Event > Oratory of St. Michael

ORATORY OF ST. MICHAEL A little church in piazzetta S. Michele The present-day aspect of the ancient Oratory of St. Michael, in the tiny Piazzetta San Michele near the old observatory called La Specola, is the result of drastic operations which totally altered the original architecture of the church, dedicated to the Archangel Michael. Its origins go back from the 6th century to the second half of the 7th century.
On June 6 1225, Bishop Giordano donated San Michele to the monastery of Santa Maria di Carceri d'Este. In the late 14th century, the church came under the influence of the Carrara seigneurs. In 1479, the church passed to the Congregation of the Holy Spirit of Venice, and remained the property of the Congregation for almost two centuries, until it was suppressed by Pope Alexander VII in 1656.  Only part of the nave and the small chapel dedicated to the Virgin, frescoed by Jacopo da Verona, commissioned by Pietro de' Bovi, an official of the Carrara Mint, were saved from destruction in 1815.
The pictorial cycle of frescoes, inspired by episodes in the life of the Virgin Mary, goes back to the late 14th century. On the wall opposite the entrance, above and flanking the arch, is an Annunciation, apparently subdivided into three parts, occupied by a fresco of the Archangel Gabriel, a loggia of trefoil arches, and a depiction of the Virgin, seated in an ordinary bedroom. The whole series is remarkable for its considerable narrative vivacity. Lower down on the wall is the majestic figure of St. Michael, weighing the souls of the dead in a priestly and solemn manner, slightly mellowed by the delicate colours of his skin. Next to it is another fresco, perhaps a 16th-century addition, of Adam and Eve banished from the Garden of Eden. To the left are a Nativity and The Adoration of the Magi, in which the portraits of Francesco il Vecchio da Carrara and Francesco Novello are recognisable. To the right, higher up, is the Torlonga, one of the two towers of the old castle, here shown before its 18th-century transformation into an astronomical observatory. There are undoubtedly references to the art of the great Altichiero, particularly in the frescoes in the Chapel of Sts. James and Felix (Santi Giacomo e Felice) in St. Anthony's Basilica and the nearby Oratory of St. George.
The right-hand wall depicts the funeral of the Virgin (Dormitio Virginis) and the Pentecost. The former is striking, in its depiction of Christ holding the animula (sacred representation) of the Virgin. Slightly lower down, next to the lifeless body of Mary, are the profiles of those who commissioned the work, perhaps members of the Bovi family. The next scene shows a hexagonal aedicola with trefoil arches, within which are the Apostles, intent and absorbed as they receive the Holy Spirito The atmosphere is one of sobriety. The present-day wall of the entrance depicts the Ascension of the Virgin, which shows how Jacopo da Verona was thinking of the famous episode in the Scrovegni Chapel, although much more freely and including a greater number of personage. The underside of the arch shows the Doctors of the Church, inside an interior of false niches, alternating with the Symbols of the Four Evangelists. A few of the 16th-century frescoes which once covered the nave still remain, including a Deposition from the Cross and a figure of St. Paul, attributed respectively to Stefano dall'Arzere and Domenico Campagnola.


piazzetta San Michele 1
tel. +39 049 660836
Opening times (seasonal)
June 1 - September 30: Tuesdays to Fridays 10:00 - 13:00, Saturdays and Sundays 15:00 - 18:00
October 1 - May 31: Tuesdays to Fridays 10:00 - 13:00, Saturdays and Sundays 16:00 - 19:00
Mondays (unless public holidays), January 1, May 1, December 25 and 26
Full price euro 2,00, reduce price euro 1,50. free entry for children under six and for disabled persons
  • piazzetta San Michele
    Padova (PD)


The institutes called the City Museums of Padova (Musei Civici di Padova) include the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of Medieval and Modern Art, the Scrovegni Chapel and Palazzo Zuckermann (Museum of Applied Arts and Bottacin Museum). They contain the permanent collections of public property; during the year many  interesting activities take place, such as: cultural events, exhibitions, concerts, conventions.
Company Contacts
via Porciglia 35
35121 - Padova (PD)
+39 049 8204513 padovacultura.padovanet.it/musei
Further information
The Museums had their origins in various collections of works of art, gathered together over the centuries. After the official institution in 1857, collections of books, paintings, sculptures and applied arts all arrived, bearing witness to the history of Padova, from its remote origins until the present day. In 1985, the main museum was transferred to the cloisters of the old Eremitani monastery.
The original collection of the Archaeological Museum was represented by the stone tablets and other artefacts arranged in the loggias of the Palazzo della Ragione. The exhibition begins with objects of pre-Roman age, with findings of great interest going back to the 8th to the 4th-3rd centuries B.C.. There is an important series of Venetic funerary stelae, including those of Ostiala Gallenia. and from Camin. The Roman section is amply represented, with the bust of Silenus, the elegant memorial stone of the dancer Claudia Toreuma, and the monumental tomb of the Volumnii family. There are also many mosaics. The rooms devoted to Egyptian antiquities have two very fine statues of the goddess Sekhmet. Other smaller rooms contain Greek, Etruscan and Italiot materials, a large collection of Greek and Apulian vases. Architectural examples of Roman age are displayed in the cloisters.
Initiated in the late 18th century, the Art Museum now boasts a total of about three thousand paintings, offering a panoramic view of Veneto work in this field from the early 14th to the 19th centuries. Here are works by Giotto, Squarcione, J. Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, Romanino, Bassano, Veronese, Tintoretto, Piazzetta and Tiepolo, and also ones by foreign artists, mainly Flemish and Dutch. The Lapidarium contains architectural and decorative fragments coming from the city of Padova and its surroundings. The rich collection of sculptures going back to the 14th-16th centuries contains works by Briosco, the Lombardo family, and Canova. There is also an important section devoted to bronze sculptures, an expressive form which flourished in Padova in Renaissance times.
In 1300, a wealthy Paduan seigneur, Enrico Scrovegni, purchased the area of the Roman Arena in order to construct a sumptuous palazzo to be used as his residence. Next to this, he wished to build a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, in suffrage of his father Reginaldo, mentioned by Dante in Canto XVII of the Inferno, accused of being a usurer. After having met Giotto, Scrovegni commissioned the artist to decorate the Chapel. According to the most reliable statements, Giotto carried out this work between 1303 and 1305. The frescoes entirely cover the walls and ceiling of the building, and narrate episodes in the lives of the Virgin Mary and Christ. The vaulted ceiling is a blue star-spangled sky. The narration is depicted in three bands of frescoes on the walls and the triumphal arch. Under there is a basement of imitation marble, showing the Vices and Virtues in appropriate niches. Above the entrance is the Universal Judgement. The crucifix, which once completed the decoration of the Chapel, may today be admired in a hall of the City Museum. The altar holds statues by Giovanni Pisano.
The Multimedial Room at the Scrovegni Chapel includes an itinerary conposed of virtual-reality stations, video clips and real reconstructions. Visitors can experience full immersion in the 14th-century world of Giotto and of his painting, and come to know all about the great Tuscan artist, his work, and his life and times. The project also foresees the need to regulate the flow of visitors to the Chapel, in order to safeguard the precious frescoes.
Still conceived in late 19th-century style, Palazzo Zuckermann was designed by the Milanese architect Aroso, for the Paduan industrialist Enrico Zuckermann, in the years immediately preceding the First World War. The collections of applied and decorative arts are housed on the ground and first floors, and the numismatic displays of the Bottacin Museum on the second floor.

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