Walled medieval 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.