Not far from Padua and Venice is a tiny little village of only two thousand lucky souls, right in the heart of Italy's premier thermal spa region (click to view article). Not for nothing has this town been included in the Italian Touring Club's list of the loveliest and best preserved medieval towns in Italy.
Arqua Petrarca gets its name from its most famous resident of yesteryear – the poet Francesco Pertrarca who passed away in the town in the 14th century. Many fans of this incredible poet come here to see his house, which is now a museum, and his marble tomb in the main square.
Pertrarca's home is interesting even if you know nothing about the poet himself. The house has some lovely paintings and the Venus room offers splendid views out across the surrounding Euganian Hills.
Overall I found the house worth the four Euro fee to get in. The only thing I though was a little weird and somewhat creepy was Petrarca's mummified cat. Experts though reckon it is a fake...I hope so!
For me the real pleasure of being here is the simplest pleasure of all. It is the joy to be felt wandering around the cobbled lanes watching the locals go about their business and savouring the remarkable atmosphere.
The town has a couple of charming squares bustling with locals. Foremost among them is Piazza Roma (the main square) which is lined with some lovely 14th century Palazzi. Summer evenings in the piazza are delightful; all the locals seem to congregate here and the place is abuzz with laughter and local gossip.
Have energy to spare? Then walk up the steps heading from the famous old fountain; these lead you up to the oldest part of the town. You'll get some stunning views across the rooftops of the town and across the rolling hills beyond.
The other notable square is Piazza San Marco which is home to the picturesque 12th century Church of Santa Trinità Oratory. Inside too the church is lovely.
Many who come here do so to benefit from the world famous thermal spas, combine that with time in a village considered one of the loveliest in all of Veneto and you have a balm for the soul second to none.
Of course you'll need a hotel that will only add to the peace and tranquillity and on the edge of town you'll find just that - a hotel by the name of Villa del Poeta (view details and photos here).
For a little old village you are spoilt for choice. The Osteria Al Guerriero in Via Jacopo Da Arquà, is my pick of them. This is the warm homely type of place I adore offering traditional Veneto homestyle cooking that is just so delicious. A great way to experience the type of food Italian grandmothers prepare for their families every day .
The map below should help you find your way...
Discovering the Veneto