Explore the TerritoryFoto Marta Viola
Regional Park of the Euganean Hills
Here nature offers unforgettable moments of beauty and surprises as you can vary your walks from steep rocky climbs to gentle slopes of olive trees and vineyards. In every season.
Open country side and calcerous meadows with natural springs are alternated with forests of oak, chestnut, Carpinus Betulus, Arbutus Unedo and ash trees.
You can find numerous botanical species, such as indigenous orchids and lillies, Ruta Patavina, the Fico d’India nano (Optuntia Compressa), Aglio Orsino, Amaryllidaceae, Helleborus Viridis, and various anemones, and other flowers.
And on the odd occasion, you may meet a fox, a pheasant, hares, martens and uncountable birds such as owls, falcons, cuckoos, nightingales, hoopoes and woodpeckers.
Everywhere you can find traces of our past: fortifications, monasteries, villas, retreats, historical gardens, and even settlements of civilizations up to 35 million years old.
Famous people spent time here: Petrarca, Byron, Shelley, Ugo Foscolo, Pollini and many others.
Padua, one of the oldest cities in Italy, is very close to Terre Bianche. As a historic city of great charm, it is comparable to a treasure chest of a unique artistic and cultural heritage. Tourists from all over the world are mesmerized by its architecture, the walls, churches, squares and palaces of incomparable beauty.
Padua is known as Città di Gran Dottori, the city of important graduates, thanks to its prestigious University. Founded in 1222, it is one of the oldest universities of the world.
The Tuscan scientist Galileo Galilei lived and taught here from 1592 to 1610. The Anatomical Theatre of the university commissioned and designed by Girolamo Fabrici d'Acquapendente dates back to 1594. Definitely the oldest one in Europe, it is perfectly preserved.
The Palazzo del Bo, seat of the old University, houses a statue of Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, the first woman in the world to get a degree in Philosophy in 1678.
Starting from 1932, a new wing was built around a courtyard called Cortile Nuovo or Cortile Littorio. The renovations were carried out by the talented and famous architect Gio Ponti with the collaboration of numerous 20th century artists who contributed with sculptures and frescoes to decorate the new wing where the academic apartments and the Rectorate are located.
Noteworthy is the statue of Palinuro (1947) by Arturo Martini, which is dedicated to a partisan commander, and represents a tribute to the Resistance. Frescoes and mosaics by painters such as Filippo De Pisis, Achille Funi, Ferruccio Ferrazzi and Gino Severini can be admired in the rooms of the Bo. In 1995, on a wall of the Cortile Nuovo Jannis Kounellis created the sculpture Resistance and Liberation, which evokes the struggle against Fascism and the liberation of Italy.
Close to the University is the Caffè Pedrocchi, also called “Café without doors” because it remained open day and night from its inauguration in 1831 until 1916. The café, one of the symbols of Padua, owes its international and unquestionable reputation for its historical importance during the Italian Risorgimento. On February 8, 1848, following the wounding of a university student inside the café, the Italian Risorgimento uprisings began. It is also famous for its coffee with mint cream and its many neoclassical rooms
The Palazzo della Ragione (seat of the Court in the 13th century) known also as Il Salone was built in 1218 and later enlarged by Giovanni degli Eremitani in 1306. He raised the hall and built its roof in the very characteristic shape of an overturned ship’s hull. Inside there is an incredibly large suspended hall completely frescoed with a very rare medieval astrological cycle. Since in Medieval times it was the seat of the Court, there are also frescoes that allegorically represent Justice and Law such as the Judgement of Solomon. On the ground floor there is still a large attractive covered market that sells local culinary excellence.
The cycle of frescoes by Giotto at the Scrovegni Chapel (early 14th century) represents the birth of modern painting and is one of the masterpieces of Western art.
Other famous artists such as Giusto da Menabuoi, Guariento, Donatello and Mantegna chose to work in Padua.
The Botanical Garden of Padua, founded in 1545, was listed as a cultural asset in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997. To add splendor to the garden a modern structure was built to host a Biodiversity Garden.
The Loggia Cornaro, built in 1524, is an enchanting architecture designed by Giovanni Maria Falconetto. It was a space dedicated to theatrical performances. Here the first Society of professional comedians was born, creating the ground of Commedia dell’Arte.
Also, William Shakespeare set his comedy The Taming of the Shrew in Padua.
The Basilica of St. Anthony represents a pilgrimage destination of Christianity and is known by locals simply by the name Il Santo, the Saint. Inside there are sculptures by Donatello, frescos by Andrea Mantegna and numerous works of other important artists.
The Prato della Valle, the second largest square in Europe after Moscow’s Red Square, is a charming place to walk around while admiring the historic buildings that surround it, and the imposing Basilica of St. Justina. This elliptical-shaped square is adorned with 78 statues of prominent figures of Padua such as Galileo Galilei and Antenore, the Trojan hero founder of the city.
Vicenza, a pearl of the Renaissance, and its Villas
Vicenza presents itself as the scenic city par excellence. Its architecture was designed in perfect harmony by the great designer Andrea Palladio. In the 16th century, Vicenza golden Age, the great and well-known architect Andrea Palladio designed a new urban and landscape layout of the city. This opened the way to a new concept of architectural model for entire generations of designers. Today, Vicenza maintains its perfect architectural harmony in the discreet charm of its artistic treasures.
In 1994 Vicenza was therefore included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, while the Palladian Villas were listed in 1996.
In 2012 Time magazine cited Vicenza among the 10 coolest destinations.
Among the not-to-be-missed jewels of this city is the Teatro Olimpico. Made of wood and stucco it was designed by Palladio. The fixed set, which has incredible architectural perspectives depicting “Le Vie di Tebe”, is a masterpiece by another great Renaissance architect, Vincenzo Scamozzi.
The Basilica Palladiana (1549-1617) stands out in the historical center.
In the Basilica of Monte Berico, on top of a hill that dominates the city, there is an ancient refectory where you can admire a large canvas, one of the most beautiful works of the painter Veronese, which represents the Supper of St. Gregory the Great.
In the immediate vicinity stands Villa Valmarana “Ai Nani” whose guest house was frescoed by Gian Battista Tiepolo and his son Gian Domenico Tiepolo.
A short distance from the latter is the exquisite Villa Almerico Capra Valmarana called La Rotonda. Also this charming villa was designed by Palladio with the contribution of Scamozzi. It is perfectly symmetrical with a square plan.
Vicenza and its Villas can be easily reached by bicycle or car from Terre Bianche.
Venice and its lagoon are just 40 minutes from Terre Bianche. Unique, romantic, vivacious and magic: this is how Venice appears. There everything is precious art, magnificent architecture, vibrant culture. There everything smells of ancient history.
With its impressive St. Mark’s Basilica, covered with magnificent and refined marble and mosaics, St. Mark’s Square is unique in its exquisiteness. The Bell Tower and the Doge’s Palace, symbol of the Serenissima, overlook the square. Next to the Basilica is the Clock Tower, a masterpiece of engineering, which marks the passage of time. The Procuratie, elegant palaces that delimit the three sides of the square look like an ornamental lace of incomparable beauty.
Also, in St. Mark’s Square is the oldest Italian Café (1720), the Caffè Florian with its elegant interiors that are reflected in many of the mirrors that decorate its walls.
From St. Mark’s Square you can see the island of San Giorgio Maggiore with its soaring bell tower that rises from the monumental complex, which is a masterpiece of great architects, including the famous Andrea Palladio. It is a real open-air museum that you can visit just crossing the Grand Canal, the city’s main “waterway”. The Grand Canal begins at Punta della Dogana, the ancient port of the Serenissima, which has a characteristic triangular shape.
There are four bridges that cross the canal: the Accademia Bridge, the Rialto Bridge (the oldest and most famous), the Scalzi Bridge and the newest Constitution Bridge.
Punta della Dogana, where the Grand Canal and the Giudecca Canal divide, is home to a number of buildings, including the Dogana da Mar complex which, together with Palazzo Grassi, both headquarters of the François Pinault Foundation, are centers of excellence for contemporary art in Italy and around the world.
Getting lost among campi and campielli, squares and small squares, and calli, the typical Venetian streets, is a must, as well as walking head up to admire mullioned windows and cornices, palaces and statues.
Walking around you can arrive to the Arsenal, which was built in the 12th century and then enlarged during the great political and commercial development of Venice. Today it is home to the Biennale of Art and Architecture. The International Film Festival is held, instead, in the historic Palazzo del Cinema at the Lido.
Not to be missed is the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, a prestigious collection of 20th century works of art exhibited at Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. Other outstanding museums are the Academy Galleries, housed in the majestic complex of the Scuola Grande de la Carità, which also includes a church and monastery with the same name, and Ca' Rezzonico, one of the most beautiful Renaissance palaces, home to the Venetian 18th century Museum.
The city of Venice is divided in sestieri (six neighborhoods) which are Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, San Marco, San Polo and Santa Croce. They all have renowned campi that are framed by splendid religious buildings and elegant noble palaces.
The lagoon that surrounds Venice is scattered with many islands. The most important are Burano, famous for the production of lace; Murano, for glass processing; Pellestrina, characterized by the colorful fishermen’s houses and its sand dunes; and Torcello, one of the oldest human settlements in the area.
The Walled Cities
Monselice has always lived history as a protagonist since it can be considered a bridge connecting the hills with the plain. With the Estensi it became a walled city, and then starting from 1405 the Venetians embellished it with patrician residences. For example, the early medieval fortress castle, later enlarged by the Carraresi family, was transformed into a residence by the Venetian Marcello family at the end of the 15th century. In 1942 the castle was enriched with precious collections of weapons, furniture and furnishings. The 14th century fireplaces can still be admired. The Antiquarium Longobardo collects valuable findings from the Longobard necropolis located on the hill of the Rocca.
Moreover, in Monselice you can visit the Renaissance Villa Nani Mocenigo, a superb villa whose walls are adorned with statues of midgets; the area of the Jubilee Sanctuary of the Seven Churches designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi; and the elegant Villa Duodo.
Este was inhabited since the Neolithic age and later it became a Roman colony. The exceptional collections at the Atestino National Museum, one of the six most important archaeological museums in Italy, testify to the cultural and commercial importance of the ancient inhabitants of the area. Among the grave goods from the Atestine necropolis of the 9th and 3rd centuries B.C. is the Situla Benvenuti, a 7th century B.C. bronze vase of rare beauty, chiseled with representations of real and fantastic animals and scenes of everyday life.
Around year 1000 Azzo II arrived in Este. He was a very powerful feudal lord who became the forefather of the House of Este, for which its name is precisely derived from this city. In Este you can visit the Castle with its powerful walls, the magnificent Cathedral of St. Tecla that preserves the Intercession of St. Tecla by Giambattista Tiepolo, and superb villas surrounded by parks designed by Jappelli, such as Villa Cornaro-Benvenuti and Villa Contarini located inside the walled city. Famous Italian celebrities, such as Alvise Cornaro and Ruzante, as well as foreigners such as Shelley, Lord Byron, Debussy and Bruce Chatwin stayed in Este hosted by important families.
Also, it is worth mentioning the renowned Pottery of Este. From prehistoric times till today the production of pottery has never stopped. Many artisans still hand make their creations with workmanship and decorations appreciated all over the world.
Montagnana is a superb fortified medieval city that owes its incredibly and perfectly preserved walls to the lordship of the Carraresi. Its 2 km long walls and the 24 massive hexagonal towers, each of them almost 20 meters high, are still intact. The highest tower is the famous keep of St. Zeno Castle.
Inside the walls you can visit the Cathedral, that preserves a painting by Paolo Veronese, and St. Francis Church where you can admire a painting by Palma il Giovane. Noteworthy is Villa Pisani designed by the well-known architect Andrea Palladio.
Montagnana is also famous for its Palio dei 10 comuni and for the incomparable production of its sweet Prosciutto Crudo.
Itineraries of the Spirit
Monasteries, convents and sanctuaries are scattered across the Euganean Hills and the province of Padua, which has always been an important religious and spiritual center. In these sacred places you will be immersed in a surprisingly magical atmosphere. Many of these sites are located just 10 km from Agriturismo Terre Bianche.
In the quiet medieval atmosphere of the Abbazia di Santa Maria Assunta, a Benedictine Abbey located in Praglia, you can admire precious treasures such as the chapter room, the 15th-16th century large monumental refectory, the ancient library characterized by a wooden ceiling adorned with a valuable painting cycle by Zelotti (1550), and four communicating cloisters, one of which is hanging. The Abbey has a remarkable Laboratory for the restoration of books and works of art on paper, which has international fame. Also, every Sunday at 11 a.m. an evocative mass with Gregorian chants is celebrated.
The Sanctuary of Monteortone, at the base of the homonymic hill, is a sanctuary consecrated to the Blessed Virgin of Health. Inside there is a valuable cycle of frescoes by Jacopo da Montagnana and a crucifixion by Palma il Giovane.
The Sanctuary of Monte della Madonna is a small and quite ancient 15th century Benedictine hermitage that belongs to the friars of Praglia. It is surrounded by greenery and tranquility.
In Abano Terme you can visit the Monastery of San Daniele dating back to 1086. It was long inhabited by the Benedictines of the Basilica of St. Justina in Padua. Next to it, there is a charming little church built in 1711 by Francesco Muttoni.
Situated in an appealing position on the hilly landscape, the Hermitage of Monte Rua in Torreglia is still inhabited by Camaldolese monks who pray, work and cultivate their vegetable garden. The walls that surround it, enclose a church and 14 cells, each of them with a bed, a small study and a private garden. Originally built in wood, it was then restored in stone, and it perfectly blends with the landscape. The peaceful atmosphere of the hermitage is imbued of prayers and meditation. However, only men can access it!
Do not hesitate to ask us for advice and suggestions regarding the numerous gardens in the Province of Padua, extraordinary examples of landscape architecture; an age-old art that has helped make famous our architects all over the world. Some of the gardens of the VENECIAN AND PALLADIAN VILLAS are close to the Euganean Hills and easily accessible from Agriturismo Terre Bianche.
Within a 30 km range you can visit:
- Villa Emo Capodilista Garden – Monselice
- Villa Barbarigo Garden - Valsansibio
- Villa Valmarana Garden - Saonara
- Villa Vescovana Garden - Vescovana
- Old and New Botanical University gardens - Padua
The Venetian Villas of the Brenta Canal
The Venetian Villa represents an early tourist attraction: a cruise along the Brenta Canal admiring the series of magnificent 15th and 16th century villas along its banks.
The Brenta Canal that connects Venice with Padova has been the fashion for as long as four centuries, and is still as spectacular as ever.
Within a one hour distance radius, you will find numerous Palladio Villas (“Palladian Villas”). Plan your own personalized Palladio journey the way you like best, according to your own standards. Starting from Vicenza, for example, only half an hour away from Terre Bianche.
The City of Vicenza and the Palladian villas of Veneto are included in the Unesco World Heritage List and offers various itineraries, that can also be done by bicycle on special cycle paths, along which you will find master pieces of the Palladio architecture with its typical landscaping, such as Villa Americo Capra Valmarana, also called “la Rotonda”, or Villa Valmarana ai Nani (with Tiepolo affrescos) and Cordellina Lombardi. We are happy to help you plan your day out and have all the appropriate information here at Terre Bianche.
Out of the Box
And for those who are interested in finding the unusual, the surprise, the experience most tourists don’t get to see as they run from one highlight to another, think of.
The PRE-CINEMA Museum, Padova 20 minutes away from Terre Bianche, also known as the museum “the Magic Lantern”, whose curator won the 2008 Jean Mitry Prize, has become of international renown. This museum offers various pre-cinema journeys that show how the World of Cinema came about, such as Goethe’s Italian Journey, the Italian Visions by Dickens, In Search of Lost Time and Victorian Christmas, and for recent activities go to Facebook.
Brand new MUSME (inaugurated June 2015), Padova’s museum of the History of Medicine located in the monumental complex of the ancient Hospital of San Francesco built in 1414, interactive and original, discover Medicine the way you’ve never seen it before!
The Museum of Jews (inaugurated June 2015). Padova is known all through history as the city of medicine and jews.
The Esapolis Museum of Insects, Padova only 20 minutes away, has a Mission: to show the world of insects to everybody, old and young. But, only for those who are not afraid of LIVE insects!
The international mask museum of Amleto and Donato Sartori, at Abano Terme 10 minutes away from Terre Bianche, which offers besides an important collection of masks which follows their ethnological and anthropological history through many important ritual and tribal functions, various activities such as the Seminar “Art of the Mask in the Commedia dell’Arte”, scientific research for the Masks and Gestural Structures Centre, courses and teaching in collaboration with the University of Padua, conferences and workshops on restoration, painting, conservation and sculpture.
The MUVEC, the museum of bells (Museo delle Campane e dei Campanelli) in Montegalda, here 12 minutes away, set in the context of a “Villa Veneta” and its historical gardens.