Entrance Tickets – Palazzo della Ragione, Padova


On a visit to Padova it is impossible to avoid the magnificent medieval market hall, the Palazzo Della Ragioni, which is a huge building that dominates the centre of the city and separates the two sections of the daily market.  At ground level there are food stall, butchers, bakers, fishmongers and purveyors of dairy produce and the assault on the senses from the competing cacophony of sights and smells was wonderful, eye-popping and a true sensory symphony.

It was here that I decided that the next time I visit Italy, or France or Spain or anywhere else for that matter, I will find some self catering accommodation so that I can enjoy shopping in places like this, selecting the ingredients for myself, cooking simple food and eating and enjoying my own interpretation of local recipes.

Padova 2

It was with some difficulty that we located the entrance to the upper floors but after circumnavigating the building we found the steps and paid the modest entrance fee.  The two-story loggia-lined “Palace of Reason” is topped with a distinctive sloped wooden roof that resembles the upturned hull of a ship and is said to be the largest of its kind in the world. It was built in 1219 as the seat of the Parliament of Padua and was used as an assembly hall, courthouse, and administrative centre to celebrate Padua’s independence as a republican city.

The magnificent hall is eighty-one metres long and is considered to be a masterpiece of civil medieval architecture and today is a must-visit site for both its floor-to-ceiling fifteenth century frescoes that are similar in style and astrological theme to those that had been painted by Giotto in the nearby Scrovegni Chapel and a wooden sculpture of a horse attributed to Donatello which is massive but simply dwarfed by the interior scale of the building.


I stayed in Padova in preference to nearby Venice, it is a lot cheaper, not nearly so crowded and has a fast and reliable train service to its more famous neighbour.

If you are thinking of going to Venice then I recommend doing the same.


21 responses to “Entrance Tickets – Palazzo della Ragione, Padova

  1. An excellent piece of advice from what my friends have told me about Venice. A city spoiled by tourists and the hangers on who feed off them.


    • I have stayed in Venice several times and I always find it a different place day and night. Once the day trippers have gone and the cruise ships have slipped their moorings it is an altogether nicer, gentler place. But it is expensive and Padova is much better value for money!


  2. I reckon this is one of life’s “musts” – so grand and beautiful


  3. We’ll be in the area soon and will look into staying in Padiva rather than Cenice. Thanks for the suggestion.


  4. You’ve made my mind up for me. I promised to take an older person to Venice this year but I’m insisting on it’s being outside the tourist season but she doesn’t quite understand why. Now I think I can visit Venice during early September as she wishes, but do it from Padova instead, less hassle and she can see for herself what I mean. Thank you for another lovely article.


  5. Great suggestion, one I will definitely be keeping in mind. We stayed in Venice some years ago and loved it – like you say especially after the day trippers had gone, but the hotel cost an arm and a leg. Never thought about Padova before!


  6. We are staying in Venice and Verona in June – you have given me food for thought, thanks.


  7. Thanks Andrew! We are going there in a couple of days. Sleeping in a rural retreat some 20mins from Venice. Will definitely visit Padua as well.


  8. “The hall of audience in the town-house, properly designated by the augmentative Salone, is such a huge enclosure, that one cannot conceive it, much less recall it to one’s immediate memory. It is three hundred feet long, one hundred feet broad, and one hundred feet high, measured up to the roof, which covers it quite in. So accustomed are these people to live in the open air, that the architects look out for a market-place to overarch. And there is no question that this huge vaulted space produces quite a peculiar effect. It is an enclosed infinity, which has more analogy to man’s habits and feelings than the starry heavens. The latter takes us out of ourselves; the former insensibly brings us back to ourselves…” (Goethe, 1786)


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