Even among Padova’s many elegant squares, the Piazza dei Signori stands out. Come here to watch local residents going about their daily lives, surrounded by stunning Renaissance buildings, including a spectacular clock tower. Relax for hours sipping coffee at one of the many charming al fresco cafés or buy fresh produce at the open-air market stalls that fill the square.
As with most Padova squares, the Piazza dei Signori is filled with history. Many of the buildings here are very old. To understand exactly how old, look at the incredible clock tower that dominates the space. Marvel at the many intricacies of this ornate building. Gaze up at the winged lion that stands in front of the arched gateway. Above the doorway is the wonderfully elaborate clock face, painted like the night sky. Astrological signs circle the centre of the clock. Note that Libra, representing Justice, is missing, possibly the artist’s indication that the client did not live up to their agreed contract payment. This tower was built in 1477 it is now thought to be one of the world’s oldest clock towers.
Come to the square in the morning or afternoon and find the space filled with market stalls and buzzing with locals shopping for fresh produce. As with most traditional Italian markets, the atmosphere here is lively and the local treats and ingredients on sale are high quality.
The cafés, bars and restaurants around the edges of the square are open in the morning and offer lovely places to enjoy an outdoor breakfast. However, it is in the evening that the scale of the culinary delights of the square really becomes clear. Come once the market stalls are cleared away for the day and find the entire square filled with outdoor tables, the perfect place to spend an evening enjoying delicious food, great wine and lively conversation.
Make the 20-minute walk from the main train station to the Piazza dei Signori and enjoy the beautiful sights of Padova’s historic streets along the way. To fully appreciate this outdoor space, visit from spring through fall.