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Museum

Museo archeologico Torre di Malta

STRADELLA DEL CRISTO, Cittadella, (Padova)

“Near Porta Padova we are dominated by the compact volume of the so called Torre di Malta. It rests on a rough basement in concretionary cobblestone about 5 metres high and consists of several storeys, with holes and arrow slits, and with rests of summit stone corbels reaching 21 metres. It is a rather early work. Starting at least from 1256, our sources attest the existence just past Porta Padova of a “girone”, that is a defensive reduit based on a robust keep, where Ezzelino da Romano’s captain found his last refuge against the besiegers.
In the following years the two podestà of Cittadella had to take turns of duty to remain there with fifteen guards, among whom five perfectly equipped crossbowmen. Its present aspect, however, is the result of later reconstruction, perhaps already in the 14th century. Certainly in the 15th century it was still known as the “Ziron”.
The tradition has it that here was constructed the notorious Malta, that is the prison wanted by Ezzelino, built in 1251, which for five years continuously swallowed the “tyrant’s” political opponents.
The victims of this hellish prison were known to be brought by the dozen, completely dried up, to be buried outside Porta Bassano, in the same place where after 1260 the nunnery of the Camposanto (Graveyard) was founded as a sign of devout memory (this latter circumstance, however, leads us to think that not here, but in the dark caves of Porta Bassano was located the horrible gaol passed to history also because Dante is believed to have made a reference to it).
Now the spacious rooms of the tower host quite a rich collection of archaeological finds, coming from Cittadella and its surroundings going from the Bronze Age to the Renaissance and forming the nucleus of the Civic Archaeological Museum."
 

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