Monday, August 10, 2009
Writing on the Wall
I started with a walked along the Bastione Cornaro that parallels Via Gattamelata on the southern end of Padua. I noticed that the hospital structures seem to spring up out of the walls. In one case, the chapel shares a brick extension from the old wall into its foundation and its own external wall. How did this happen?
Well, the city decided to buy up the property immediately around and on top of the wall once its defensive features were no longer necessary, which became official in the nineteenth century. By the twentieth century, that city ownership led to many public or semi-public institutions constructing buildings in the wall's vicinity, where the terrain was free or very cheap. The hospital is a perfect example of this flurry of wall-construction and, supposedly, there are many schools that border it, as well.
Basically, public buildings grow like mushrooms around contemporary Padua's old fortress wall.