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"Venezia è bella e Padova sua sorella"
Let's discover the Veneto region with another beautiful city, Padua. Padua is really beautiful with these pedestrian streets that take you to these huge squares framed by buildings just as majestic. I spent some time here since, before I moved to Dublin, I went to university in this very city. Padua is a young city thanks to the many universities; for this reason during the school period, say from September to late June, the city is very lively and energetic while in August the city is empty to all students and seems almost deserted (in reality is only less chaotic).
I don’t know if you know but Padua is also famous for these two reasons:
7 Things to do in Padova Italy
1. Cappella Degli Scrovegni
One of the top attractions of Padova is the Cappella Degli Scrovegni. The Cappella was built around 1303 by the Scrovegni family, seems that was built by the son Enrico Scrovegni to repair the sin of father's wear, indeed also Dante put Rinaldo Scrovegni into the hell circle in his famous La Divina Commedia.
The chapel is well known for the amazing frescoes of Giotto, he worked to create this for 625 days and the result that we can admire today is surprising. In 1881 the municipality of Padova bought the chapel and after a lot of years of study in 2001 started the restoration of the Giotto fresco and some other parts of the Chapel.
Curiosity? The Chapel was built with a particular light game, for example, in the Christmas period a light arrives from outside to enlighten the paint of the Nativity or at the 8th December for the Immacolata, the light crosses the room to enlighten the Madonna to which the chapel is dedicated to.
2. Caffe Pedrocchi
Moving on from Cappella Degli Scrovegni onto the principal pedestrian street of the city we can find Caffe Pedrocchi. Caffe Pedrocchi was Inaugurated in 1831 and wanted from Antonio Pedrocchi, it was and still is the symbol of the rich Padova. Mr Pedrocchi wanted this cafe to be something new, in the city centre and close to the university, soon it became a place for intellectual and literal people and an important place to organize the parties, work meetings, dancings and a reference point for all the Padovani.
3. Piazza Delle Erbe and Della Frutta
We continue on the same road that in the meantime became even narrower until we appear in the big squares and reach Piazza Delle Erbe and Della Frutta. These two are the most popular squares in Padua, they are close to each other and are separated only by the Palace of the Region and by beautiful arcades with shops and boutiques. The squares have always been famous for trade, indeed in history, this was the place where the merchant came to sell his products and goods, even today the squares are famous for the same reasons, in fact in this square you can find the largest market of clothing, vegetables, fruit... in Italy. In the middle of the squares, there is the Palace of the Region while all around the municipal office and the Ancient Tower. The squares are really beautiful just for a walk especially during the market as they are filled with people and everyday chaos. Highly recommended is a bar under the porches for their incredible Tramezzini.
Curiosity? When you pass by the square Fruit under the porch you can see two arches with the missing column between them, Legend says that the people of Vicenza steal the column. In fact, it seems that it was removed to allow circulation with goods more easily.
4. Palazzo Della Regione
Located in the center of Piazza Delle Erbe and Della Frutta we find the Palazzo Della Regione. The palace was built around 1218 and with its masterful size, became a symbol of Padua. Today it is the office of the Region and a place to visit; inside huge rooms with paintings and frescoes that will enchant you. Originally the decorations were made by Giotto, but a fire destroyed most of them in 1420 so the palace was re-restored and decorated with an astrological theme that we can find in every room today.
5. Piazza dei Signori
Not too far from the other squares, there is Piazza dei Signori. Piazza dei Signori is the most famous square in Padua, it was built around the fourteenth century after demolishing an old district. In the past, this was the square used to celebrate the greatness and wealth of Padua with tournaments and city representations. The square consists of a huge open space usually full of tables bars, restaurants and people who drink spritz; in one of the buildings present in the square, there is the clock tower with all the signs of the zodiac, In the past, it was the entrance door of the Reggia di Carraresi and in 1428 it also became a clock.
6. Prato Della Valle
We return to the pedestrian street and go to the end of it passing through restaurants, bars, taverns and shops until we reach Prato Della Valle. Prato Della Valle is the most famous and well-known monument in Padua and is also the second-largest square in Europe. Today the area around and the Prato Della Valle itself is a very nice place to spend some time in peace but it was not as nice as now in the past; it was called "Valley", and is still used because of the conformation of the soil that was very marshy until it takes on the look of a "Valley". Today it is used for events, especially in summer as concerts or even just as a meeting place; in the past, the square was used for many things that depended on the historical period, it was used as a theatre by the Romans later for fighting, medieval rides and as an animal market. Take a walk around the square and look at all 77 statues of Popes, Doges and illustrated characters, and of course, stop at a bar for a spritz view of Prato Della Valle, it is a must.
7. Basilica di Sant' Antonio
Last but not least is the famous Basilica of San Antonio. The Basilica of San Antonio is a world-famous symbol for the citizens of Padua and in particular for the pilgrims. The Roman Catholic church was built around 1232 after the death of Saint Anthony, it is a huge church full of pieces of architecture and history. Sant’ Antonio was not born in Padua but spent a lot of time in the city; in fact, here we can also find the tomb of the Santo. Being a saint known everywhere this is an ideal place for pilgrims who decide to pray on his tomb.
What do you think about Padova? Have you ever been to this city?
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