Saturday, August 8, 2009
Writing on the Wall
My fascination with Padua's old walls has brought me to embark on a deepened exploration of them. It all started with our first apartment which had a view of one section of them and has continued through my daily cycling route into town which flanks them.
I have decided to learn more about them and share my findings with you.
The looping construction we can see wrap 11 km around today's Padua, began in the XVI century by the Venetian Republic which perfected and enlarged the work already done by the Carraresi family. Construction took fourty years to complete. The walls' effectiveness was barely every challenged, aside from a little attack on the part of
general Dauvergne of the Napoleonic troops in 1801.
The walls hold renewed interest today because they are among the few that remain rather intact in the third millennium. Differently than larger and historically more prosperous cities such as Paris, Padua did not ever demolish most of its old wall system. Their delineation kept Padua's limits well-defined until WWII. Construction was kept within the walls and agriculture only dominated the landscape outside of them.
to be continued...
Map by Angelo Portenari, Della felicità di Padova, 1623.
Historical source: Il paesaggio delle mura di Padua: Percorsi tra storia e natura a cura di Gariele Cappellato.