The history of the waterways around Padua
Whilst talk of a city built on water might bring to mind Venice, don’t forget that Padua was another great city of water, with many canals of its own.Starting in the Middle Ages, the rulers of Padua and Vicenza began to construct some extraordinary works of engineering, digging canals which could be used to transport troops, goods and people.
This gave rise to a flourishing water-borne trade, connecting the castles, villas, palaces, fortified towns, riverside towns typical of the hills and the surrounding plains with the city of Venice.
These ancient waterways in the countryside around the Euganean Hills are a remarkable part of the landscape.
The Bisato and Battaglia canals meet in the riverside town of Battaglia Terme, creating one of the most interesting junctions in Veneto, the Euganean Riviera, mentioned by many travellers, philosophers and writers, including Petrarch.
Boat trips near Padua
These days, more inquisitive travellers can view the many historic feats of aquatic engineering (bridges, moorings, harbours) in relaxing and graceful surroundings aboard a boat.
In addition, from the banks of the canals you can admire the hills, towns, villas and mediaeval Venetian architecture, including Catajo and Monselice castles.
It is possible to sail from the centre of Padua to Battaglia Terme and back along the Battaglia canal, an ancient man-made canal dating back to the 16th century, built to connect the city with the Euganean Hills, inextricably linked to the traditional “barcari” or boatmen who are remembered in the Museum of River Navigation in Battaglia Terme.
In Battaglia Terme, the trip leaves from the jetty next to Catajo castle. Immediately after departure, you come across a unique piece of aquatic engineering, the “Conca di Navigazione” lock which raises boats by seven metres, connecting the Bisatto canal from Monselice and Este with the Battaglia canal, and beyond to Venice.
This mighty structure is used to control the waterways of the region and at one time it made Battaglia Terme a very important junction for trade to and from Venice.
You can also visit Padua and the surrounding area by boat, exploring the canals and enjoying a unique atmosphere. We look for to welcoming you on one of our boat tours!