Padova Travel Guide

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Padova Cathedral

Padova Cathedral

Visitors to the region of Veneto often overlook the marvelous city of Padova and head straight for Venice instead. It must be a shame once they find out out that they missed not only the oldest city in Northern Italy (founded in 1183 BC by Trojan Prince Antanor), but the setting of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Padova (also known as Padua) is the capital of the province of the same name and is situatied on the Bacchiglione River, 40 kilometers west of Venice and 29 kilometers southeast of Vicenza. The city is picturesque, with a dense network of arcade streets opening into large communal piazze, and bridges crossing the various branches of the Bacchilgione.

The University of Padua

When visiting Padova, most locals suggest you begin with its famous university. Founded in 1222 under the rule of Venice, the University of Padua is the third oldest in Italy and it hosts the oldest anatomy theatre (built in 1954) and the oldest botanical garden in the world (built in 1545).  If you're impressed with those  facts, wait until you see the list of some of its alumni: Sperone Speroni, Copernicus, Galileo Galilei and Gabriele Fallopio (first described the fallopian tube).

Capella degli Scrovegni

After the university, locals frequently cite the Scrovegni Chapel (Capella degli Scrovegni in Italian) as Padova's most famous sight because it stands on the site of a Roman arena and holds the most acclaimed fresco cycle in the world. Commissioned by Enrico degli Scrovegni and completed in 1305, this chapel has a strict policy prior to entrance to improve preservation of its antique collection. The visitors to the Scrovegni Chapel must spend about 15 minutes in a climate controlled, airlocked vault while the vault stabilizes the temperature between the outside world and the inside of the chapel. Make sure to book ahead before your visit to the Scrovegni Chapel.

"A Meadow Without Grass"

A famous local saying describes Padua itself as the city of “a meadow without grass, a saint without a name and a café without doors”.  The first part of this saying is best exemplified by Prato della Valle, a 90,000 square meters elliptical square. It is believed to be the second biggest in Europe, after the Red Square in Moscow.

The second part of this saying refers to Saint Anthony of Padua, whose basilica is known as the Basilica del Santo (Basilica of The Saint).  This church not only houses the mortal remains of the Lisbon-born saint, but also masterworks by Donatello.

Padova is trual a café without doors, because of the Caffè Pedrocchi. Near to the Palazzo del Bò, this well-known cafe has a reputation for being "doorless" because it was open 24/7 365 days of the year.

Contributors

December 11, 2008 new by latravelgirl

July 14, 2009 change by damiandavilarojas

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