Arquà Petrarca, in the heart of the Colli Euganei.
The proposed itinerary refers to the route of the poet Francesco Petrarch when he went to his house in the Colli Euganei from Padua. The excursion is very rich in tourist attractions and uses cycle paths and secondary roads with little traffic, in places on unmade surfaces.
Start point:Montegrotto Terme
Finish point:Montegrotto Terme
Total distance:31 km
Grade of difficulty:medium
From the Roman Excavations of Montegrotto Terme we head towards the Battaglia canal, on the top of whose embankment runs a pleasant cycle path. The first thing to emerge along the road is Villa Obizzi, more commonly known as the castle of the Catajo for the way in which this noble residence of Pio Enea I of the Obizzi, military leader of the Serenissima, had it constructed in military style; the villa has over 350 rooms. After the castle, an unexpected scene on the canal opens: on a wide stretch of the waterway we find moored some wooden boats; this is the navigation lock, celebrated because it allows the boats to negotiate a rise in water level of over seven metres. Meanwhile, in the background there is Battaglia Terme, the inner city is characterised by a special arrangement of the houses on the waterfront, with its original stepped bridge in Venetian style and the hydraulic guardhouse in the neighbourhood of which stand mills, a hammer for wrought iron work, a saw and a paper mill, constructed to exploit the hydraulic energy released by the fall in water level. Pedalling again along the cycle path we stop anew in the area of a tourist poster that illustrates the hydraulic details of the canal bridge of Rivella and admire the splendid country landscape of the Valli Selvatiche, comprising the Villa Selvatico-Sartori that stands on the Sant'Elena hill, the surrounding fertile countryside and the pronounced backdrop of the Colli Euganei. Having left the lift bridge, one discovers, hidden by an elegant Italian style garden, the beautiful Villa Emo, the work of Vincenzo Scamozzi. The long straight stretch ends in the port of Monselice, from where the visit to the inner city begins, an authentic jewel case of art, history, archaeology and nature. From the walled city one turns into a beautiful little-used foothill road on a slight incline that turns around Ricco mount. Having traversed an uneven plain the hamlet of Arquà Petrarca appears, to whose name is tied that of the poet (Petrarch). The itinerary leads to the large square in front of the parochial church of Santa Maria Assunta where the monumental tomb of the poet is conserved. Petrarch’s house is to be found in the upper part of the village, we advise you to reach it on foot because of the steep slopes. Having left the hamlet of Arquà, for about two kilometres one travels along a road that can be busy during weekends and holidays and it ends at the Lago della Costa, a natural basin fed by thermal springs which unfortunately no longer admit visitors. The return to Battaglia is on unmade roads surrounded by a very striking landscape. From the hamlet of Monticelli we admire the picturesque Villa Renier, built on the summit of a rise and surrounded by a high wall and at the foot of the mount of Lispida Villa Italia, an aristocratic residence in neo-gothic style that was the headquarters of King Vittorio Emanuele III of Savoy in the last year of the First World War. In Battaglia Terme we rediscover the road we set out on and in this way we return to Montegrotto Terme.