Piazza delle Erbe
Piazza delle Erbe, one of the two squares that embrace the Palazzo della Ragione, is the temple of the Spritz cult and one of the most popular socializing places in Padua.
Piazza delle Erbe is a beautiful square with an irregular shape, located south of the Palazzo della Ragione, dominating the plaza with its grandness. Piazza della Frutta situated on the other side of the monumental palace, is connected to Piazza delle Erbe through the passageways Volto della Corda and Via Squarcione.
The square is bordered to the east by two facades of Palazzo Moroni and to the west by the Palazzo delle Debite. At the south of the market unfold the former Jewish Ghetto of Padua, now an area of small shops and wine bars and considered one of the most charming parts of the city.
Piazza delle Erbe was formerly called Piazza delle Biade, Piazza del Vino due to the commercial activities involving grains or wine, and even Piazza della Giustizia, a hint to the Palazzo della Ragione – the city’s historical palace of justice.
It was a place dedicated to popular festivals and celebrations, such as the medieval Ludi Carraresi, the games organised by Carrarese Lordship to celebrate the proclamation of the new Lord of Padua. But the square was also used for public executions: the scaffolds were installed under the windows of Palazzo Moroni or on the loggias of the Palazzo della Ragione.
Ever since the middle ages, Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta, together with the Market under the Palazzo della Ragione, constituted the historic commercial area of the city. Nowadays, they host a large market every weekday, set up on wheeled wooden stalls, known as the scariolanti. In mid-afternoon, the piazza transforms from the lively city market to the temple of the Spritz cult. The stands are removed and replaced with the tables of the bars that overlook both squares.
Piazza delle Erbe is one of the most popular meeting points for Paduans, university students and tourists, and the classic Paduan place to drink a Spritz, the Venetian aperitif par excellence. The Spritz is a mixed aperitif with relatively low alcohol content, made up of equal parts of white wine, sparkling water and bitters.
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Just off the Piazza delle Erbe square on the southeast, in Via San Canziano, is a beautiful namesake church of medieval origins.
The Palazzo della Ragione, built in the Middle Ages as the seat of the city courts, still hosts on the ground floor one of the oldest European markets
A true miracle of architectural audacity and an impressive collection of fourteenth-century mural paintings, the only secular and civil commission executed by Giotto in Padua
Palazzo Moroni, the usual name for the Municipal Buildings, is a complex of buildings in the city’s heart that house the offices of the Municipality of Padua.
Piazza della Frutta, once called Piazza del Peronio, has been the commercial heart of Padua for centuries.