Padua, a city in close proximity to the Queen of the Adriatic, Venice, appears to live in the shadow of its more “popular” neighbor.
During our weekend escape to Padua, we discovered a charming city that boasts of a renowned university (dating back to 1222) whose alumni and professors list includes Galileo Galilei, Copernicus and William Harvey. The world’s first university botanical garden finds its home here, and features in the UNESCO heritage list. Many pilgrims visit the beautiful basilica of St. Anthony of Padua. A large part of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew is based in this city.
Here’s what we loved about Padua:
B’s favorite pick would, most certainly, be the basilica of St. Anthony of Padua, also known as Il Santo.
We walked through porticoes in the streets to reach the shrine and admire its tranquil interior. The cupolas of this basilica adorn the skyline of Padua and make for beautiful postcard images. The statue of a horse and its rider in the square outside is one of Donatello’s creations.
Junior would undoubtedly choose the Botanical Garden.
From delicate flowering plants to fascinating carnivorous ones, the Botanical Garden of Padua is home to a vast collection. Here, we spotted the alpine Himalayan Cedar, peered (not too closely) at the poisonous plants and examined the rare species. Take a break at the Fountain of the Four Seasons, enjoy a walk up the little hillock in the garden, marvel at nature.
I thoroughly enjoyed our relaxed walks in the city
Padua is best explored on foot. Ambling along the little canals, admiring the pretty bridges, pausing for a gelato in the lively piazzas… we were in no hurry! 🙂
The Prato della Valle had everyone’s vote!
After a long day of sightseeing, the Prato della Valle was a perfect location to just sit back and relax. This vast green expanse surrounded by a canal lined with statues is popular with visitors. Play a game of football, bask in the sun, read a book or take a leisurely stroll in this large square. If time permits, you could visit the beautiful Basilica of Santa Giustina nearby.
On our next visit, we would probably see Giotto’s frescoes at the Scrovegni Chapel and Mantegna’s work in the Eremitani church.