The Saccisica is a flat, low-lying area between the city of Padua and the Lagoon of Venice. Beloved by aristocratic Venetians, who had their country homes built here, the Saccisica was one of the Paduan counties that also provided an inexhaustible source of wheat. The Saccisica derives its name from the administrative centre of Piove di Sacco, which served as an important outpost of the Carraresi family in their contention against the Serenissima Republic of Venice for the control of the area between Padua and Venice.
Although insufficient systematic archaeological excavations have so far prevented experts from drawing up a clear description of the Saccisica territory in Roman times, several archaeological finds like tombstones, altars and funerary stelae reveal that the area was a highly developed Roman settlement. The archaeological finds date back to the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, when the territory of Padua – as part of the X Roman Region of Venetia et Histria – flourished both economically and politically. The Romans built an extensive network of roads that connected the Paduan territory with important routes of the Roman Empire which, at the time, was expanding eastwards. Improved roadways favoured further settlements and the development of centuriations – the orthogonal grid-like plans intended for land distribution to settlers – a process during which this marshy, frequently flooded area was reclaimed and turned into fertile land. The Saccisica therefore became an important Roman settlement divided into three centuriations – one of which had Piove di Sacco as its administrative centre – with several small towns and villages along the main roads. Archaeological finds in Arzergrande, Sant’Angelo, Vigorovea, Brugine, Campagnola and Vallonga reveal the complexity of these Roman settlements: examples are the ruins of villae, i.e., the luxurious mansions with annexed buildings for agricultural production that anticipated the future Veneto villas, and Roman tombs found in the areas of Arzergrande, Sant’Angelo and Vigorovea. In Arzergrande, ruins of pillars and large sections of walls reveal the presence of Roman banks to prevent flooding of the river Brenta. Some of these interesting Roman finds are now in the exhibiting hall “Portus Aedro” in the building that hosts the City of Arzergrande. An altar dedicated to Neptune and dating back to the late 1st century AD was found in Ardoneghe di Brugine, and a votive altar of the second half of the 1st century AD and dedicated to the Roman god Sylvanus was unearthed at S. Anna di Piove di Sacco. Several archaeological finds were also discovered in the area of today’s territory of Saonara which, in Roman times, developed along the important Via Annia and was part of the rural colony of Piove di Sacco.