Capital Without Column – Padua, Italy - Atlas Obscura

Capital Without Column

Something's missing between the arcades of the Palazzo della Ragione in "the city of the three withouts." 


Locals refer to Padua, Italy as “the city of the three ‘withouts.’” The city’s patron saint, Saint Anthony, is frequently called “the Saint,” making him a “saint without a name.” Its central cafe, which was open 24 hours a day, was called “the cafe without doors.” Its main square is also called “the meadow without grass.”

But there’s a fourth, lesser-known place “without” something in the city, too. Within the Palazzo della Ragione, there’s a column missing from the portico. This architectural oddity is typically called the “capital without column.”

Local legend says the missing column was stolen by someone from the rival city of Vicenza. Some say this rumor was started so the people of Padua would have an excuse to wage war on the other city. But in reality, it’s more likely the column was removed for practical purposes, as its absence has created a wider passageway for vendors to move their goods to and from the marketplace.

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