What to see in Cittadella, one of the best preserved walled towns in Europe

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What to see in Cittadella? Located about 40 minutes by car from Padova, Cittadella is a small town with one of the best-preserved walls in Europe. Plus the walls are surrounded by a moat. So quaint!

Cittadella was built around 1200 as a fortified outpost of Padova against Treviso. But then it passed into the hands of different lords: Vicenza, Verona and Venice, they all wanted to rule over it and rely on such a defensive stronghold.

Porta Padova
Porta Padova

What to see in Cittadella

The Walls

Cittadella is the only walled town in Europe to have a fully walkable walkway. The 15 meters high, elliptical walls have four Doors, one for each cardinal direction and entitled to the city located in that direction: 

  • North: Porta Bassano is the best fortified part of the walls because it once represented the extreme defense for the population. Here there were the House of the Captain, stores, halls for the garrisons, oven, well and a high, fortified tower. This is now the seat of the Tourist Office and the starting point of the walkway. 
  • South: Porta Padova was the main access to Cittadella. On the walls of the Door, you can see the frescoes depicting Padova’s crest (red cross on white background) and the chariot of the lords of Padova, the Carraresi (carro means chariot in Italian). The one with the chariot fresco is called Torre di Malta and it was once a prison. It now houses the Archeological Museum.
  • West: Porta Vicenza was severely damaged under Napoleon’s rule. On the interior part, it presents a fresco of the Crucifixion. 
  • East: Porta Treviso, also damaged, has a fresco depicting Annunciation and Coronation of the Virgin

To learn more you can read my previous post about my experience on the city walls at: Cittadella walls.

Porta Vicenza
Porta Vicenza
Porta Padova
What to see in Cittadella: Porta Padova

Duomo

Built between 1774 and 1826, it is majestic for such a small town, at least in my opinion. That white facade really stands out. In the Sacristy it houses a picture gallery with some exquisite paintings. In the belltower, it houses religious art pieces.

On a column left of the Duomo’s facade stands the Lion of Venice. Each Venetian city has its one (all different). 

Cittadella Cathedral
Cittadella Cathedral

Palazzo della Loggia

You’ll immediately recognize it for the neoclassical style and the Loggia on the ground floor (hence the name). It is interesting to admire the frieze with the emblems of the Venetian chief magistrates of the past. And the bass relief of St. Mark’s Lion. It now hosts the Polizia Municipale seat, the city police.

Teatro Sociale and Town Hall

You’ll see them both going towards Porta Vicenza on the West side of Cittadella, walking along via dell’Indipendenza. The theater dates back to the beginning of 1800. The facade is by the same architect of Pedrocchi Café in Padua while the frescoes (with flowers and allegorical figures) are by the same painter of the Fenice theater in Venice, Francesco Bagnara.

Past the theater, the Town Hall is a big, white and rather modern (for Cittadella’s standards of course) building. On the rear part of the Town Hall, there’s the Campo Della Marta, the place where once soldiers trained for war. It is now used for concerts and shows.

The Walls of Cittadella
The Walls of Cittadella

Palazzo Pretorio

On the opposite direction, towards Porta Treviso, stands Palazzo Pretorio, once the seat of the chief magistrate. The entrance door is in rose marble with a relief depicting the Lion of St. Mark and two former lords of Cittadella, Pandolfo and Carlo Malatesta. The building is now the seat of a Foundation that organizes important exhibitions. You can only visit it during those exhibits or upon appointment. 

Chiesa del Torresino

Located right past Porta Padova, the name is due to the small tower right next to it. Interesting the wooden crucifix and the medieval marble pulpit. The church also hosts art exhibitions

Villa Ca’ Nave

If you reach Cittadella by car from Padua you will surely notice it, 2 km south of the town. If you want to see it, go to Google Maps and type “Chiesa di Villa Nave Querini Correr Dolfin”. I know, it’s complicated: just copy and paste it. 😉 I think the villa is very suggestive. Sadly it can’t be visited or at least not that I know of. 

Shopping

Food

Le Delizie del Grano is a bakery with 2 shops, one in via Borgo Padova, 99 and another one in via Andrea Palladio, 48. You can taste bread, focaccia, pizza and also some sweets. Drogheria Collavo (via Garibaldi, 48) is the perfect place where to purchase a foodie souvenir. 

Fashion

Dieci Concept Store (via Indipendenza, 31, close to the Town Hall) is a Wonderland for young girls. 

Image by Dieci Concept Store

La Casa di Loto (Borgo Padova, 67) has also a shop in Venice, and what a shop. Vintage clothes and unique pieces for women. 

Take a look to Ely Made in Italy in via Garibaldi 16. This one has clothing for both women and men. Along the same street, at the number 58/C, take a peek also at Arianna Boutique.

Where to eat in Cittadella

Last time we just had a panino at Caffé Fuori Porta. The food was average but the location was lovely, right past the moat, overlooking Porta Padova. I think it’s a special place where to have aperitivo, enjoying a great view. The center is full of cafés and restaurants where to grab a bite. I heard good things about two different places but, since I did not try them first hand, I prefer not to mention them. 

Caffè Fuori Porta Cittadella
Caffè Fuori Porta

Boat tour

In Cittadella there’s also the possibility to join a boat tour of the walls from the moat. Must be cool. Sadly I never tried it. But I’d love to!

Events

Fourth Sunday of October: The Fiera Franca includes a funfair, local products market, artisans stalls, food kiosks and a cattle market in the industrial area of the town. 

The fourth weekend of September: Medieval Reenactment with a parade, ancient games, archery, medieval market, falconry exhibit, torchlight processions, and fireworks. 

How to reach Cittadella

By car is only 29 km from Padova, 22 km from Vicenza and 38 km from Treviso. The parking lot is along the walls between Porta Treviso and Porta Bassano (North-East). On Google Maps look for “Parcheggio Spalti”. You can also reach Cittadella by train from Padova, Treviso, Vicenza, and Venezia. The train station is 5 minutes away from the city center. 

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