Padua (Italian: Padova) is a city and commoon in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua stands on the Bacchiglione River. The Brenta River, which once ran through the city, still touches the northern districts. Its agricultural setting is the Venetian Plain (Pianura Veneta). To the city’s south west lies the Euganaean Hills, praised by Lucan and Martial, Petrarch, Ugo Foscolo, and Shelley.
It hosts the renowned University of Padua, almost 800 years old and famous, among other things, for having had Galileo Galilei among its lecturers.
What to see:
The Scrovegni Chapel (Italian: Cappella degli Scrovegni) is Padua’s most famous sight. It houses a remarkable cycle of frescoes completed in 1305 by Giotto. It was commissioned by Enrico degli Scrovegni as a private chapel once attached to his family’s palazzo. The fresco cycle details the life of the Virgin Mary and has been acknowledged by many to be one of the most important fresco cycles in the world.
PALAZZO DELLA RAGIONE
The Palazzo della Ragione, with its great hall on the upper floor, is reputed to have the largest roof unsupported by columns in Europe. The building stands upon arches, and the upper storey is surrounded by an open loggia. The Palazzo was begun in 1172 and finished in 1219. Beneath the great hall, there is a centuries-old market.
THE BASILICA OF SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA
The Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua is the most famous of the Paduan churches. The bones of the saint rest in a chapel richly ornamented with carved marbles, the work of various artists, among them Sansovino and Falconetto. The basilica was begun about the year 1230 and completed in the following century. Tradition says that the building was designed by Nicola Pisano. It is covered by seven cupolas, two of them pyramidal. There are also four beautiful cloisters to visit.
PRATO DELLA VALLE
One of the best known symbols of Padua is the Prato della Valle, a 90,000 m2 elliptical square. This is believed to be the biggest in Europe, after Place des Quinconces in Bordeaux. In the centre is a wide garden surrounded by a ditch, which is lined by 78 statues portraying famous citizens. It was created by Andrea Memmo in the late 18th century.