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Cittadella, walled town

You are invited to visit Cittadella, a splendid medieval walled town near important centers of art.

What you really cannot miss is a walk on the ramparts, i.e. on the city walls.


Cities of art of Veneto Region

Taste, Art, History, Passion:
a theme for each direction


Padova: history and art ››

Cittadella: walled town ››

Treviso and the Marca ››

Venice ››

The lagoon and islands ››

Verona among history and passions ››

Vicenza and Palladio ››

The walled towns ››

The Brenta Villas ››


The city walls

The city walls of Cittadella are a rare example of medieval means of defense with a still practicable, perfectly preserved parapet walk. As a matter of fact it is one of the most beautiful means of defense in Europe. The walls’ circumference is 1461 meters, its height 14 meters, the keeps reach a height of up to 30 meters. The average thickness of the walls is 2,10 meters.

The four gates, 450 meters equidistant from each other, lie approximately along the four cardinal points. The surrounding walls are characterised by 4 keeps, 12 towers and 16 turrets. The moat runs all around the walls and is fed by spring water. It once was twice as deep and twice as large creating a rich habitat for fishes. The moat served as defense and was crossed by wooden drawbridges which later on were substituted by stone bridges.



Summer Hours
(April 1st – October 31st)

Monday and Wednesday to Friday:
9am – 1pm / 2pm – 6pm
Tuesday: closed
9am – 12.30am / 3pm – 7pm
Winter Hours
(November 1st – March 31st)

Monday and Wednesday to Friday: 9am – 1pm / 2pm – 4pm
Tuesday: closed
Saturday-: 9am – 1pm / 2pm – 4.30pm
Sunday: 9am – 12am / 2pm – 5pm
(closed on January 1st, November 1st, Dicember 25th)


Guided tour on the ramparts
On Saturday afernoon every hour:
3pm – 4pm – 5pm – 6pm
Price: the entrance ticket to the ramparts plus 1€ per person.



The foundation of Cittadella dates back to 1220, to protect the boundary lines of Padova countryside. Between 1237 and 1256, Cittadella suffered the terrible domination of the local lordling Ezzelino III of Romano, who had built in 1251 the “Torre di Malta” (tower of Malta) as a horrible prison for his enemies. Over the 14th and 15th centuries the town was again under control of the Carraresi from Padova and became a real stronghold in the territory of Padova. In 1406, just like all the Venetian mainland, Cittadella passed under the political dominion of Venice that sent its podestà (governor).
The Serenissima (Venice) ruled over these lands until 1797, when Napoleon, during his Italian campaign, conquered all the north. After the treaty of Vienna (1815), Veneto submitted to Austria until 1866, when it finally entered the united “Regno d’Italia” (italian kingdom). Nowadays Cittadella belongs to the province of Padova, counts about 20,000 inhabitants and encompasses on a territory of about 36 km².

Voices of the Middle Age

Over the last weekend of September a historical re-enactment takes place, bringing back visitors to the 13th century. During these two days the square and the streets are transformed into a medieval town with armed men, archers, musicians and jesters, historical games, medieval markets and antic crafts as well as special attractions like falconry with different birds of prey, the public becomes part of it all.


Visit of the city

If you go for a walk on the ancient Parapet Walk you will be able to admire the town from favored viewpoints. From on high you will notice that the internal spaces are arranged on a geometrical chessboard-shaped system of Roman origin, based on the two main axes that connect the four gates lying more or less along the cardinal points: southbound to Padova, westbound to Vicenza, northbound to Bassano and eastbound to Treviso.


"Palazzo della Loggia"

Because of its ground floor portico the building is known as “Palazzo della Loggia” and hosts the municipal police and the Pro Cittadella organization. In 1816, it was remodelled in compliance with the neoclassical canons of the architect Carlo Barera. Among the elements that date back to the pre-existing building, there is a notable frieze that runs along the ground floor portico, showing the Podestà crests and a 15th century bas-relief of the lion of St. Mark that had been hidden during the napoleonic era and was found recently inside a wall of the palace



The theatre rises along the street to the western gate. It was designed by Giacomo Bauto in 1817 and completed by Francesco Cibele. The elegant neoclassical façade is ascribed to Giuseppe Japelli, author, among other things, of the famous Caffè Pedrocchi in Padova. The theatre is organised according to 19th century canons: an entrance-hall, an semicircular audience-hall with stage and three rows of boxes and a smoking hall. The magnificent frescoes represent flowers, cupids and allegorical figures and were done by Francesco Bagnara, a stage designer and painter, to whom is also ascribed the decoration of the theatre “La Fenice” in Venice.


Treviso Gate
(Eastern Gate)

Porta Treviso is the eastern entrance of the town, a triple access system with a keep that reaches a height of about 23 m. Hardly anything is left of its outer parts nore of the drawbridges, they had been distructed during the napoleonic period by the end of the 19th century. The internal part facing the town centre is decorated with a fresco showing Mary’s coronation and the annunciation.


Padova Gate
(Soutern gate)

The Padova Gate was once the main entrance to Cittadella. Frescoes (the cart of the Carraresi and the coat of arms of Padova – a red cross on a white field) stand out on the outside walls. The complex consists of 3 gates and a large arms court with a winding staircase in cylindrical masonry. The most characteristic feature of the Padova Gate is the massive “Torre di Malta” (Tower of Malta).


Vicenza Gate
(Western gate)

The Vicenza Gate is the western entrance of the town, a triple access system with a keep that reaches a height of about 23 m. Hardly anything is left of its outer parts nore of the drawbridges, they had been distructed during the napoleonic period by the end of the 19th century. The internal part facing the town centre is decorated with a fresco showing the crucifixion

treviso gate   padova gate   vicenza gate

Tower of Malta and Civic Archaeological Museum

The mighty building on the inside of the Padova Gate is the so called “Torre di Malta”, built in 1251 by Ezzelino III of Romano, the despotic ruler of the area, as a prison for his enemies. The fortress obtained a terrible reputation in those days, because of the atrocities that were committed inside, so much so that even Dante mentioned it in his Divine Comedy. Nowadays the large halls of the tower host the Civic Archaeological Museum as well as meetings and conferences. The museum houses a fair number of archeological finds from the Bronze Age up to the Renaissance from Cittadella and surroundings.

torre di malta



Tourist information office
Tel. + 39 049 9404485
Fax. + 39 049 5972754

Summer hours
(from April 1st to October 31st)
Monday to Friday: 9 – 13 / 14 – 18
Tuesday closed
Saturday /Sunday: 9 – 13 / 15 – 19
Winter hours
(from November 1st to March 31st)
Monday and Wednesday to Friday:
9 – 13 / 14 – 16
Saturday/Sunday: 10 – 17
Tuesday closed


Bassano Gate
(Northern gate)

This gate is the most fortified and important part of the ramparts. It constituted the extreme defense of the community and was therefore isolated even towards the town centre by a moat which was ingeniously connected with the outer moat. It consisted in a system of 5 gates, 3 towards the outside and 2 towards the town centre caracterized by drawbridges and portcullis. This whole complex included the Captain’s house, premises for the garrisons, stores, well, oven and other services. The 30 m high keep still nowadays offers a wonderful view of the surroundings. On the wall towards the town centre the keep is decorated with a fresco which represents the cart of the Carraresi family and next to it the coat of arms of Padova. Inside the complex we find the Captain’s House. During its restoration frescoes from the time of the Carraresi, the Sanseverino, the Malatesta and the Borromeo were found. A frescoed hall can be visited, you will find a setting of medieval daily life. Today the Captain’s House hosts the tourist office of Cittadella.

bassano gate


Cathedral, Museum
and Art Gallery

The Cathedral was built between 1774 and 1826 by three famous architects, one of whom, Domenico Cerato, also designed Prato della Valle in Padova. The sacristy hosts an art gallery with important paintings including “La Cena in Emmaus” (The supper in Emmaus) by Jacopo da Ponte, “Lamento sul Corpo di Cristo” (Mourning on the dead Christ) by Andrea da Murano, “La Flagellazione” (Flagellation) ascribed to Palma il Giovane. The belltower hosts a very special museum of religious art which shows all the art pieces which have been exposed in the cathedral. It is a very rich and heterogeneous heritage of sacred objects for liturgical use like altarpieces and goldsmith’s art as well as paintings, statues and inscriptions.

the cathedral

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