The original building here became the Bishop’s Palace in 1309, when a large public hall, the Salone, was added to the existing complex. In the fifteenth century, the medieval buildings were transformed into a magnificent Renaissance residence, with Bishop Pietro Barozzi, a learned humanist as well as a caring pastor of his flock, commissioning the extraordinary decoration of the Salone; the artist he chose to paint the portraits of the first one hundred bishops of Padua was the Vicenza-born Bartolomeo Montagna. The present-day ceiling centres around the family crest of Pope Clement XIII (Carlo Rezzonico), who was bishop of Padua from 1743 to 1758.
The atmospheric Chapel of Santa Maria degli Angeli was designed by Lorenzo da Bologna, the best known architect then working in the city. Here the fresco decoration centres around the Apostles’ Creed, Redemption through Christ and the Apostolic role of the Church. The focal point of the chapel, however, is the triptych of The Annunciation, a very delicate rendering of the scene.
The Tinello dei Dottori [Room of the Graduates], now named after St. Gregory Barbarigo, was where the Bishop, in his role as Chancellor of the University, presented students with their degrees. There are still clearly visible traces of the fifteenth-century decoration which Jacopo Barozzi commissioned from Jacopo da Montagnana and his studio.
This includes the coffered ceiling and the scene of The Resurrection of Christ, which was probably part of what was a larger decorative scheme. The room periodically contains displays of manuscripts and incunabula from the Biblioteca Capitolare.
The cellar, a fine space with pilasters and a vaulted ceiling, is often used for exhibitions.