The Palazzo del Capitanio in Padua is located on the west side of the Piazza dei Signori. It is one of the most striking buildings on this square, with its central part taken up by the Torre dell’Orologio.
Palazzo del Capitanio Padua
Address, opening hours and entrance fee
Address: Piazza del Capitaniato, 3 – Padua. Telephone: +39 392 4764353. Opening Hours: By appointment. Entrance fee: Unknown. (NB: Due to the Covid crisis the opening hours may differ from what is indicated here).
History and description
The Palazzo del Capitanio used to be the abode of the Capitono, who, together with the Podestà, was one of the two regents of the city. It is built on top of the ruins of the former Reggia Carrarrese.
The most striking part of the palace is the central arch underneath the clock. tower. This arch leads to the Corte Capitaniato, which used to be one of the courtyards of the Reggia. It housed the curia, the chancellery, barracks for the guards, stables, gardens and exercise yards for the soldiers.
The arch was added in 1532 by Giovanni Maria Falconetto, when the tower already existed. Its clock was the first of its kind in Italy. It does not only indicate the hours and minutes, but also the months, the days of the week and the phases of the moon. It was constructed in 1437, following th design of an earlier version by Giovanni Dondi.
The facade was reconstructed between 1599 and 1605. It has various inscriptions and a Lion of San Marco. (Padua, at the time, was under Venetian rule.)
There are two winged victories to the sides of the arch. The male figures in the niches are bearing the coats of arms of the Podestà Giovanni Badoer and of the Capitano Giovanni Moro.
Giovanni Maria Falconetto (1468-1535) was an architect and painter. He was born in Verona and served an apprenticeship under Melozzo da Forlì in Rome. He first returned to Verona and then moved to Padua, where his most famous work is the design of the Loggia Cornaro. In Verona he was responsible for a number of frescoes in the Cathedral. In Mantova he painted the Sala dello Zodiaco in the Palazzo d’Arco.