Montagnana is south of Vicenza (south-east of Verona), in the Venice-Veneto region of Italy and about 40 kilometres south-east of Verona.
Any visit to Montagnana will start with a look at the walls - these are almost two kilometres long and among the most impressive medieval defensive walls to be found in Italy, perhaps Europe, and the main reason why visitors come to Montagnana.
Continue your visit to Montagnana with the Castle of San Zeno, erected by Ezzelino da Romano. The castle has a large rectangular courtyard and rectangular towers, and is also now home to the Civic Museum and contains many artefacts from the Bronze and Roman Ages.
Nearby you can see the magnificent Palace of the nobles Pisani, built by Palladio in the mid-sixteenth century.
Follow along Via Marconi and Via Carraresi to enter the heart of Montagnana, where you will see the Hall by Michele Sanmicheli (mid-sixteenth century) in ashlar-work, and then enter into Piazza Maggiore to visit Montagnana Cathedral.
The cathedral is built on the site of the 11th century Church of Santa Maria and has a distinguished façade dating from the early 16th century, with two slender pilasters at the sides and two along the portal of entry (probably by Jacopo Sansovino [1486-1570]).
The interior has an interior in the Renaissance style with a barrel-vault, while the altar is probably by Jacopo Sansovino and the altar piece by Paolo Veronese [1528-1588] (the Transfiguration"). In the chapel of San Sebastiano and Rocco there is an altar piece by Giovanni Buonconsiglio [c.1465 - c.1535)
Following the magnificent arcades adjacent to Piazza Maggiore you can continue along Via Carraresi to see the two impressive palaces called Palazzo degli Uberti and Palazzo Magnavin-Foratti. Keep going until you reach the famous 'Rocca degli Alberi', built by the Carraresi from Padua in the second half of the 14th century.
Pause again to admire the walls, up to ten meters high (and some twenty meters high for the towers).
The main tour is complete but we do suggest you simply wander a little around Montagnana, perhaps taking the Via Scaligera and Via dei Montagnani to see the 16th century Hospital of the Nativity, which contains some frescoes by Giovanni Buonconsiglio.
Places to visit near Montagnana
Just outside the medieval walls is the Villa Pisani, one of the villas that are UNESCO listed as 'City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto'.
Montagnana cuisine - and 'sweet ham'
Montagnana, as well as being a city of art, is also renowned for its traditional products, especially the local ham. The "sweet" ham of Montagnana is produced using ancient rural traditions of processing and curing, with results of a very high reputation that has been appreciated by the Doges of Venice since 1400.
Enjoy the ham with the white and red wines of Garganega, Seprino, Tocai and Pinot Bianco, perhaps accompanied with some of the excellent local cheeses. These and other local products can ideally be sampled at Montagnana in early May, when the town plays host to the famous 'Feast of the ham'.
See also related article: history of Montagnana
Map of Montagnana and places to visit
Montagnana places to visit
See more places nearby in the Venice-Veneto guide