The Gardens of Este

Three thousand years of history

Atheste was the original latin name of Este, almost 1000 years BC, Este was the center of paleovenetian culture; there flourished a real civilization endowed with strong characteristic elements, which knew how to weave commercial relationships with the most varied populations.

A Roman Colony

In the first century BC ‘Ateste‘ became a Roman military colony after which, following the barbarian invasions (and here we find Attila once again. I may need to talk about this fascinating chap sooner or later), it was abandoned for a long period. 

It was only around the year 1000 that Ateste (Este) became the cradle of a new “civilization;” particularly with the rule of Alberto Azzo II, a powerful nobleman in the Holy Roman Empire. He is considered the founder of Casa d’Este, having been head of the first family to be master of Este; The Estensi then conquered and established themselves in Ferrara.

It was disputed during the 14th century by the Scaligeri, the Carraresi, and the Visconti, until it surrendered spontaneously to Venice in 1405. Under the Republic of Venice, Este went through a period of economic growth, and—talking about pandemias again—was interrupted only by the plague of 1630.


Today Este is a splendid little town surrounded by walls, has many treasures testifying to the rich and varied past, just like many others in that region: Arquà Petrarca, Montagnana, Monselice, Cittadella, Battaglia Terme, and others.

The visual impact upon arrival in the city is given by the imposing city wall about 1 km long, marked by 12 towers and two keeps. 

Inside the walls we find the enchanting public garden and the Atestino National Museum, set up in the sixteenth century palace of the Mocenigo family. Many paleo-Venetian, Roman, medieval and Renaissance relics are on display, including a Madonna and Child by Cima da Conegliano, making it one of the most important museums in Italy.

Piazza Maggiore

Piazza Maggiore is like a little jewel. Notable are also the church of San Martino (XI century), with the leaning bell tower added later, the eighteenth-century S. Rocco and the Civic Tower rebuilt in 1690. 

The majestic Cathedral of Santa Tecla, built on the ruins of a previous early Christian basilica, includes in the apse a masterpiece by Giambattista Tiepolo: “The intercession of Saint Tecla.” 

All of the above was closed because of the COVID

Venetian domination is quite visible particularly in the luxurious buildings of Piazza Maggiore.

Day Trip to Este and Montagnana

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

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