It's the castle that distinguishes the small town of Este, an important center at the foot of the Euganei Hills, inhabited since Neolithic age. Its name is derived from the ancient name of the Adige river (Atheste) that once flowed nearby. It was built north of the urban center in 1050 by Azzo II whom from the town took the name of Estense for his whole family. In 1339 the Estensi moved to Ferrara and left the castle to Ubertino da Carrara, lord of Padova, who wanted to take advantage of the strategical position of the town and rebuilt the castle for better defense from the Scaligeri and Visconti families. Nowadays only the wall boundaries are left, which are anyway sufficient to give an idea of the impressiveness of the fortress : over a perimeter of more than one thousand meters rise twelve towers divided by the Guelph crenellated screenings, plus two “masti” (huge towers) larger than the rest : one called “Castelletto del Soccorso” on the eastern side, the other one on the highest spot that overlooks all the historical center. In some parts the patrol walkway that connected the towers is still visible.
Internally, the castle has been replaced by a wonderful italian garden, with over thirty different types of plants, embellished by eighteenth century statues representing mythological gods. The walls also englobe the remainings of Palazzo Moncenigo (XVI century) which now accomodates the National Atestino Museum, where one can find prehistorical, ancient venetian and roman findings from Este, Lozzo Atestino and Arquà Petrarca, together with exhibits of ceramic craft and medieval and Renaissance art works.
Over recent years the Castello Marchionale underwent relevant restoration imposed by the Town Hall and today it's the destination of tourists from all over the world. Inside the castle, there is an Information and Tourist Welcoming Office, plus a refreshment room at the entrance. Internally there are equipped playgrounds and, during summertime, concerts, ballet and medieval shows are organized in the vast amphitheatre. At the moment other areas and salons are being recovered and shortly they will be provided with facilities for catering, permanent exhibitions and cultural centers.
P.zza Maggiore, n° 6 - 35042 Este (PD)
Tel. +39 0429 617511 Fax +39 0429 600632