The main squares of Padua

Piazza dei Signori is one of the main squares of the historic center of Padua and is one of the meeting points and greatest vitality of the entire city.

Piazza dei Signori is so called because here, once, stood the Palazzo della Signoria, and its history contains the history of Padua: first called Piazza della “Desolazione” for the ruins of the buildings that the opposing factions destroyed each other, then Piazza dei “Trionfi” for the sumptuous festivals that were celebrated there, the Piazza was also the scene of the call to arms by Father Alessandro Gavazzi in 1848,  to free Veneto from Austrian rule.

Inside the square in addition to the magnificent Church of San Clemente there is also the Palazzo del Capitanio with the famous Clock Tower

The Clock Tower built in Istrian stone, consists of four Doric columns with two Winged Victories inwards while on the attic is the Lion of St. Mark.

The main element of the Tower is precisely the clock, built in 1477 by Giovanni and Giampietro delle Caldiere from Vicenza who, on the basis of the astronomical clock by Giovanni Dondi, decided to create a similar one that marked not only the hours and minutes but also the day, the month, the phases of the moon and even the astrological place with their respective zodiac signs.

A little curiosity: the Zodiac sign of Libra is missing from the Watch.

According to a popular legend, the zodiac sign was deliberately omitted due to the payment of a lower amount than agreed. In fact, it seems that this missing sign is due to the fact that the abbot Bartolomeo Toffoli, during a modification made between 1787 and 1792, decided to eliminate them to follow the oldest zodiacal subdivisions.

In ancient times Piazza delle Erbe (also called ‘Della Biada’ and then ‘Del Vino’) was an important square of commercial and mercantile exchanges, of less valuable materials than those of Prato della Valle. Today it is home to the largest fruit and vegetable market in the city.

Piazza delle Erbe has several places of interest among which the Palazzo delle Debite (a former prison) and, above all, Palazzo della Ragione: erected in the thirteenth century. 

Until 1757 the Palace was the seat of the courts of Padua but a violent whirlwind uncovered the palace on August 17, 1757, so it was decided to move the seat and it was Bartolomeo Ferracina who designed the roof in the shape of the hull of the overturned ship.

Today, in addition to guided tours, it is possible to admire the Palazzo della Ragione on the occasion of the numerous exhibitions organized inside the Salone.

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