In The Heart Of Northern Italy’s Hills Is A Place Where Poetry Meets Magic
In the north of Italy, among the Euganean Hills, there is a small medieval village where the father of Italian Renaissance poetry found peace. Francesco Petrarca, internationally known as Petrarch, decided to live the last four years of his life in a magical place called Arquà Petrarca.
AN AWARD-WINNING VILLAGE AND UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Awarded for excellence in tourism and declared one of the most beautiful villages in Italy, Arquà Petrarca is a required stop for travelers who want to explore the unbeaten path.
This town is immersed in nature and, within its boundaries, there is a prehistoric lake — Coast Lake — where you can visit one of the oldest human settlements in the world. The ‘Prehistoric Pile Dwellings Around the Alps’ has been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011.
FIND PEACE AND INSPIRATION IN SILENCE
Winter is coming, here in Arquà. The old bricks are turning red, touched by a cold breeze blowing in from Alps. Words get lost to the wind and fog surrounds the town, safeguarding its secrets.
Travellers can walk through narrow streets, up and down hills, and under tight arches to touch stones shaped by the first men, retracing history back to the Bronze age.
In this place, where time itself seems to get lost, one will find one of the most precious gifts: silence. Nowadays it is such a rare thing, and well worth a trip into the heart of the Euganean Hills. Here, weary travelers can take a much-needed break from the modern world.
THE CASA DEL PETRARCA
Petrarch left in these lands a lasting legacy, and in 1870 Arquà celebrated the poet by adding his name to its own.
You can visit the two floors of Petrarch’s house, now a museum, where you can find his major works and personal items. With the first floor assigned to servants, Petrarch spent his days writing and meditating upstairs in the wide attic.
Over the years, this house was passed on to Paolo Valdezocco, who transformed the building completely. He had painted celebratory frescoes depicting the life and content of some of the poet’s works, like Il Canzoniere and Africa. Today, with the help of some minor conservation efforts, the home still stands as Valdezocco left it, a relic of Petrarch and his unique position between medieval and Renaissance Italy.
MEMORIES OF HUMANKIND
Arquà Petrarca is part of the Regional Park of Euganean Hills, a naturalistic area with volcanic origins and different climatic conditions. Travelers should know that flora and fauna are not the only reasons to visit the park.
Along the shore of Coast Lake lies one of the oldest human settlements in the world, dating back to the Bronze Age. The foundations of ancient stilt houses lie stuck in the lake mud. Held together with long, horizontal oak-wood beams, our ancestors built their dwellings with different-sized branches and big stones.
Official awarded the distinction as the third most beautiful garden in Europe, Valsanzibio gardens are surely the area’s greatest masterpiece. The gardens cover a surface of more than 150,000 square meters and are located at Villa Barbarigo.
Located only 3 km from Arquà Petrarca, Valsanzibio gardens were built by the master architect Luigi Bernini and are an important example of 17th century symbolic garden design.
One can access the gardens by boat, passing through the Sileno Arch and landing in front of the Rainbow Fountain. From there, one embarks on a symbolic path through the gardens that are landscaped and designed to reflect Mankind’s progress. One will exit the breathtakingly beautiful gardens a new person, conscious of humanity’s hard past and ready to persevere in the face of adversity.
Discover more about Arquà Petrarca here.