Lost and found in Padova
Originally we were heading for Vercelli - but then the train stopped in Padova and well, we decided we might as well visit it. At the train station - at the chocolate shop - while I was discussing "sweets" my travel partner decided to find out what was worth seeing. The answer we got was a park (Prato della Valle) and a church (San't Antonio) Thinking padova was easy to navigate we started looking for the park - and we found one: after taking several photos we discoered it was the local drug addicts' park - not the one we were looking for. Then we moved on to the church: my partner thought he saw it in the distance and started telling me wonderful stories about San't Antonio: he was obviously making it up as we walked, since the church turned out to be the Chiesa del Carmine - which is just one of the churches of Padova
Piazza dei Signori
During the day it is used as an big open market place and looks very ugly, therefore I suggest you to visit this place in the afternoon. The view at the eastern part of Piazza dei Signori where, right opposite to the Palazzo del Capitano and next to Palazzo della Ragione, stands this defending (?) tower.
When posting parcels overseas, a declaration of parcel contents must be completed. Bring your 'own' pen (none are provided), and a level surface on which to complete this form. Fill it in the best way possible, and hopefully the clerk will help finish the parts you didn't understand. The form is available from the postal clerk.
Post offices have security procedures much like a bank does. You will be directed to a glass door, which looks very much like a telephone booth, but you are 'NOT' to enter, you are only to place your parcels inside, close the door, at which point the clerk will activate a locking mechanism, sealing your side of the booth, and unlocking their side. The parcel is removed, weighed, and priced, and you will then be asked for your declaration of contents.
I found it cheaper to send Christmas parcels through Mail Boxes Etc., rather than Italian Post. However, I have been told that the price I was quoted by the clerk was incorrect, or, and I believe this to be very possible, I misunderstood what the amount was. Not speaking the language does have its disadvantages.
I found the clerk to be very helpful, very courteous, and very understanding. She saw I was a foreigner, and brought me to the front of the line, and served me while serving other customers. It was extremely busy, but she took the time...the Italian people are so genteel.
Carry plastic, not paper
We chose Cash Passport cards, also known as Visa TravelMoney cards, issued by our local CAA club, rather than carry cash. We didn't wish to use our credit cards (easier to negotiate prices with cash in Europe), and DEBIT cards were tied to our bank accounts, allowing us too easy access to funds we didn't wish to spend. Cash passport cards are prepaid, up to $15,000, and are accepted by all ATM machines. We felt that using a prepaid card would help to maintain our travel budget, plus we could access our balance online. We have used these cards exclusively for over eight months, and have never been denied funds anywhere in Italy. Check them out.....$3 CDN per transaction.
Also great for younger family members to carry, safer and not as scary as providing a credit card for 'emergency' use.
Villa Barbarigo - 30 minutes...
Villa Barbarigo - 30 minutes drive, south of Padova, among the Eugean Hills, and just north of Acqua Petrarca, there is a small village called Valsanzibio, where you can find an old villa, which has its beautiful gardens open to the public.... these include a labyrinth, an aviary, and many fountains. It costs 12,500 ITL, and you can walk round it in about 45 minutes