Time seems to have stood still in Arquà Petrarca. This charming medieval village, nestled in the heart of the Regional Park of the Euganean Hills, is proud member of “I borghi più belli d’Italia” (the most beautiful villages in Italy). This association promotes the cultural, historic, artistic, naturalistic heritage and the traditions of small, unique Italian villages that offer sensational getaways. Arquà Petrarca received also the “Bandiera Arancione”, a recognition of quality awarded by the Italian Touring Club to small towns for excellency in tourism, hospitality and the environment. Arquà Petrarca is well known thanks to the eternal fame of the poet Petrarch, who spent the last years of his life here and is buried in a marble tomb in the main square of the village.
Arquà Petrarca has very ancient origins and there are archaeological finds that date back to the Bronze Age. Pile dwellings, huts, crockery made of baked clay, animals’ bones and flint tools are the proof of human settlements around the small Costa Lake. A necropolis has been found in the slopes of Monte Ricco, with several tools and weapons belonging to the Euganean native tribes that lived in the area before the Roman colonization. All these finds can be seen at the Archaeological Atestino National Museum in Este, only 7 km away from Arquà. Recently, the Unesco has accepted a proposal to include the Costa lake in the Unesco’s World Heritage Sites. During the Augustus’ reign, Arquà Petrarca, with all Venetian lands, was annexed to the X Regio Venetia et Histria, one of the different regions in which Italy was divided. During the Middle Ages, Rodolfo Normanno lived in a castle built on top of the hill of the village, which was later called Monte Castello. The first reference of the castle dates 985 a.D. Later on, during the “Comuni” period (12th-13th century), Arquà was a vacation site for the Carraresi family, the family of Padua who ruled the entire area. During the 15th and 16th century, the noble families coming from Venice and Padua built magnificent villas in Arquà Petrarca because it was fashionable to live in the same place where the poet Petrarch had previously lived.
Nowadays, the houses and villas of the families Contarini, Badoer, Cavalli, Pisani, Capodivacca, Sanbonifacio, Santorini, Borromeo, Dottori, Oddo and Zabarella remain as a symbol of a wonderful past time and the village still preserves its medieval architecture. At the end of the Carraresi domination, Arquà Petrarca became a vicarìa (or vicariate), and it maintained this status even after the Republic of Venice took control of the area, in 1405. At that time, Arquà Petrarca ruled over the other important villages of the Euganean Hills until the end of Venetian Republic. In 1866, when the Veneto region was annexed to Italy, Arquà Petrarca became an independent village.