Arquà Petrarca is a tidy medieval town that maintains its original charm and is considered the "pearl of the Euganean Hills". The setting is lovely in the Parco Regionale dei Colli Euganei (Regional Park of the Euganean Hills). It is near Padova, Rovigo and Vicenza, and close to Venice.
While the town has been inhabited since Roman times, it grew significantly in the Middle Ages under the Padovan nobles and the domination of Venice. It gained more attention when Francesco Petrarca, an illustrious Italian poet and scholar, decided to spend the last years of his life in the serene tranquility of this place. The village preserves the house where he lived and worked, as well as the grave with the poet's remains. Known as Petrarch, he was known as "the father of humanism" and one of the fathers of the modern Italian language. He pored over ancient texts and rediscovered the writings of Cicero. Petrarch helped popularize the sonnet as a poetic form.
The village is small but quaint and worth a look around to see the well-preserved medieval town center. There are some palaces on the pretty piazza, art-strewn churches, and cute cobbled lanes. Despite its small size, it also offers some very good restaurants.
Arquà Petrarca was among the most beautiful villages in Italy ("i borghi piu' belli) and has received the "Orange Flag" designation from the Italian Touring Club (awarded to small towns with particularly interesting characteristics in the landscape, history, cuisine and traditions). Outside town, the countryside is scattered with impressive Renaissance-era villas.
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