Padua in one day.
This time “City Guides” by STG, will bring you in the noble Italian town of Padua, full of history and of interesting places to see. Such a long history would deserve a longer visit, two or maybe more days but, as you should know, goal of these guides is providing you with a one-day visit plan and we are going to keep our promise once again.
Padua is located in the northern part of Italy in the region called Veneto and it is not far from Venice so, if you like, you can also have your basis here and go to visit Venice by train having this way some financial benefit since Padua is much cheaper than its most famous neighbour town. Even in this case don’t go to Venice without spending at least one day in Padua. Here we are going to show you how, with a complete itinerary.
In the list you will find some special icon. The icon marks my favourite place, represents a suggestion for a rainy day and points out a spot where you can go if you have some additional time to spend. The following itinerary can be integrated by my post about the visit I did in Padua as first step of my ’round the world trip.
One day itinerary (and some extra spots)
- A – Lodge and Odeo Cornaro
- B – St Anthony Basilica
- C – Prato della Valle
- D – Specola
- E – Cathedral
- F – Ragione’s Palace
- G – Piazza dei Frutti & Piazza delle Erbe
- H – Pedrocchi Café
- I – Eremitani’s Church
- J – Scrovegni’s Chapel
Our tour in Padua starts from this quite peculiar building. Cornaro name comes after Alvise Cornaro that financed this place and built it with the support of the architect Giovanni Maria Falconetto in 16th century. Odeo stands for Odeon, theatre, and actually this was a place for plays and music. There are beautiful frescos to see in this renaissance style complex and the ticket is not expensive. Visits are scheduled every half hour.
Padua is known as the town of the Saint and it is not even needed to add the name. Everybody knows they’re referring to St Anthony and of course we can’t miss the famous Basilica named after the saint born in Lisbon but world known as St Anthony from Padua. The church is impressive and has some spectacular chapel on the sides of the nave. Very important place of worship for all Catholics around the world is visited by millions of pilgrims every year. In the square there is the horse statue of Gattamelata made by Donatello.
We reach my favourite place in Padua with a short walk along via Belludi. Prato della Valle is a very large square of triangular shape with a elliptical island in the middle (Memmia island). It is said to be the widest square in Europe but it is always difficult to confirm such kind of assumption. It is surely huge and full of statues of noble and important people of Padua.
Specola, from the latin word specŭla meaning observatory, is one of the oldest astronomical observatory in Italy. It is located in one of the tower of old castle of Padua and nowadays is a museum that can be visited to see old instruments such as telescopes and tools used for forecasting the weather.
From the Specola, following the canal and then turning right on via San Gregorio Barbarigo we reach the square (Piazza Duomo) where are located the Cathedral of Padua and the Baptistery. The Cathedral with its white and quite plain interior is by far less imposing than the Basilica of St Anthony. Much more interesting is the nearby Baptistery with beautiful frescos by Giusto de’ Menabuoi telling about life of Jesus, Virgin Mary and St John Baptist.
The former city’s court, the Ragione’s Palace, is one of the symbol of Padua with its long open lodge located at the first floor and the shops you can find within. The great hall on the upper floor, known as Salone, it is allegedly the largest roof unsupported by columns in Europe being 81 meters long and 27 meters large. In the palace it can be found the so called “stone of reproach” where who wouldn’t be able to pay his debt was forced to beat his bottom three times.
These two large squares, separated by the above mentioned Palazzo della Ragione host one of the greatest market in Italy by several centuries. It is of course a very lively place. In the evening the market leaves place to cafe where you can sip the local Spritz.
It is one of the most famous café in Italy and in Europe, located in an historic building, it was opened in 1831. In addition to the café it hosts also a museum in the rooms located in the upper floor. It is interesting to know that Pedrocchi café was continuously open from its inauguration until 1916 and for this reason it is also known as the café without doors. This, together with Prato della Valle being without grass until end of 19th century and “Prato” in Italian means meadow and with St Anthony that, as we said here is known simply as “The Saint” without adding the name, makes of Padua the town of the three “without”.
We are now close to the end of our tour of Padua and we can take a look at the Eremitani’s church. Built in XIII century was almost completely destroyed during War World II and rebuilt afterward. Two original frescos of Andrea Mantegna are still visible.
We end up our tour with the beautiful Scrovegni’s chapel named after the banker that decide to build it to wash away his sins (he was also an usurer). The chapel is world famous because is the most complete serie of frescos painted by Giotto. Only a limited amount of people can enter to visit it: 25 person every half hour. The good news is that usually it is possible to come even in the evening. In any case, book in advance online on this site. The chapel is absolutely astounding and the small amount of visitors makes the visit a pleasure.