In this chapter we will discuss one of the most impressive and characteristic buildings of the Euganean Hills Regional Park, the Catajo Castle.
The Catajo Castle is a monumental building located in Battaglia Terme, rich in history and elegance, and considered by many to be the fairy-tale palace of the Euganean Hills. This majestic residence, which was built in the 16th century by Pio Enea I of the Obizzi, is structured inside in over 350 rooms and, outside, in vast gardens where we can find two 18th century magnolias and a giant American sequoia.
Considered one of the most important European historical residences, the Catajo Castle is a unique building of its kind since it was a princely villa, military accommodation, literary circle and imperial palace. Precisely for this reason over the course of time it underwent many changes, such as the enlargement of the '600 where, in fact, it was transformed into a ducal palace by the Asburgo-Este family or, the next one, where it was elected imperial residence of the Habsburgs, emperors of 'Austria.
At first it was thought that the origin of the name derived from the Cathay, a name given by Marco Polo in the XIII century that referred to northern China, but more probably refers to a Ca 'Tajo, that is a "cutting estate", with a close connection to the excavation of the Battaglia Canal, which cut in half the agricultural possessions of the imposing castle.
In short, an extraordinary structure, thought from its origins to become something unique and exclusive, undoubtedly by the same wish of the client, who wanted it as a place of representation, where to entertain guests from all over Europe with parties, dances and theatrical performances. Today the castle is privately owned but is open to the public as a museum or for special events.