At the confluence of the Bisato and Battaglia Canals: an open-air museum of river navigation
❝An open-air museum which narrates the era of river navigation and its sailors, this is how the ancient town that stands at the confluence of the two medieval canals, close to the Castle of Catajo, presents itself. Ingenuous hydraulic works that were once part of an intricate canal system may be visited in the town's historical centre: the navigation lock (or "hydraulic lift"), the Lagoon style bridge, and the Arco di Mezzo, with its powerful barriers and waterfall. ❞
The river town of Battaglia Terme, situated along the medieval canal of the same name, is today very much an open-air museum given how many traditional aspects of river navigation it still preserves. Visitors cannot miss the time worn stately homes as they browse the historical centre of this town on the Euganean Riviera. Nor can they miss the Venetian style bridges, the navigation basin, and the traditional wooden boats, jealously preserved here as a testimony of the symbiotic relationship with the water.
Battaglia Terme is a fundamental intersection in the Paduan canal network. It is the meeting place of the Bisato Canal (1139) from Monselice and Este, and the Battaglia Canal (1189-1201), an artificial canal fed by the Bacchiglione waters, at Padua. The timely regulation of water levels is performed right in the centre of Battaglia by means of an important hydraulic structure, the monumental Arco di Mezzo which offloads the Bisato-Battaglia waters into an underlying canal, the Vigenzone. The considerable height difference between these canals produces a spectacular 7 metre water leap which was used from medieval times to power waterwheels, paper mills, and all manner of hydraulic works. Thanks to its connection with the navigable canals of the Paduan territory, the town enjoyed a long period of flourishing commerce.
Near to the confluence of the Vigenzone and Rialto Canal is the small but must see Museum of River Navigation, completely unique in Italy. The rich collections preserve the precious patrimony of navigation, wooden boat building techniques, and the arts of fresh water sailors who developed knowledge and techniques different from those of sea sailors. The visitor will find impressive reconstructions, through models, artifacts and historical footage, of the life that once filled the rivers: the activities of the boatmen, boat builders, horsemen and dockers (barcari, squeraroli, cavalanti, scariolanti), anonymous protagonists of the "liquid civilization", today almost completely unknown.
By train: Battaglia Terme has a convenient station on the Padova-Bologna railway line. Alternatively, is the “Terme Euganee-Abano-Montegrotto” station, located 7 km. further north and served also by long-distance trains, with good cycle-rail interchange facilities.
By car: Motorway A13 (Bolona-Padova) exit at “Terme Euganee” and proceed towards Battaglia Terme.
Where to eat: both in the town centre of Battaglia Terme, we suggest “Il Ristorantino” (Via Roma 75, Battaglia Terme; tel. 348 8581703) and the wine bar “Enoteca Fermati Un Momento” (Viale dei Colli Euganei 43, Battaglia Terme; tel. 049 5911088).
Where to stay: we recommend the “Bed&Breakfast L'Angolo Perduto”, in the heart of the canal village (Via Ortazzo 49, Battaglia Terme; tel. 049 9115946), and the farmhouse “Agriturismo Azienda Agricola Villa Egizia”.
Bike and boat tours: Viaggiare curiosi (tel. 328 4089272; firstname.lastname@example.org).
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