On my last trip through northern Italy, taking advantage the max advantange of my (rented) car, decided to choose some small towns that were along the way where I could spend a few hours and get to know its key sights. This is how I got to Padova! Just 40 km from Venice, take the Autostrade A4 just straight forward… impossible to miss! As I mentioned in a previous post (Click here), the Italian motorways are well signposted.
Although it doesn’t have the splendor of cities like Venice or Florence, in my opinion (and I will never get tired of repeating it) every Italian town has its own beauty and will somehow worth your visit. So far I have never been in a place around Italy that doesn’t have something lovely to offer.
Anyway, I must confess… (And if you read my posts about this country you probably already know!) Italy is one of my favorite countries worldwide! I’m crazy in love!
Back to Padua! In addition to its prestigious university known worldwide, has several places to visit! Perhaps a good place to start the tour would be Piazza Prato della Valle… a huge square in elliptical shape. Many say it is even one of the biggest in Europe, well… true or not, it’s a special place, an artificial canal with rows of large statues rings the area surruonded by picturesque buildings. Lovely! Definitely worth a stop!
I recommend it without hestitating, even if you are short in time, take at least half an hour to jump on the grass and appreciate the beauty and tranquility of this site. However, if time isn’t a problem why not have a picnic too? Tip! On Saturdays a market is installed along the square, so the panorama changes!
It’s a good idea to visit is “Padova’s rock star” as your second stop! The Basilica of San Antonio de Padua. Walking from the square you will arrive in about 5 to 10 minutes, impossible to miss, you will see it from far away, raising between builings… the place is huge and impressive! It has the typical mix of styles that we can see in several constructions in Italy, predominates the romantic mixed with gothic and even some Byzantine elements can be seen.
In its interior it keeps some frescos and sculptures very well preserved, besides its beautiful cloister and of course… the remains of San Antonio, legend says that if you are looking for a soul mate you must ask the Saint for one and at some point… Puff! You got it!. Why not try? Just in case…
Very close to the Basilica and if its break/lunch time, there’s the famous Caffé Pedrocchi! Countless intellectuals, politicians and academics have sat in this place! By the way… Their pastries are delicious! Totally recommended.
Right after the Caffe you will see the Torre dell’Orologio, a medieval building located in Piazza dei Signori, but very shortly before arriving there, you must stop at the Palazzo della Regione! Located in Piazza della Frutta, a place that houses an every day market with a multitude of fruit and veggies stalls.
Now, the palazzo! Built around 1.200s was the former governmental building of the city, a typical northern Italian building (nicely preserved). It is worth paying the entrance fee of just 4 EUR to go insid and see its impressive murals, the vaults… but what stands out is a huge room almost 80 meters long with its four walls decorated with frescoes by Giotto, a giant horse Of wood elaborated by Donatello, two Egyptian sphinxes and the stone of the vituperio. Wow!
Continuing the way, our next stop is the Capella degli Scrovegni, located in a park just to Padova’s Arena, a small building that on the outside won’t express much, but on its inside houses super famous frescos by Giotto as “La Announce “, “The Final Judgment”, “Santa Ana” and “San Joaquín” among others. A truly impressive place, the colors, the atmosphere and the good state of preservation of the frescos makes it very special.
My recommendation is to book early in the website! It’s a super touristic place and won’t usually sell tickets at the door just for that same time, making you come later that day or even the following!
Needless to say is that like in every italian town your eyes should be wide open! Any street may have that “thing”… beautiful details, picturesque buildings, those pleasant spots around the corner, you know what I mean.