The Piazza dei Frutti (or Piazza della Frutta) is a square in the historical centre of Padua. It is located to the north of the Palazzo della Ragione, one of the most famous buildings in the city. Apart from the palace and the market, its main attraction is the Colonna del Peronio.
Piazza dei Frutti Padua
Address and opening hours market
Address: Piazza della Frutta – Padua. Phone: Not applicable. Market hours: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 8:00 to 14:00, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 8:00 to 19:00. (Note: Due to the Covid crisis, opening hours may differ from what is indicated here).
History and description
The Piazza dei Frutti used to be called Piazza del Peronio. This is because near the column at the beginning of the Via Breda a certain kind of footwear called perones was sold.
The column still exists and is surmounted by a capital decorated with a pumpkin, a palm tree, a quince and a pear tree. The capital supports the emblem of the city, a should with a cross and a depiction of San Prosdocimo, the first bishop of Padua.
Fruit and vegetables were not all that was being sold. There were stalls selling fish, eggs, poultry and game, roasted meat such as porchetta and boiled ox feet, and even live falcons. The two stairs from the Palazzo della Ragione to the square reflected the kind of food on offer. The Scala delle Erbe led to the vegetable part and the Scala degli Osei, osei being the local dialect for “birds”, the part where birds were sold.
On the first Thursday in May, a popular festival called the zobia masa used to take place. Centre of the event, which was organized by the used goods dealers, was the “tree of Cockaigne”. Cockaigne (cuccagna, in Italian) was a mythical country, where nobody ever had to work and everyone was always enjoying food or other pleasures. The winner of the event got a purse and gloves. (On the corner of the Via Marsilio da Padova and the Via Gorizia a marble purse commemorating the event is sculpted into the wall.)