Montagnana is hidden gem inside the walls of pretty big proportions, small town but very enjoyble for exploring. There are so many nice spots inside the walls and most of the very well preserved. Some of the medieval palaces are of the exceptional beauty, in particularly this one called Magnavian-Foratti.
Wherever we go around Italy there will be either church, either monastery or the convent of the Virgin Marry or San Francis. I like the churches dedicated to San Francesco, which is original name for San Francis, because such a church is usually modest even if big in its proportions. I wish all churches to be modest like that, serving to the people not showing up with the uneccessary luxury.
The gate driving to the road to Legnago is the most fortificated of the town.
At least 5 orders of doors (some sliding from the top and still in place) where in place to stop the offenders... If they already succeded in crossing the moat, of course!
The Duomo, or the main church of the town, dates at around 15th century. The construction lasted about 70 years... and that explains a few stylistical diffrences across the building...
It's located in the central Square, ina very open and scenic position.
A good place to show its simple elegance
After the lamentations by Borazzi, the Bishop of Padova, who wasn't satisfied by the progression of the construcion, the works of the cathedral were took over by the famous Renaissance architect Lorenzo da Bologna. It helps to understand the differences in styles which can be noticed on the external and the internal parts of the cathedral. Lorenzo da Bologna managed to harmonize the elements of Gothic with those of Renaissance style.
The imposing Cathedral of Montagnana, with its huge proportions, dominates the whole Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. The cathedral is dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, since 1426 the patron saint of the city of Montagnana.
Accorfing to the 10th century document, the cathedral was built on the site of an previous church.
The construction started in 1431 by Cristoforo da Bolzano in Venetian Gothic style and was finished only in 1502, partly in the Renaissance style.
Castello San Zeno, which is incorporated in the city walls, dates back to the Ezzelino era of the town, i.e. the beginning of the 14th century. It was the time when incursions from the Scaligeri of Verona could have been hazardous, therefore the whole fortification and its walls were strenghtened.
Today the castle houses Museum and Tourist Office, closed on Sunday, however, the day of my visit to Montagnana.
I am not surprised to see such a attractive medieval palaces turned into the banks nowadays. Actually, this one, besides the huge cathedral, is the first thing I've noticed on Piazza Vittorio Emanuele. My first thought was, it must me the Town Hall, but there was any city flag.
There is nothing in the city guide book indicating the history of this palace, strange!
Most of the houses, situated on Piazza Vittorio Emanuele (the main city suqare) and its close surroundings are porticoed, likewise in many other medieval Italian towns. This one on the picture attracted me so much, especially its wooden ceiling.
Not much of the stone was used in the construction of the walls and yet, it survived during the centuries. Is it because there wasn't any battle for the town or, because the beauty of the fortification convinced potential attackers to quit attacking before even started it?
Andrea Palladio and his work is another of my obssesions. To those who might not know it, Palladio was the greatest architect of Renaissance and is considering as the most inovative architects of all times. In 1552 Palladio realised a building for his friend Francesco Pisani, famous Venetian patrician and Maecenas. The building is almost cubic volume and worth of particular interest. For the first time a two-storey portico of engaged columns and a two-storey loggia crowned by pediments appear in a villa (a solution applied at the Palazzo Chiericati in Vicenza). The sculptures of the villa are work of Alessandro Vittoria.
Villa Pisani is situated outside the city walls, right opposite to the Castle of San Zeno.
On the way to Montagnana, we could not imagine that a walled town was nearby. It's an area with lots of factories and big showrooms for furniture and somewhat modern buildings at that.
Suddenly, the walls were there, and we were overwhelmed! Seeing the walls at night with the lights on them as in this picture is really spectacular.
This is Castel San Zeno at Porta Padova with its imposing donjon of Ezzelino.
It is the most ancient fortification in Montagnana.
This building is now the seat of a Congress and Exibitions Centre, public library, and Civic Museum.
In the museum there are sections about Pre-Roman and Roman remains, medieval history, and music.
It's nice to have been in a town that has preserved its history and kept the architecture as it was. Quite Impressive!
The Fortress of the Trees was a formidable fortress and a real jewel of military architecture, which was ordered built by Francesco I the Old Da Carrara. It was built in only two years in 1360. This fortress served as a stronghold within the walls where the town was more exposed to the enemy attack. It is in excellent shape.
Since 1963 it has served as an unique Youth Hostel. It is a popular site in Mantagnana.
Tourists' Busses come to this town just to show the tourists this youth hostel!
The Da Carrara family built the walls of Montagnana, but legend always connects these walls with Ezzelino III da Romano, the Emperor's Vicar in Italy.
He was an ambitious and skillful fighter who had a meteoric rise which was historically associated with the town of Montagnana. Ezzelino destroyed the town in a huge fire in 1242 and then rebuilt it again.
Ezzelino's name has remained attached to the highest tower of the town: the dojon of San Zeno Castle.
Today the wall is pretty much as it was and still has the towers and the entrances. The one-time moat is made of green, green grass today.
Montagnana's Cathedral in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele was started under Gothic influence in 1431 and was finished in the Renaissance in 1502, so you can see features of both styles.
It's light in color and really stands out in this small village. Inside, it is wide and airy with a large nave and without columns and covered with a barrel vault.
A lovely frescoed band runs along the whole perimeter of the cathedral right at the basis of the vault. There is also a large fresco of the apse which is a work by Buonconsiglio. The altars of St. Anthony and of the Holy Sacrament are remarkable. In the 1930's during the restoration of the Cathedral, two frescoes representing David and Judith were found.
The day that we visited (it was a Saturday), there was some kind of religious ceremony going on with visiting nuns and priests. The pictures shows the procession in front of the church. They marched out into the piazza and down a street in the town. They had a truck with a loud speaker that played the prayers and the songs. It was quite a ceremony.