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In the countryside south of the Euganean Hills, along the road that connects Padua to Mantua, Montagnana stands out as one of the most intact and best preserved medieval fortified complexes in the world. With its 1950 metres of 14th-century walls with crenellations, 24 towers reaching as high as 19 metres and 4 gateways set in immaculate lawns, the Castle of St Zeno (whose keep is 38.40 m high) was once used by the Venetians as a hemp store. It is now home to the Antonio Giacomelli Museum.

Equally well-preserved is the historic town centre, which lies within the magnificent walls. With its porticoed streets, large central square it has the atmosphere of a typical Venetian lowland village. Especially worth seeing is Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, which in the Middle Ages was the market square. It is framed by porticoed buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, including Palazzo del Monte di Pietà (founded as a social bank by friars in 1497) and the Cathedral of St Mary, an imposing building with an impressive façade.

The king of the local specialities is "Prosciutto Veneto PDO", a cured ham with a sweet flavour that was already enjoyed in the 15th century and which is now subject to strict production regulations, thanks to the Consortium responsible for protecting regional produce. During the second half of May, the village celebrates with a large food and wine festival, including wine tastings and pairings with Venetian Doc wines. To go with the delicious prosciutto, there's also the local Montagnana melon while those with a sweet tooth might want to try the Pandolce di Ezzelino sweetbread or the Dolce del Palio, named after an important local event held on the first Sunday in September, the Palio dei 10 Comuni. The event brings together the 10 communities of the Montagnana “Sculdascia” to watch a thrilling horse race.


35044 Montagnana PD, Italia

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