Monuments and interesting places

The Carrarese Castle was built in the 40s of the XIV century by Umbertino da Carrara, over the ruins of a previous fortification distroyed  in 1239 by Ezzelino da Romano’s troops.

In the middle of the XIII century, the Marquis of Este definitely restored the castle. The Mastio, a square tower, is on the hill, overviewing the entire town; at the north-east there is a small casle, the Rocca di Soccorso, which originally was the entrance to the fortress. The place between the walls is today a public garden. The Castle was used with a difensive end until Este submitted to the Republic of Venice, when the structure was sold to the Mocenigo House; they built the Palazzetto at the end of the XVI century, where today is established the Museo Nazionale Atestino.

The Museo Nazionale Atestino was founded by Vicenzo Fracanzani, Este podestà, who, in the 1834, decided to display a gathering of Roman epigraphs; then the noble Giorgio Contarini assembled a collection of grave goods found in Este. At the beginning the collection was called Museo Civico Lapidario, seated in the church of San Francesco; when the State established with a decree (1 aprile 1887) the Museo Nazionale Atestino, it moved its seat to the Palazzo Mocenigo.

The exibition develops through 11 halls; the first four halls show pre-Roman collections, the others Roman collections.

The most important item is the situla Benvenuti, 600 B.C.; it is a bronze bowl, embossed and chiseled with animal figures and everyday life scenes. Moreover, many grave goods are displayed, silver jewellery and grey pottery.

The Civic Tower, Porta Vecchia, goes back to the end of the XVII century; it rises where a previous entrance to the town was built. A clock is placed on the tower.

The Palazzo del Municipio overviews the Piazza Maggiore; it is an elegant building with a loggia built in the XVII century.

The Palazzo degli Scaligeri also overviews the Piazza. It was built in the XIV century; today is the seat of the Gabinetto  di Lettura and it has a library with fifty thousand books.

The Palazzo del Principe lays on the hill; it was built by the Contarini House and designed by Vincenzo Scamozzi with a central plan and a Greek cross shaped hall. Its name comes from the fact that Alvise Contarini was informed he had been elected doge while he was staying at this palace.

The Santa Tecla Cathedral was built over the ruins of an ancient Early Christian basilica between the XVII and the XVIII century. The plan has an elliptical shape, with a large presbytery. It holds several works of art, such as the painting by Giambattista Tiepolo showing Santa Tecla’s intercession. The rectory holds some paintings by the Este artist Antonio Zanchi.

The Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie was built because of Taddeo d’Este’s will, who wanted a miraculous XV century Byzantine icon to be dispalyed in it. The plan has a Latin cross shape. The most important work of art that it keeps is a painting by Zanchi, representing Sant’Antonio da Padova with Baby Jesus and other Saints.

The San Martino Church is the oldest church in Este, dating back to the XI century. It has a simple and elegant structure with three naves.

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