Top choice in The Veneto

The huge 14th-century battlements surrounding Montagnana represent one of the most complete medieval fortified complexes in Europe. The 2km-circuit, surrounded by a 40m-wide dry moat, is ringed with 24 hexagonal towers and punctuated with two fortresses and four grand gateways. A strategic hotspot between Padua and Verona in medieval times, it is now regularly voted one of Italy’s most beautiful towns.

The Castle of San Zeno guards the main Porta Padova gate situated on the western side of the citadel. Enter here and you’ll be greeted by a forest of towers that guard the perimeter and end at the Rocca degli Alberi overlooking the former borderland between Venice and Verona. Wandering within the walls you’ll come across the frescoed Duomo and the Borgo Veneziano (Venetian quarter), where pastel-coloured houses line the Via Mure Nord. Make sure and stop for lunch. Montagnana is also famous for its ‘sweet’ ham, which is celebrated at the Festa del Prosciutto ( in May.

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