The city of Saint Anthony

Coat of arms


You can see the location of the city, as well as its detailed map, here.

In the central part of the Veneto plains lies the province of Padua – a fascinating mix of art, culture, flavors and traditions. The heart of the countryside is the city of Padua, a dynamic and picturesque city with a rich historical heritage. Although less popular than Verona, Padua has a particular charm. Founded more than 3,000 years ago along the River Brenta, today it is a modern and cosmopolitan city and rather famous for its university and for the countless masterpieces of art scattered throughout the city. In the churches of the city, works by Donatello and Titian can be seen, and Giotto’s frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel are the brightest star in this galaxy. I mention the churches because in Italy they are an endless source not only of spiritual but also of cultural experiences.


Description: Palazzo della Ragione /picture source: Shutterstock/;

The best way to explore the historic center of Padua is on foot, strolling through the narrow streets, lovely squares and ancient bridges. The city squares are the perfect starting point, especially Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta. A view of the two squares opens from Palazzo della Ragione, also called “Salone”. In the Middle Ages, the building housed the City Hall. You can’t miss it because it seems like all roads lead there. The arches on the ground floor are known as the Sotto Salone (the salon below). Below them are various shops – for meat, cheese, confectionery. On the upper level there is a hall decorated with an astrological cycle.


Description: Prato della Valle;

In the immediate vicinity is Piazza dei Signori, an elegant square with Renaissance elements. on which many monuments stand, including the Church of San Clemente and the Palazzo del Capitanio from 1599, which contains a clock tower with an astronomical clock from 1344. Designed in the 1300s, the clock marks the hours and minutes, in addition to months, day, moon phases, and astrological place. Also nearby is Piazza del Duomo, dominated by the majestic cathedral and the ancient Baptistery of St. John. The baptistery is decorated with a fantastic cycle of frescoes. In the immediate vicinity of the Duomo stands Palazzo Vescovile, today the seat of the Diocesan Museum. Inside are magnificent works of art and the impressive Bishop’s Hall.


Description: the Bapsitery /picture source: Shutterstock/;

Another symbol of Padua is the Caffè Pedrocchi, built in the early 1800s by order of Antonio Pedrocchi. It was designed by the architect Giuseppe Iapelli. The cafe is historically significant for its role in the 1848 riots against the Habsburg monarchy, and also as a draw for artists over the last century from French writer Stendhal to Lord Byron to Italian writer Dario Fo. It was here that the Risorgimento – the movement for the unification and independence of Italy, conceived the liberation (in 1848 Padua was under the power of the Habsburg Empire).


Description: Scrovegni Chapel /picture source: Shutterstock/;

Not far from the cafe is the University of Padua, the second oldest in Italy. It was founded in 1222. Among his respected teachers was Galileo Galilei himself. It houses the first School of Anatonia. It is also the first university to award a degree to a woman. Your visit to Padua would not be complete without spending time in the famous Scroveghi Chapel, one of Giotto’s absolute masterpieces, if not the masterpiece, as Giotto reaches his peak with this cycle of frescoes, according to many experts.


Description: Sam Antionio basilica;

On the beautiful Piazza del Santo stands the Basilica of San Antonio, the construction of which began immediately after the saint’s death (1231). It has eight domes and pointed ornaments in the Eastern style, and San Antonio himself is buried inside. The basilica is an example of a harmonious balance of Romanesque, Gothic, Byzantine and Moorish styles; The interior is decorated with prestigious paintings and sculptures. If you need a break, very close to the basilica is the Botanical Garden of Padua, which, like most things in this city, is also close to 500 years old.

One of the emblems of Padua is Prato della Valle – the largest square in Italy and the second largest in Europe after Red Square in Moscow. It was designed by Domenico Cerato in 1775, at the insistence of Andrea Memia. The square looks like a large green elliptical island surrounded by a canal with four bridges and 78 statues of famous historical figures. These statues were built between 1775 and 1838. Once there was a Roman amphitheater here, and today it is a traditional venue for fairs and other organized events.

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