Piazza della Frutta (Fruit Square), once called Piazza del Peronio, is a beautiful square in Padua, dominated by the imposing Palazzo della Ragione. Together with the nearby Piazza delle Erbe, Piazza della Frutta was, for centuries, the commercial center of the city.
The area was inhabited since pre-Roman times, as evidenced by numerous archaeological finds. According to some, it was a site of trade already during the Roman age, but owes its current conformation to a period between the 10th and 11th centuries.
The square was occupied by numerous shops and stalls, selling all kinds of goods, especially vegetables and fruits. With the construction of the Palazzo della Ragione at the beginning of the 13th century, an attempt was made to arrange the various points of sale – under the hall, the sellers of fabrics and fur were installed, the vendors of poultry and game to the east, the sellers of fruits and vegetables to the west, while the removable stalls with leather were placed in the center of the square.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, the medieval houses enclosing the square were renovated, with the rectification of the arcades. In the first half of the 19th century, the balconies supported by wooden columns were definitively eliminated.
On the southern side of the square, there is the imposing Palazzo della Ragione, built starting with 1219. Its current shape is due to Frà Giovanni degli Eremitani who, between 1306 and 1309, raised the large hull-shaped roof and added the porch and the loggias covering the stairs.
On the southeastern side of the square, the Palazzo della Ragione is connected to the Palazzo del Consiglio through an archway called Volto della Corda. Palazzo del Consiglio was initially built in the 11th century, and was rebuilt in 1285 by the architect Leonardo Zise, to house the city’s council.
The next building to the east is the Torre degli Anziani (Tower of the Elders), built in the 12th century by Tiso VI da Camposampiero who, in 1215, ceded it, together with the neighboring palace, to the municipality.
On the northern part of the square, there is the Colonna del Peronio, a medieval column which was used as a support for a tent or as a mark for the arrangement of the stalls. The column is surmounted by a capital, crowned by a small Istrian stone obelisk.
HOW TO GET THERE
Piazza della Frutta is located about 1.3 kilometers from the Padua railway station. The closest bus stop is located in the nearby Piazza delle Erbe, about 50 meters away, on the bus Line U02. To find the square on foot, use the map below.