Padua lies in the Northern Italian region of Veneto. The often overshadowed by its more famous neighbor Venice, Padua can really hold its own. In fact, a plethora of historical, cultural, and gastronomical delights awaiting its visitors.
Some may know the city as the setting of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, but Padua has much more to offer than this. For instance, here you will find Italy’s second-oldest university (founded in 1222), at which Galileo Galilei himself lectured! Aside from this, Padua, or Padova in Italian, boasts a vast range of historical art. You can find one of the most famous examples of this in the Arena Chapel.
This building exhibits beautiful frescoes by the artist Giotto. These detail the life of Joachim, the Virgin Mary, and the Christ, as well as scenes of Judgement Day. The chapel was dedicated to Santa Maria della Carità (Charity), which is thought to have been done in order to appease the Pope. Enrico degli Scrovegni, who commissioned the chapel, was a userer. This was seen as a grave sin to the Catholic Church at the time, hence the need for atonement. For more art, you can visit the Scuola del Santo to see Titian’s St Anthony, or head to the Baptistry to see Menabuoi’s fresco cycles.
In more recent history, Padua hosted many of Mussolini’s speeches, and its university was home to one of Italy’s secret resistance groups.
Even without knowledge of Padua’s history, all its visitors will greatly enjoy its canals and porticoed streets. Why not wander around the ghetto area, where you can find many antique and artisanal shops and boutiques? This is also the medieval center of the city, furnishing the district with quaint and charming streets at every turn. Padua also has daily markets in various locations. For example, head towards the Palazzo della Ragione or the Prato del Valle to peruse fresh food produce, and other locally-made products.
In the evenings, head towards the Piazza dei Signori. Here you will find a lively population that creates a welcoming, warm, and lively atmosphere. As the evening draws in and the drinks have been flowing for a while, the unassuming, joie-de-vivre heart of Padua truly comes to the fore.
The nearest airports to Padua are Venice and Treviso, from which you can get bus transfers. The train station is 15 minutes from the center, and provides taxi and tram transfers.