Within an hour of Venice, near the Renaissance Padua, rise the isolated, rounded cones of the Colli Euganei. These volcanic formations, known in English as the Euganean Hills, surround Abano Terme. Forests of oak and chestnut alternate with grapevines and Mediterranean almond trees, and the refined architecture of the sumptuous Veneto villas narrates centuries of history, art and tradition.
The name Euganean Hills comes from the Euganei, an ancient people who inhabited the region before the Romans. The area was known to the Romans as Aponi fons or Aquae Patavinae, and the oracle of Geryon lay nearby.
Near the town is the 11th century Abbey of Praglia, founded by Benedictine monks. The abbey, surrounding a Renaissance church and four cloisters is a center of book and manuscript restoration and it also makes its own, excellent wines. The entire region is the expression of a culture of well-being with a history and tradition that are unique in the world. Other little treasures found throughout the immediate surroundings of Abano Terme include rare species of orchids and butterflies in the shade of majestic chestnut trees, the spring-blooming almond trees, the Catajo Castle with Zelotti frescoes, and Arqua Petrarca. All this, in addition to the historical, cultural and artistic marvels of nearby Padua, Verona, and Vicenza.
The sophisticated cultural circles and associations founded in the shade of the arbours laden with the scent and color of wisteria have made the Euganean Hills a truly special place for generations of nobility ever since the days of the Roman Empire and the Venetian Serenissima Republic.
In the Euganean Hills, at Arquà, which now bears his name attached to it, Petrarch found peace and harmony towards the end of his life. He discovered the village in 1369, and there, he stated in his letter, "I have built me a house, small, but pleasant and decent, in the midst of slopes clothed with vines and olives."
For 2,000 years the Abano Therme hotsprings have been immersed in green Euganean Hills. The spa's fame is based on the medicinal qualities of hot, salty water with Bromine and Iodine, contained in the subsoil of geothermal origin. From the uncontaminated Pre-Alps, the rainwater seeps into the subsoil to depths of 9,000 feet, and during this journey, it is enriched with mineral salts and it progressively becomes hotter. Over the period of 30 years, the water crosses the distance of about 70 miles that separate the Pre-Alps from the Euganean Area, where the particular structural features of the subsoil causes it to re-emerge while keeping its high temperature of 70 - 200° F and its salinity. The chemical composition and temperature play an important role in the therapeutic properties of the mud and in the development of particular algae and microflora which develop during mud maturation.