La Città delle Rose (The Town of Roses)

When you are on your way from Venice to Ferrara in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, you might make one some-hour stop in a small but very pretty town in Veneto. It’s situated nella Pianura Padana (in the Po Valley) and namely this lowland is known as Polesine. It’s “hugged” by the rivers Adige (to the north) and Po which are interconnected by il Canal Bianco to the south. The Adriatic Coast is only 40 km far away from the town while i Colli Euganei (the hills between Padova and Vicenza) are really very close to the town. And this town is …. 🙂

R   O   V   I   G   O

The origins of the town of Rovigo date back to the pre-historic era when it’s supposed to have been inhabited by i paleoveneti (ancient Venetic people) and gli etruschi (the Etruscans). The latter dug artificial canals which had to take and redirect the waters of the rivers. On the other hand, an ancient Roman passage of great significance went through Rhodigium (the Latin name of the town) as it had a very strategic position, i.e. the settlement was situated very close to the old imperial route connecting ancient Rome to the northeastern provinces and territories of the Roman Empire.

I will open a bracket related to the name of the town. So … As I mentioned above, it was known as Rhodigium in the Roman Empire. Later, in the middle ages, it was named Rodigo, Rudi and Ruuigo most probably as a reference to the Germanic name Hrodigo. However, many scholars are of the opinion that the name, actually, derives from the Greek word for “rose”, i.e. “rhodon”, consequently Rovigo is la Città delle Rose (or the Town of Roses). Bracket closed.

The town was a rural settlement in the 9th century. The town and its fortress were expanded by the House of Este one century later. It became Venetian in the 14th century and it underwent great splendour and development during this 3-century period of time of the rule of la Serenissima.

Nowadays the economy of Rovigo and the surroundings is based mainly on industry (e.g. shipbuilding) and on the sector of services. Food industry and agriculture are also very well developed (for instance, growing corn and other types of vegetables and legumes).  As far as tourism is concerned, it’s growing due to the opening of natural parks and reserves like the Po River Delta Park.

Speaking about Rovigo itself, it’s worth visiting the town although it’s tiny but it possesses numerous historic monuments and buildings of high artistic value. The town is rich in museums, gardens, alleys, squares and streets, all of them having been built in Venetian style, which has kept their charm through the century up to now. It’s also a place where the rhythm of life is slow and prompts you to enjoy and appreciate the things of life to the max.  And what can you visit in Rovigo during your stay there?

A good starting point to explore Rovigo is la Piazza Matteotti. The two towers (one of them being la Torre Donà) emerge here as well as the town’s walls are visible. Moving forward, you will reach the brick church of Santo Stefano which is, actually, il Duomo of the town. Having visited it, you are allowed to get lost in the tiny streets, enjoying the palaces and buildings around, while you reach il Corso del Popolo. Like any other Italian “corso”, here you will find numerous shops, cafés and restaurants.

If you’re not a fan of shopping you might just take one of the side streets and enter the central square of the old town of Rovigo, i.e. la Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II. The small square is characteristic for its splendid palaces and buildings. Once arrived in the square, you will be amazed with them.

When you look in front of you, you will see the 16th century elegant building of il Palazzo del Municipio (or this the Town Hall) with its 18th century Torre dell’Orologio or Torre Civica (this is the Clock Tower). The 15th century Loggia dei Notari (the Notary’s House) is to the right of the Clock Tower while il Palazzo Roverella is to the left. The latter houses la Piancoteca which is home to one of the best collections of paintings in Veneto. (By the way, la Piancoteca was once housed in the Accademia dei Concordi, also situated here in the square).

If you are tired and want to have a short break, just choose one of the numerous cafés around and order one Spritz. You can ask for some WiFi in the local you’ve already chosen but be careful because locals could be very weird and stealthy.  What do I mean? They will not give you the WiFi password immediately and directly but they will take your mobile device, will hide somewhere under the bar (so that you cannot see anything they are doing on your mobile) and will enter the wrong one. But believe me, after this first unsuccessful attempt of theirs, they will give up and finally, they will just give you a small sheet of paper with the password written on it so that you can login by yourself. At that very moment, you might ask yourself what it was all about. You neither “will eat” their WiFi nor you will use it ever once you leave the town. 😀 Anyway… Once you get “your connection to the world” you can check up all birthday greetings from your friends and answer them, you might post some photos of the views of the surrounding buildings and especially, of the Venetian Lion perched on a high column in the square which reminds of the rule of Venetia Doges in Rovigo in the past.

After having got refreshed, you will be able to continue to the next square which is reachable from one of the angles of la Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II. This is la Piazza Garibaldi where you might see the ruins of the Santa Giustina Church on the ground. Moreover, being in the square, you will be immediately attracted by the enormous Monument to Guiseppe Garibaldi in the centre of la piazza.

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