The garden of the Rotonda Padua

The garden of the Rotonda is a terraced garden, situated close to the historical centre of Padua, behind the sixteenth century wall and the Rampart of the Cat.

The Story of the Giardini della Rotunda

Sculpture of the cat

The name is connected to an episode which occurred during the 1509 siege by the German King Maximilian I during the War of the League of Cambrai. According to legend, a cat was flayed alive to frighten the enemy with its screams. A sculpture of a cat jutting out of a niche was placed on the outer part of the tower facing Codalunga Street in order to commemorate this event, as well as symbolize the freedom of the people of Padua.

The garden is so called because it was planned around the area where a monumental suspended tank with a circular shaped base was built. It is the first water tank to be built in Padua, a prestigious work of engineering dating back to the 1920s. It can hold 200 cubic metres (44,000 gallons) of water and was considered not only the best aqueduct in Italy but also one of the best water tanks in Europe.

It is also remarkable as regards the construction materials since it is one of the earliest examples of the use of concrete in Padua. The decision to build the water tank and Codalunga water power plant just on this spot was due to the following events:

  1. On 11 November an Austrian bomb exploded killing 96 inhabitants who had hidden inside the gunners which were considered safe shelters.
  2. On 29 October a bomb, dropped from a plane in 1918 but unexploded until then, went off and destroyed the electric power plant causing serious water supply problems to the city.