One of the most stunning hamlets in Italy, deeply loved by the poet Francesco Petrarca
Arquà Petrarca is a medieval village, considered among the most lovely in the Euganean Hills. Its origins are very ancient; as a matter of fact, near the Lake Costa, a prehistoric lake-dwelling site was found : it did belong to the Bronze Age.
In the Middle Age, a castle hosting Rodolfo Norman, was built: he was a vassal of the Marquis d'Este, as evidenced by a document of the eleventh century. On the slopes of Mount Castello, the hill where the fortress stood, the settlement of Arquada began to develop: it was marked by two places of worship, the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta (Saint Mary Assumpted) and the oratory of SS Trinity.
The political control on the borough was taken by the Commune of Padua, during the age of the medieval city-republics: the district was then subject to the Da Carrara Seigniory, that assumed the dominion on the chief town and its province, in the first half of the fourteenth century. During the Carraresi period, the castle was destroyed, as a result of the bloody battle against the Della Scala family of Verona; besides, the borough was elevated to seat of Vicarship. Actually, the acquisition of this privilege encouraged Francesco Petrarca to move to Arquà. The famous Tuscan poet fell in love with this place, probably reminding him of his homeland: he then chose to spend the last years of his life in a pleasant house in the village, where he died in 1374. The reputation of Arquà became then inextricably linked to the figure of Petrarca, whose home and memorial tomb are still places of literary pilgrimage and cultural visits.
In 1405, the Republic of Venice succeeded the Carraresi domination, giving rise to a thriving period of splendor and prosperity. Many families of Venice and Padua were attracted by the fame of the place and by the "Petrarchan trend", and built their highly refined summer residences here. In 1787, the end of the Venetian Republic brought about an inexorable decline: therefore, without its privilege, Arquà began to lose prominence. When the “region” Veneto was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy, in 1866, the town changed its name to Arquà Petrarca, honoring the poet, so fond of this land.
Charm and beauty of its historic center, still amazingly intact, have allowed its inclusion among the "most beautiful villages in Italy". The focus on the promotion of local products, such as the excellent olive oil, has also made it possible to join the National Association of Oil Cities and become a prestigious destination for high quality food-and-wine tourism.