Rovigo lies between Ferrara and Padova and is brushed by sea breezes from the nearby Po River Delta. Located between the Adige and Po Rivers, it resembles a typical Venetian town, painted in pastel and dotted with ancient towers. and medieval palaces. The interesting pentagonal footprint of its layout comes from the Middle Ages, though the town boasts a Roman past. It remained almost immune from the barbarian invasions, thanks to the natural protection of the marshes that surrounded it. It was a feudal estate of the bishops and the palazzi and piazzas reflect that period.
Rovigo captivates visitors with her Renaissance and neo-classical elegance seen in its piazza, its palaces and churches. The main piazza, named for Vittorio Emanuele II, Iunified taly's first king, is rimmed by buildings that demonstrate the different influences the city has experienced. The town hall is flanked by a second-story loggia. The oblong piazza is outlined with porticoes and street cafes. Just off the piazza is the Palazzo Roncale, a noble residence that was built in 1555 by the wealthy Roncale family from Bergamo. It was constructed in classic Venetian Renaissance style, designed by architect Michele Sanmicheli. It houses ever-changing art exhibitions (free). Across the street is the impessive Palazzo Roverella, home to the prestigious collection of the Accademia dei Concordi. The accademia itself is in its palazzo on Piazza Vittorio Emanuele; established in 1580 to highlight and teach arts, sciences and agriculture, it is still an illustrious institution. It's high-profile art collection is in the Palazzo Roverella, and contains impressive works from noble families' collections of Venetian artists and from the Bishop's massive art collection, as well. Highlights include works by Nicolò di Pietro, Bellini, Palma il Vecchio, Luca Giordano, Piazzetta and Tiepolo.
On Piazza San Francesco, the church dedicated to San Francesco and Santa Giustina is a neoclassical temple-style edifice. The original church had been closed by Napoleon; when it reopened after years of disrepair, it was given this white-facade facelift. Torre Dona' and Torre Grimaldi are remnants of the ancient defensive walls of the city, still standing and providing a cityscape. The Temple of the Blessed Virgin (Tempio della Beata Vergine) is better known simply as La Rotonda for its circular shape. The impressive church is the best known in the city, and is actually an octagonal plan, built in 1594. The artwork inside is breathtaking.
When your feet get tired from sightseeing, head to Piazza Umberto Merlin with its leafy green park in the middle. Grab a table on the piazza's perimeter and enjoy a cool drink and a rest in the relaxing surroundings.
The city offers a lot more than visitors think, and is one of those overlooked gems of the Veneto. The food here is great too, because it is comprises land-based dishes as well as specialties from the river and the sea. The nearby Po Delta is a nature reserve and is definitely worth visiting.
Overlooking the Piazza, we find the Teatro Sociale, opened on March 1st, 1819 Emperor Francis I of Austria, home of the traditional opera season. The oldest building is the medieval castle built by Bishop Paul of Adria in 954, around which the city of Rovigo expanded. In general, Rovigo remained in the shadow of the province of Ferrara and Venice, not sought after by big foreign travelers, not enhanced by the universities. This city is a human scaled center, which gives priority to the quality of life and love for the land.
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