"Where time stood still..." Arqua Petrarca by mapakettle
Arqua Petrarca Travel Guide: 29 reviews and 47 photos
Ma Kettle and I had been told countless times that we should visit Arqua Petrarca, located about 21 km south of Padova, deep within the Euganean Hills.
There was a lady Ma met on her bus, who, for weeks, had promised to take her to visit her home town, and continued to constantly praise the community she grew up in. Unfortunately, at one point, this lady stopped boarding the bus at her usual time, and we hope that she simply changed jobs, or received a promotion. Other reasons we prefer not to even consider.
Arqua Petrarca is a beautiful little medieval town, perfectly preserved, with stone surfaces everywhere you look, dotted with colourful potted plants and flowers, which adorn every home or store front. The streets are spotless, carefully swept, and no trash or litter was in evidence the day of our visit.
Arqua Petrarca is named after the poet Francesco Petrarca, who lived here from 1369, until his death in 1374. To me, naming the town after some fellow who wrote poems for a living, especially after living there for such a short time, is a bit of a stretch, but hey, whatever works. I'll bet there was a pretty lively debate in the town hall the night that proposition was put forth. However, the powers to be declared it to be so, therefore the name remains today. In fact, so does Mr. Petrarca.
His body can be found within a tomb constructed of red marble, imported from Vicenza. The tomb occupies the centre of the courtyard of the church of St. Maria. This church square was the gathering place of children and local families for many years, which makes me question the wisdom of placing a body smack dab in the centre of it.
An odd piece of info though, in doing a bit of research on Petrarca, it had been said that he was unusually tall for that era (1.83 meters), so his skull was removed in order to reconstruct his cranium, and obtain a computerized image of his features. In doing so, a DNA testing in 2004, proved that the skull found in the casket, in fact, did not belong to Petrarca.
There was quite a hue and cry over this slight oversight, and the return of the skull was promptly demanded by Arqua Petrarca authorities. So, I suppose the question remains, who is the house guest within this beautiful red marble tomb?
I loved wandering about this little town. Pride in community is very evident, and certainly the touristry stuff is present, but less so than with most towns dependent upon tourism. Just to see the cobblestone streets, the well kept stone work, the beautiful walls of brick and rock, it's just wonderful... The old part of town is built on an incline, so be prepared for lots of climbing. The parking area is located at the foot of the town, and there is an uphill climb just to reach the town portals. Consider it to be about five minutes of a casual, but vigorous climb. I found little in the way of benches to sit at during our exploring, but discovered a couple of water fountains placed here and there, free for the asking.
If you are wheelchair bound, or troubled with hip or knee problems, I strongly suggest you give Arqua Petrarca a pass. The streets are very narrow, and traffic is closed to all but locals. This does not prevent the noisy and intrusive, always present Vespa's, from zipping about, and with many blind corners and sudden rises, it is wise to keep your children in close proximity. This is a thriving and working community, not Disney World, so everyday life continues.
There are numerous little enotecas dotted along the way, with locally made wines, honey, etc., all offered for sale with a smile, and served with great confidence. Do compare pricing, as we noticed a discrepancy from store to store.
A typical bottle of wine might cost the shopper 4.-5 euro. I sampled some vino purely for research purposes, and, I'm pleased to say, it was worth a second purchase.
And now, a pleasant surprise awaits. For everyone of you who walked up this incline, you receive, free of charge, one coupon, which entitles you to a leisurely stroll back to the parking lot...all downhill. Enjoy.
- Pros:very clean, retaining much of the medievel feel
- Cons:small, would feel confining after two full days
- In a nutshell:great place to set up home base, and travel to other places from
How do the locals get about doing daily business, such as grocery shopping, with heavy loads of food stuffs, water, and... more travel advice
At the end of 'pottery lane', there are a set of steps that lead up a fairly steep hill, to a war memorial. I'm ashamed... more travel advice
- War memorial...yes, but great photo ops
- See All Looking for local wine, Olive Oil, honey...
- See All Note the foliage
- Don't trust the Sita bus...
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