The Castle of San Zeno

by Iryna Venco on 2 September 2017

San Zeno Castle, Montagnana (PD)

Situated in the eastern part of Montagnana where la porta Padova, one of the main entrance gates, is found, the Castle of San Zeno is considered by historians to be the earliest part of the defensive structure of the medieval town.

As an interesting footnote, the castle was drawn in sanguine by Giorgione in the early 1500s. The drawing is called “View of Castel San Zeno, Montagnana, with a Seated Figure in the Foreground” and now is on display at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam.

The present castle complex consists of two angular towers, a covered passage, an inner courtyard, a Venetian wing and an imposing keep. The 38-metre-tall keep, which dominates the castle, was built by Ezzelino da Romano in 1242. The tower was once covered with pyramidal roof and a turret, which was used as a lookout point. Apart from its defensive function, the castle was of vital importance to all of the surrounding area - in fact, it was used to store the goods of the whole community, especially agricultural products.

Today, the Castle of San Zeno houses the Civic Museum, the local Castle Study Centre, a municipal historical archive and a municipal library. The keep is available to visitors, from which they can admire a spectacular view of Montagnana and its surroundings.

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