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THE PALAZZO DELLA RAGIONE The Palazzo della Ragione was built in 1218-19. The ground floor accommodated shops and craftsmen's workshops, which naturally joined the markets in the two adjacent squares; the northern section of the complex was occupied by money-changers, and the south-western one by the old prison. The Palazzo della Ragione was built in 1218-19. The ground floor accommodated shops and craftsmen's workshops, which naturally joined the markets in the two adjacent squares; the northern section of the complex was occupied by money-changers, and the south-western one by the old prison, which was soon to expand to the nearby Palazzo delle Debite. The first floor, which is reached by four outside staircases, was initially composed of three large halls where judges held court. The smaller rooms housed the offices of important city officials like the tax collector, and the chapel of St. Prosdocimo.
The trussed roof was supported along its main beam by large leather-covered wooden columns. In the 13th century, when the Palazzo was built, its interior was quite different. Between 1306 and 1309, Frà Giovanni degli Eremitani converted it, in order to accommodate the law courts. After raising the walls to about six metres, Frà Giovanni designed a new ceiling, which was decorated to represent a real sky, with stars and planets. The inspiration for this great iconographic design came from the "iudicial astrology" of Pietro d'Abano, professor of medicine and natural philosophy at the University of Padova since 1306, and was carried out by Giotto and his assistants (1315-17). Further contributions came from Giusto de' Menabuoi.
The large roof was composed of 116 vaulting ribs in larch wood, supported by a single large beam and trusses. The ribs joined a central long beam. Lateral thrust was neutralised by iron tie-beams. The ribs supported two wooden partitions: an external leaden sheet and an internal one which was probably decorated in pale blue and gold - a star- spangled heaven. Unfortunately, on February 2 1420, a fire destroyed the vault completely.
The naval architect Bartolomeo Rizzo was assigned to its prompt reconstruction. He rebuilt the ship-bottomed vault exactly as it had been, and reinforced the floors and loggias with a series of cross-vaults. He eliminated all partition walls on the upper floor, thus creating a single huge hall, as Frà Giovanni degli Eremitani had first intended to do. Frescoes were repainted by the Paduan Nicolò Miretto and Stefano da Ferrara.
The work was completed by the 14505. Later in that century, Jacopo da Montagnana worked on the lower order of the painted cye/e, and further contributions came in the 16th century from Domenico Campagnola. On August 17 1756, a hurricane blew most of the roof off, and the cycle of frescoes was damaged once again. The vault was reconstructed in 1759, and restoration of the frescoes, started by Francesco Zannoni on July 27 1762, was completed on September 27 1770, but without the beautiful sky dotted with more than 7,000 stars.
On December 11 1837 the Capodilista family gave the city the gigantic wooden horse which was assembled in the western section. It had been built in 1466 for a public tournament and was once located in the hall of Palazzo Capodilista at the beginning of Via Umberto. The horse has been mistakenly attributed to Donatello, but it was in fact Agostino Rinaldi who modelled the horse's head and tail following those of the Gattamelata monument in Piazza del Santo. An inscription on its base commemorates the donation.
In the north-eastern corner is the "pietra del vituperio" (Stone of Shame), which was probably placed there in 7237 at St Anthony's request and used to punish insolvent debtors. According to 1261 statutes, insolvent debtors, wearing only their underwear, had to sit on the stone three times, uttering the words "Cedo bonis" ("1 renounce my worldly goods"). They were then banished from the city, and if they returned and were caught, they had to go through the same procedure again, but this time three buckets of water were poured on their heads.


Palazzo della Ragione, entrance from "Scala delle Erbe", piazza delle Erbe
entrance disabled persons from via VIII febbraio
tel. +39 049 8205006
open: February 1st / October 31 09:00-19.00; november 1st / Genuary 31 09:00-18:00
closed: Mondays (unless public holidays), May 1
tickets: full price: 4,00 euro; reduced price: 2,00 euro; children up to the age of 6 and disabled persons: free of charge;
on occasions of exhibitions and other events prices and opening hours may be subject to variation

To reach Palazzo della Ragione:
from train station: buses 3, 10, 12; Sundays and holidays: buses 32, 42.
by car and coach: motorway exit Padova Est, parking at Fiera (Fair): shuttle bus service from Via Tommaseo to centre of city; or motorway exits Padova Sud and Padova Ovest, parking in Prato della Valle, with shuttle bus service to centre of town, Via Valeri (off Via Trieste), Piazza Insurrezione.
  • piazza delle Erbe
    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.
via Porciglia 35
35121 - Padova (PD)
+39 049 8204513 padovacultura.padovanet.it/musei
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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