Once arrived in Arquà Petrarca, the tourists are welcomed by an intimate and relaxed atmosphere; the same that impressed the famous poet Francesco Petrarca at its time, remembering him the suggestive landscapes of Tuscany, where he was born. For this reason, he decided to spend here the last years of his life. Arquà Petrarca has not changed so much during all this time and it has kept the typical aspect of a 14th century village. The visitors have the sensation to be brought back in a medieval village, where time has stopped.
Arquà is the most famous and the most characteristic village of the Euganean Hills, only 20 km far from the city of Padua. Located on the South-East side, it is between the Ventolone and the Castello hills. The village lays sweetly towards the slopes of the hills and it is from its geographical disposition - which remembers the form of an arch – that derives the Latin name Arquatum, later changed into Arquada and eventually into Arquà.
Arquà Petrarca is 300 m above the sea level and has a planning structure spread on two levels: Low Arquà and High Arquà, each one linked to a different Church. It covers a surface of 1.257 m2 and has a population of about 1800 units.
As it has been said before, the village has kept its medieval architecture - the link to its important historical past - avoiding to be ruined by progress. The Euganean environment as well, famous for its sub-Mediterranean climate, has not deteriorated: the indiscriminate digging, which had a devastating effect in other areas, here has always been controlled and reduced.
The most important economic activity is agriculture: the social structure of Arquà is based upon the work of fields. Nevertheless, one of the curiosities of the village concerns the so-called Lago della Costa. It is believed that a prehistoric village rose upon its waters. According to an ancient legend by the Latin poet Marziale, the nymph Sola lived here, from which the near area known as Solana took the name. Despite Petrarca did not mention the lake in its poems, he undoubtedly knew it. In fact, the 18th July 1874, to celebrate the 5th Centenary of the poet’s death, a night party was held by the lakesides. Moreover, the mud extracted from the lakebed has healing properties, so it is very useful for the near Terme of Abano and Montegrotto. Recently, the application to declare the lake Unesco’s world heritage site has been accepted.
Arquà is twined with the French village Fontaine de Vaucluse
Recently, thanks to its historic and naturalistic heritage, Arquà Petrarca has been recognized as one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and has received the "Bandiera Arancione" from the Italian Touring Club.