The Statues disclose their history

Discovering characters of Prato della Valle

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“Vile vadum fueram; speciosa atque usibus apta Insula sis, dixit Memmius; illa fui.” (“I was a marshy hollow; said Memmo: let it become a pleasant island and fit for all uses; and so I became”)

Dear Visitor, the City of Padova welcomes you to its most important square famous not only for its size but also for the cultural and historical significance that it sheds light on.
The Prato, as it is commonly called by the people of Padova, is like a real open-air museum in which the historical residences that surround it and the 78 statues that decorate it can tell us about the past, not only of Padova but of the whole of Europe.
To start with, here’s some essential information on Prato della Valle and its statues.


With a surface of 90,000 sqm, Prato della Valle was and still is one one the biggest squares in Europe. Originally located south of the urban area where two important Roman roads met, one from Este and the other from Adria: Via Aemilia minor and Via Annia.
It has changed several names in time: Campus Martius for the Romans, Camp of the dead at the end of the Roman Empire when Christian Martyrs were buried there, then meadow of the swamp or valley, to emphasize its unhealthy and marshy conditions. After the reclamation wished for by Memmo at the end of the 18th century, it was called Gran Piazza delle Statue and after the Italian Risorgimento it was named after King Vittorio Emanuele II. It gained its current name in 1934.
During the Roman times the area, already popular among the ancient Veneto people, among other things housed a theatre called the Zaìro, in which satirical comedies were performed. Today only a few parts of the foundations remain. During the Middle Ages it stayed as a peripheral area, marshy and uncultivated; its condition did not change even after it was incorporated into the urban area with the fourteenth-century walls.

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Do you want to know more and discover the Prato and its Statues with us? The YTC (Youth Tourist Centre) Provincial Committee of Padova will be happy to help you. Please contact us by writing to and show us your interest.

Do you want to explore it on your own? We have put together a wonderful guide for you that is easy to read and practical to use. Please contact us by writing to and we’ll explain how you can get it.

Do you want a preview? Click here


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