Ancient Padua can be glimpsed in elegant twin squares separated by the triple-decker Gothic Palazzo della Ragione, the city’s tribunal dating from 1218. Inside Il Salone (the Great Hall), frescoes by Giotto acolytes Giusto de’ Menabuoi and Nicolò Miretto depict the astrological theories of Padovan professor Pietro d’Abano, with images representing the months, seasons, saints, animals and noteworthy Paduans (not necessarily in that order).

The enormous 15th-century wooden horse at the western end of the hall was modelled on Donatello's majestic bronze Gattamelata, which still stands in Piazza del Santo. At the other end of the hall is a contemporary version of Foucault's Pendulum.