Explore this beautiful medieval walled city that lies at the foot of the picturesque Euganean Hills. Este was the former headquarters of the noble House of Este. The name traces its origins to the river Adige, which flowed across the town's territory until 589 AD, when a series of earthquakes combined with tremendous floods to move its course. This tremendous settlement is a must-visit location when in the province of Padua, owing to its medieval architecture, local crafts and fascinating history.
A noble history
Este is surrounded by an imposing 1km-long circle of walls climbing the overlooking hill, crowned by a square keep at the summit. Stroll around the area within these walls to enjoy the scenic public garden, a lush and peaceful place to relax. At the bottom of the park lies a palace built in the 1500s by a noble Venetian family. It hosts a museum with a huge amount of archaeological finds dating back to pre-Roman times. Make sure to see the Situla Benvenuti, a bronze vase dating back to the 7th century before Christ and the collection of weapons, razors, tombstones and small statues. There's also a section dedicated to the traditional ceramic production of Este, displaying items created and painted in a period ranging from the 13th until the 18th century.
Elegant squares and arcades
Piazza Maggiore, was the main square during the Renaissance period, and it remains so today, lined with stores and bars with outdoor tables and it's well worth stopping here for a drink and something to eat. At the south side of the square stands the Palazzetto degli Scaligeri, a 1300s gothic palace hosting a library with about 50,000 volumes. You'll also be able to see the Romanesque Chiesa di San Martino, the oldest church in Este, built in 1026. Enjoy perusing the shopping road Corso Matteotti and its chic arcades for gifts and souvenirs. Este is celebrated for its ceramics, while the area as a whole produced wonderful local olive oil and wine.
From the shopping district, you can easily walk to the symbol of Este: the clock tower, called Porta Vecchia, meaning "old gate." Continue your walk towards via d'Azeglio along the fortifications up to Contrada San Francesco with its 1500s gate and old convent. Don't forget the imposing Cathedral of Santa Tecla, erected over the ruins of an early Christian Church: in its interior lies a painting of Gianbattista Tiepolo, considered a masterpiece. With so much to see and enjoy, Este is a fantastic day out for history and culture lovers alike and should be high on the list of any visiting guest.
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