including a visit to two ancient religious sites, the small S. Antonio Abate oratory dating back to the 14th century and the Sanctuary dedicated to the Virgin Mary with its small Benedictine monastery.