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A daily visit to Padova

Padua claims to be the most ancient city in northern Italy. The legend says it was founded by the Trojan Antenor, whose relics the commune recognized in a large stone sarcophagus exhumed in the year 1274.

Our day will start in Prato della Valle, a 90.000 square meter elliptical square: the largest in Italy, and one of the largest in Europe. A stop here is one of the highlights of a visit to Padova: walking around among 78 life-sized marble statues of spiritual and intellectual leaders from the 18th century. Cross a low stone bridge to watch mesmerizing reflections in the canal while children, dogs, and groups of friends and students fill the lawn with balls, bicycles, books and chatter or circle the lush green island to study the elegant palazzos and monumental churches lining the square. Prato della Valle is an urban space emitting beauty, culture and zen in equal measures.

At walking distance, the Basilica di Sant’Antonio, mostly known simply as “Il Santo”, is the most important monument in the city and one of the world’s most important art treasures. Recognised by the Holy See as an International Shrine, it is also one of Christendom’s most celebrated and popular churches. It is dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, who was born around 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal, and who died in Padua on June 13, 1231.

Padua has long been famous for its university, founded by Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor, in 1238. The list of professors and alumni is long, containing, among others, the names of Bembo, the anatomist Vesalius, Fallopius, Galileo Galilei. A visit at the University (if available) in Palazzo Bo will make you discover the Cortile antico, the Aula magna, Galileo’s teaching post, the Teatro anatomico (the first in the world) and the bust of Elena Cornaro, the first graduated woman in the world.

The colors and sounds of all the squares will then accompany you to the majestic Palazzo della Ragione, a medieval town hall building, which with its great hall on the upper floor, is reputed to have the largest roof unsupported by columns in Europe.

After a stop for lunch, the greatest of the emotion is waiting for you: the visit to the Cappella degli Scrovegni. Dedicated to St. Mary of the Charity, frescoed between 1303 and 1305 by Giotto, upon the commission of Enrico degli Scrovegni, is one of the most important masterpieces of Western art. The frescoes, which narrate events in the lives of the Virgin Mary and Christ, cover the entire walls and a firmament of stars looks down from the ceiling.

Just beside the Chapel, the Museum will give you a further exemple of the work of Giotto with a wonderful crucifix.

Center of Padova

Candels to lit at the Santo

Galileo's teaching post

The domes of the Santo

Prato della Valle

Santa Giustina church

The center of Padova

The center of Padova

One of the many archways in the center of Padova

Prato della Valle

Prato della valle

Prato della Valle

Prato della Valle

Prato della valle

Prato della valle

Prato della valle

 

Palazzo della Ragione 

Il Santo - the cloister

Il Santo - the cloister

Il Santo

Il Santo

Church of Sant'Antonio da Padova, simply known as "Il Santo"

Il Santo

St. Anthony

Scrovegni chapel by Giotto

Scrovegni chapel by Giotto

Scrovegni chapel by Giotto - the sky

Scrovegni chapel by Giotto

Scrovegni chapel by Giotto

Scrovegni chapel by Giotto

Scrovegni chapel by Giotto - the final judgement

Scrovegni chapel by Giotto

Scrovegni chapel by Giotto - painted marbles

Scrovegni chapel by Giotto

Scrovegni chapel by Giotto - the final judgement

Scrovegni chapel by Giotto - the hell in the final judgement

Padova city center

University - Anatomical theatre

Padova city center - barbacani