This huge palace was built between 1172 and 1218 to serve as law court and council chamber. What we see today dates from 1306 to 1309. The building has a great hall on the upper floor called "Salone" (lenght is 815 meters, breadth 27 m. heights 24m.) This hall was decorated with frescoes by Giotto with astrological themes, but fire destroyed this work in 1420. Then the hall was rebuilt and turned into a single room. Originally there were three. In 1756 a whirlwind damaged the frescoes and torn away the roof almost completely. The palace was restored again.
Inside the palace you can see also a big wooden horse built in 1466 and a stone called Pietra del Vituperio. Insolvent debtors had to sit on this stone in underwear three times before beign exiled. They had to say "cedo bonis" (I give away everything). If they dared to go back to Padova and they were caught they had to suffer the same retribution and three buckets of water were poured on their heads.
The Palazzo della Ragione (can be translated into Widsom's Palace) was the meeting room of the former City Council. Its contruction began in 1218 but, in 1306, Giovanni degli Eremitani gave it the present look, outstanding for such a period. The big saloon is really huge (it streches for 81 meters with a width of 27 meters and 27 meters high) and the dark wooden ceiling, reminds to a ship's bottom. Original frescos should have painted by Giotto, but were destroyed by fire in 1420. Nowadays frescos are younger but still quite ancient (XV° century).
There is a geogeos wooden horse, a copy of Donatello's horse and two egyptian sfiges. On a corner, you can see a Foucault's clock, which represents the strong connection between Padova and scientists (the University of Padova is very well renewed for scientific studies).
The Palace divides the most important squares of Padova and in one of its part, is nowadays location for the local administration.
Entrance fee without reduction: 4 euros
The Grand Hall or Salone is reached by ascending either of the 2 staircases to the right of the palace - entering from Plazza della Erbe. Near the top of the steps You'll find the ticket desk.
This was run by quite an intimidating woman, who seemed quite impatient as I struggled to find my purse. I tried to explain that my Padova card had just expired, but she said it was OK, and let me in for free.
I think it's 8 euros otherwise - so perhaps she was kinder than I'd first thought!
Clutching the 2 sheets of info I'd been handed with my ticket, I entered the Salone - Phew It was huge! As I was the only person there I felt quite awestruck!.
My second impression was of the walls, entirely covered with astrological frescoes (apparently 217 linear metres of artwork!)
After taking in this view, I spotted the wooden horse at the far end of the hall - just visible in my photo - if you enlarge it You get a bit of a better view. (Though it's a poor photo)
The info sheet mentioned that on the Southern wall is a relief of a golden sun, which at mid day, has a ray of sunlight beaming through its mouth, striking the floor on the meridian line! This was designed by Bortolomeo Ferracina in 1761.
Well, it took me a while to work out which was the Southern wall, and even longer to find the sun relief.
After asking the curator, I found it! If You look on the floor, You'll see the meridian line - just follow this up the wall, and there it is!
I'm afraid my photos are quite dark, so they don't show this hall to its advantage.
Open 0900 - 1800 from 1st November to 31st January
0900 - 1900 from 1st February to 31st October
Closed Mondays except public hols 25-26 December, 1st January and 1st May.
Padova card = free admission. If there is a temporary exhibition taking place a reduced entrance fee must be paid.
Please see my following tips for more info and pics on this impressive hall
In the North Eastern corner of the huge hall is to be found the "Pietra del vituperio" or the Stone of Shame. A flat topped urn shaped stone on stone steps
This was possibly placed here in 1231, on the orders of Saint Anthony. It's purpose was to punish or ridicule insolvent debtors, before they were exiled.
Wearing only their underwear, the debtors were required to sit on the stone three times, and speak the words "Cedo bonis" (I renounce my worldly goods). They were then banished.
If they dared to return to the city and were caught, they had to go through the same procedure, but in addition 3 buckets of water were poured on their heads (I've also read that flour was thrown onto them)
Earlier, I'd witnessed some students graduating from the University, undergoing a similar humiliating ritual, whilst, reading from a large sheet of paper, drinking from a bottle of wine, and dressed in costumes - fellow students intermittently poured water over them, or threw flour - So I wondered if this tradition was being carried on here!!
The Palace of Reason is one of Paduas most important monuments.
It is sandwiched between the Piazza delle Erbe and the Piazza della Frutta.
The centre of Padova probably rose from an ancient Roman Forum, and through the centuries, this has remained an important civic, political and economic area.
Originally built between 1218 and 1219, the first floor contained 3 large halls where judges held court. Smaller rooms were for city officials such as the Tax collector. There was also a chapel to Sant Prosdocimo.
In 1306 Fra' Giovanni degli Eremitani enlarged this space - raising the walls to 6 metres and designing a new roof, decorated in stars and planets to resemble the sky.
Pietro d'Abano who was Professor of medicine and natural philosophy at Padova University inspired this work, which was created by Giotto (with help from his assistants, this took 2 years to complete) The renovation was carried out to to accomodate the law courts. (which functioned until the end of the 18th Century).
However, on Feb. 2nd 1420 fire destroyed this masterpiece of art and construction.
Restoration began immediately. A naval architect - Bartolomeo Rizza, rebuilt the ship bottomed vault, but removed all the partitioned rooms - thereby creating the vast single hall. Which became known as 'Il Salone' The Great Hall
Much of Giottos work was lost, but frescoes were repainted by local artists Nicolo Miretto and Stefano da Ferrara- being completed in the 1450s.
Further work was added by Jacopo da Montagnana and Domenico Campagnola.
A hurricane on August 17th 1756 blew off the roof, damaging the frescoes again.
3 Years later, the vault was re constucted, and Francesco Zannoni started restoring the frescoes (27.07.1762 - 27.09.1770) The original sky decoration, which had had more than 7,000 painted stars wasn't recreated.
Further work was carried out in 1963.
The 'Palazzo della Ragione', popularly known as ‘Il Salone’, was built in 1218. 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. In 1425 Nicolo Miretto and Stefano de Ferrara made a new decoration.
There's a giant wood horse inside this Palace.
Built in 1218 by the Commune and raised in 1306, a work, by Fra' Giovanni degli Eremitani, who added the loggias and the magnificent keel-shaped roof, it was the seat of the City Courts. The upper floor is occupied by a single hall (81 x 27 m.; 27 m. high), one of the largest hanging halls in the world, called the Salone.
The walls are entirely frescoed with astrological and religious subjects. The original decoration, traditionally attributed to Giotto and to his school, was destroyed in a fire in 1420 and remade by Nicolo' Miretto and Stefano da Ferrara (1425-1440).
The hall keeps a huge wooden horse, which was built for a joust in 1466..
Frescoes painted in 1420-25 by Nicola Miretto cover the walls of the main hall: the 333 panels depict the months of the year, with gods, signs of the zodiac and seasonal activities. A large statue of a horse stands at one end of the hall. Its a 1466 copy of the horse of the Gattamelata statue by Donatello that stands outside the Basilica of St Anthony.
Open: 9am-7pm Tue-Sun (Nov-Feb: to 6pm).
The "Palace of Reason" is also known as the Salone and stands in the middle of Padua. It was built between 1172 and 1218 to serve as Padua's law court and council chamber. The beautiful vast hall was originally decorated with frescoes by Giotto, but fire destroyed his work in 1420. The building is breathtaking in its sheer size. Its the largest undivided medieval hall in Europe measuring 80m (260ft) long, 27m (90ft) wide and 27m (90ft) high.
This beautiful palace (reminiscent of the one in Verona) was the seat of the city courts. It was built in 1218 and its upper floor is occupied by a single hall (81 x 27 m.; 27 m. high), one of the largest hanging halls in the world, called the Salone. The Salone sits proudly between the two bustling market sqaures of Padova - Erbe and Frutta squares.
It was late afternoon when I took this pic though and the markets were finished for the day.
The 'Palazzo della Ragione' (The region’s Palace).
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.
Padova is full of nice buildings, squares and streets. The Palazzo della Raggione has an unique big room with astronomy paintings in the ceeling. In front of this palace there is the Piazza delle Erbe, always busy and crowded. The Caffè Peddrocchi was opened in 1831 as a meeting point for students and intellectual people.