In the 'Piazza della Frutta' we can find 'Palazzo della Ragione'. This building has its origins in 1218, when the city of Padua constructed it because it needed a building for its court. In 1306 a new floor, the arcade and the ceiling were added. Unluckily the original decoration of the building (by Giotto) was destroyed in a fire in 1420.
At the other side of this building there’s another square: 'Piazza delle Erbe',
The Piazza della Frutta is a market square in Padua's historic center. The vendors in the Piazza sell fruit, as well as clothing and other items. On the day that we were there, it was fairly slow, with less than half the square occupied by vendors.
Without a doubt is the Piazza della Frutta (square of fruit) is a natural centre of the town, but definitely not a true tourist trap. But is this a good reason to avoid it and not visit it? Because there is not enough to see or do? No, not at all. That’s why I putted this main square in the tip section "Must see"! And I can also tell you why :)
At the north part of the square you will see a true beautiful arcades, galleries and buildings with those amazing cast iron balconies. Besides that you won’t miss the Palazzo della Ragione, but more about that beautiful building is written in several separate tips. Keep in mind that the Piazza della Frutta is a nice spot to sit on the terrace and enjoy all the beautiful historical buildings that the square has to offer and also watch the people go by. A pleasant local tradition is the spritz or aperitif in one of the cafés starting between 7 and 8 in the evening. There are lots of students and young people, which makes for a very pleasant atmosphere.
The surrounding buildings at the Piazza della Frutta are truly breath taking. Of course the Palazzo della Ragione is the main building you will see once you enter the square. Don’t forget to have a good look at the white facades above the fascinating galleries at the north part of the square. We always love to have a good look at these kind of building, bringing this amazing southern European atmosphere. Besides that at the north eastern part of Piazza della Frutta you will see the clock tower of the Palazzo della Ragione. Funny thing is that we didn’t noticed that it was actually the clock tower of the palace. As the stone structure of the tower is complete different as the main building of the palace we didn’t thing such a thing.
In this setting it is great to have a daily market. We read in advance that the market at Piazza della Frutta is a visit to the best market in the world. Well, that is a bit of an overstatement, but still the market at the square is worth a visit indeed. It is a true assault on the senses with smells coming from the Italian cheese and Italian salami to fruit, from the spices to vegetables. The market was founded in the 12th century and still existing. It’s all part of the Padua’s daily market routine which has been taking place here for more than 800 years!
Once you are on the Piazza della Frutta you simply can’t miss out on the huge Palazzo della Ragione. If you are a person that is meandering about historic center of a town and a picturesque open-air market the Piazza della Frutta is the place to be. Together with the Palazzo della Ragione in the backdrop this is a destination never to forget. So, before being distracted by the color, smells, and cacophony of the sprawling outdoor fruit and vegetable market stalls, turn your attention to the magnificent Palazzo della Ragione, whose interior is as impressive as its exterior.
Only for its galleries it is worth a visit. Just walk your way up the stairs and at that point do look down at the daily market and enjoy the vibe. It was built in 1219 as the seat of Padua's parliament and was used as an assembly hall, courthouse, and administrative center. It is worth a visit and go inside as well. Enjoy the huge hall with its frescoes and the large wooden horse. After our visit inside we also took some time to walk around the building and enjoy the beautiful decorated facades.