The Catajo Castle is a magnificent cross between a fortress and a Venetian aristocratic mansion. Located in the Euganean Hills, between Padua and Monselice, it is considered “the most unusual among the Venetian Villas”.
The Obizzis – captains of a free company, of French origin – built the Catajo Castle in 1570 to celebrate the glorious feats of their family.
Over the centuries, the castle was the venue of spectacular festivals for the international aristocracy, enlivened by jousts, staged naval battles (naumachias), theater performances, and dances. The piano nobile was frescoed by the famous artist Giovanni Battista Zelotti, who used this venue to paint one of the most important cycles of self-celebrating frescoes of northern Italy.
In the 19th century, the Catajo Castle was expanded and enhanced, becoming first the residence of the exiled Estes from Modena and then a Hapsburg hunting reserve. The Catajo Castle has been owned by the Dalla Francesca family since 1929.
Today, the castle is open to the public and everybody can attend guided tours, events and initiatives, in a fascinating journey in history through the courtyards, gardens, patios, and corridors dug in rock, as well as hundreds of rooms adorned with the wonderful frescoes by Gianbattista Zelotti.