cosa vedere a Cittadella in poche ore- Mura- fossato- torre- merlature

A Brief Itinerary to Discover the Walled Town in the Province of Padua

If you’re in Veneto and deciding on places to visit, read on to discover what to see in Cittadella and include it in your itinerary.

Cittadella is a town located in the northern part of the Padua province, bordering Treviso. Historically, this flatland served as the boundary between the territories of the two cities vying for Veneto supremacy. Consequently, both Treviso and Padua constructed fortresses on the banks of the Muson River. In 1220, Padua began building Cittadella, characterized by its elliptical and airy fortified layout, a novelty for its time. Uniquely, it had its statutes, granting it considerable autonomy. The Paduans aimed to establish it as an administrative and economic center, encouraging colonization of the border territory.

Cittadella’s history intertwined with Padua’s until the 15th century when both fell under Venetian rule. The town transformed from a military outpost to a hub for trade and services. Despite this, it never attained the cultural and artistic development of nearby Castelfranco, primarily due to the limited construction of Venetian noble country villas. Over subsequent centuries, Cittadella followed the fate of the Serenissima, becoming part of the Habsburg Empire and, from 1866, the Kingdom of Italy.

Today, Cittadella preserves its medieval charm, boasting the unique status of being Europe’s only walled city with a fully accessible elliptical medieval rampart walkway.

If you’re intrigued, read on to discover what to see in Cittadella in just a few hours.

What to See in Cittadella: The Walls

The primary attraction in Cittadella is undoubtedly its well-preserved medieval walls. The fortifications showcase 36 towers of varying sizes, each 30 meters apart, with four larger towers near the main gates. Supported by substantial earth buttresses compensating for the lack of foundations, these walls encircle a broad moat fed by spring waters. Initially not just defensive, the moat was used for fishing in the past. Nowadays, visitors can rent small electric boats to navigate around the walls for a different perspective.

What to see in Cittadella in a few hours - Panorama - Cittadella Cathedral - Houses - Bell Tower
Panorama of Cittadella from the Walls (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

A distinctive feature is the fully accessible walkway atop the walls, spanning over 1400 meters at a height of 14 meters. This leisurely stroll provides panoramic views both inside and outside the city walls, offering a unique perspective on Cittadella’s urban layout since its foundation.

Porta Bassanese and the Casa del Capitano

Start your exploration at Porta Bassanese, housing the tourist office (IAT) and marking the beginning of the rampart walkway. This fortified gateway, along with the Casa del Capitano, played a crucial role in the city’s defense. The Casa del Capitano accommodated garrisons, warehouses, wells, and other facilities crucial for the city’s survival during a siege.

What to see in Cittadella in a few hours - Porta Bassanese - Tower - battlements - bridge
Exterior of Porta Bassanese (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

Admire the massive fresco on the tower facing inward, depicting the coats of arms of Padua and the Carraresi family. Inside the Casa del Capitano, explore fascinating frescoes from the Carraresi, Malatesta, Sanseverino, and Borromeo periods. Scenes depicting daily life from that era enrich the historical atmosphere.

Porta Padovana and the Tower of Malta

Continuing the walk, you’ll reach Porta Padovana, the city’s main entrance facing Padua. This gateway is adorned with frescoes depicting the Carraresi cart and Padua’s coat of arms. Noteworthy are the three gates, the clock, and a spacious courtyard with a spiral staircase.

Porta Padova - Tower of Malta - frescoes - Coat of arms of the Carrares - coat of arms of Padua
Exterior of Porta Padovana

Adjacent stands the massive Tower of Malta, built in 1251 as a prison by Ezzelino III da Romano, Padua’s despotic ruler. Infamous for its harsh conditions, the tower is mentioned by Dante in the Divine Comedy. Today, it houses the small Civic Archaeological Museum, featuring artifacts from the Bronze Age to the Renaissance found in Cittadella.

What to see in Cittadella in a few hours - Archaeological Civic Museum - finds - shop windows - Torre di Malta
Hall of the Civic Archaeological Museum (Credit to Matteo Marongiu)

What to See in Cittadella: The Cathedral

Among Cittadella’s attractions is the imposing Cathedral in the central square. Constructed between the late 1700s and early 1800s in neoclassical style, the church may not catch your eye at first. However, the sacristy hosts a small art gallery with works by local painters, including Jacopo da Ponte’s “The Supper at Emmaus,” Andrea da Murano’s “Lamentation over the Body of Christ,” and a painting attributed to Palma il Giovane, “The Flagellation.”

What to see in Cittadella in a few hours - Cathedral - Facade - neoclassical
Facade of the Cathedral (Credit to Mtteo Marongiu)

The bell tower also houses an interesting Museum of Sacred Art, displaying items used in liturgical practices, altar decorations, goldsmithery, as well as paintings, statues, and inscriptions from various eras.

What to See in Cittadella: Palazzo Pretorio and the Church of Santa Maria del Torresino

Although physically and functionally distant, Palazzo Pretorio and the Church of Santa Maria del Torresino share a current destiny—frequent hosting of exhibitions, accessible during events or by appointment through the IAT.

Palazzo Pretorio, once the seat of podestà appointed by Padua and later the Serenissima, is worth a visit for its faux tapestry decorations, polychrome friezes, medallions, and tondi. Pay special attention to the pink marble entrance portal, featuring the lion of St. Mark and medallions of Pandolfo Malatesta and his brother Carlo, former lords of Cittadella..

Praetorian Palace - portal-pink marble-lion of San Marco
Portal of Palazzo Pretorio

Santa Maria del Torresino Church houses a notable wooden crucifix and medieval pulpit and marble basin from the pre-existing San Nicolò di Mejaniga church, predating Cittadella.

Church of Santa Maria del Torresino - facade - bricks
Facade of the Church of Santa Maria del Torresino

Cittadella: gli eventi più interessanti

Throughout the year, Cittadella hosts various intriguing events. Highlighting a few, the Medieval Reenactment organized by the Arme Dame and Cavalieri Association takes place every fourth weekend of September. This event transforms Cittadella into a 13thcentury city with musicians, jesters, knights engaging in combat, and a medieval market, providing visitors with a leap into the past. The two-day event concludes with a torchlight procession, fireworks, and a spectacular castle fire.

Medieval re-enactment - Voices from the Middle Ages - Association of Ladies and Knights Arms - Costumes - Fiuguranti
Medieval reenactment

Exactly a month later, during the fourth weekend of October, the historic Cittadella Fair beckons enthusiasts of local products. The fair features exhibitions of typical products, local craftsmanship, and food and wine stalls throughout the historic center. The final evening culminates in a light and music show on the walls, concluding with fireworks and the castle fire reenactment.

Even during Christmas, Cittadella doesn’t disappoint. The Christmas season in Cittadella includes a charming market with wooden stalls selling food and artisanal products. Open shops, festive lights, and Christmas music enhance the atmosphere in the historic center. Notably, the Church of Santa Maria del Torresino hosts a nativity scene exhibition, showcasing original setups by local artisans and artists.

Now that you know what to see in Cittadella and the events that define it, all that’s left is to choose the date for your visit!

If you plan to stay overnight, click here for accommodation options.

Article Name
What to see in Cittadella
"Discover what to see in Cittadella, Veneto. Explore medieval walls, historic landmarks, and cultural events for an enriching travel experience.
Publisher Name
La Scimmia Viaggiatrice