Arriving in Padova, (or pre-visit on line) get yourself this valuable card!
For 14 Euros (2007) It entitles you to free, or reduced admission to the many attractions of Padova and its surrounding areas. Plus free travel on public APS buses and free car parking for 48 hours (or the whole weekend if purchased on a Friday)
Discounted boat trips on the Brenta Canal and entrance to some of the Villas are also included
A useful booklet comes with the ticket, that lists all the attractions that the card covers.
Each card is valid for 1 adult and 1 child under 12.
Often I find that 'discount cards' aren't really value for money, but this was well worth buying
I purchased mine from the Tourist Info (TI) office opposite St Anthonys Basillica.
You can also buy it from the TI office at the train station or Galleria Pedrocchi.
I booked my ticket for the Scroveni chapel at the same time. This is included in the card price - I just had to pay an extra £1 booking fee.
I also bought a ticket for the Padova City sightseeing bus, for 6 euros instead of 12 euros which is normally valid for 24 hours, but with the Padova card it was extended to 48 hours use!
As my accommodation was out of the city centre, I used my card quite a bit on the bus.
Without this card a bus ticket valid for 75 minutes was 1 euro.
I also used it for free entry to the Palazzo della Ragione and The Caffe Pedrocchi.
I had hoped to visit The Botanical Gardens and The Observatory, which are also included on the card, but I ran out of time.
Be aware when planning Your visit to Padova that many of the museums etc close on a Monday
The Basilica of St Anthony is the main sight to see in Padova - in fact a place of pilgrimage for some. Its construction began immediately after the death of the Santo (1231) and completed at the beginning of the following century. This imposing basilica with its Romanesque-Gothic style, with eight domes and spires of eastern inspiration holds the body of St. Anthony and is the object of pilgrimages from all over the world.
If you like astronomy you cant miss this!!! The original building was the tower of a Padova castles started on the 1200. In the 1700 the Venetian republic decided to give to the Padova's university a astronomic observatory and they used the old tower to buikd it saving some money!!
Lately the old observatory have been restored and turned in a museum. The visit cost 5 euros and they will show you old instruments and you will know the story of this old building. Lots of people believe that Galileo Galilei worked here, but he taught in Padova university many years before this place was converted in a observatory so this is a metropolitan legend he he, but this place is still very interesting :-)
Even if you are not so interested in astronomy, well, the view from the top of the tower worth the visit itself!!!
Padova is a city of water, many canals surround the center giving you nice and peaceful views. Some of them can be sailed and there is organized tour starting from the center and going along the old walls or in Venice direction, sailing along the Brenta Riviera, where many important Venetians villas are.
Check the website for much more information.
The church of San Nicolo dates back to 1088, and its medieval appearance is almost unaltered. However, in the 14th century the height of the church was increased, as it can be noticed by the ogival vaulting in the nave. At the same time a fourth aisle was added on the south side in order to widen the building proportionately. San Nicolo was a basilica with the typical nave and two aisles. Since it is standing in the most aristocratic area of medieval Padova, San Nicolo is very rich with nobile chapels, altars and burial monuments of famous families, such as Transalgardi, Forzate and others.
Every year, Sacro Cuore (our neighbourhood) has a Sagra, which combines a feast with amusement rides, and proceeds of the profits go towards Parish Projects. This year Ma Kettle and I attended with our adoptive daughter Paola, commonly known as 'paoseo' within our VT community.
This is a fairly big deal, with lots of amusement stands, rides for all ages, and great food. There is no charge for admittance, and the Sagra is a popular venue attended every year by our neighbours, their friends, and people from outlying areas. In fact, I heard last night, our neighbourhood has a population of only 6000 people, but the average number of meals served during the five day festival numbers over 40,000. This is a tremendous turnout for an event like this.
To order your meals, you first complete an order form from the large menu board on the wall, and join the line to pay. Now, understand, this is Italy, and Italians don't really understand the concept of waiting in line. There is a lot of cutting in, but it is done in a very polite and orderly fashion. The Italians have this practice down to an art, and tourists don't stand a chance. Don't take it personally, it is a time honoured tradition.
For two complete meals, including roast chicken, gnocchi, fries (very popular) and a litre of wine, we paid 20 euro. Not bad for an evening out. You then find a bench somewhere within the huge tented dining area, and in time one of the volunteer staff will collect your receipt. It is your responsibility to get your own beverages from the bar area, while the staff places your food order.
Great fun, lots of visiting back and forth, and a general feeling of togetherness which we find so common in Italy. Expect to be jostled a tad during dinner as newcomers might request your party move down in order to accomodate others.
Just kidding, buy a map at a newstand, but don't expect it to help you once you're in the Center. Best way to explore, find an intersection, mark it on your map in highliter pen, and radiate outwards.
It doesn't work for me, but my wife swears by the method. I, on the other hand, get lost in an elevator. (actually as I walk out of an elevator, I always go the wrong way)
Padova has lots to see in the center, open air markets, countless shops, the university (second oldest in Italy), but remember, shops close between 12:30-3:30 or 1:00-4:00 for lunch. Have fun wandering.
There Salon has a ornate loggia on the outside and is adorned with beautiful frescoes - of astrological and religious subjects. Unfortunatly they are not the originals, which were attributed to Giotto and to his school, as they were destroyed in a fire in 1420 . The "newer" ones are by Nicolo' Miretto and Stefano da Ferrara (1425-1440).
Although this tip doesn't deal with the monuments tourists usually visit in Padova (Sant'Antonio, Piazza delle Erbe, and so on), I really think it is a must not only for tourists.
Memoria e luce ("Memory and light" because it can be illuminated) represents an open book like the one that the Statue of Liberty holds in her hand and is the only European monument to the victims of the 11th September 2001 terror attacks in New York. It celebrates in particular the numerous firemen who died while trying to save other people. The New York firemen gave a beam of the World Trade Center as a gift to the Region of Veneto.
The model of the monument by Daniel Libeskind, which was selected among many proposals, was exhibited in the hall of the Padova railway station in 2006, but no more now. Its base reported the poem written in the book of the Statue of Liberty. You are lucky that I took a photo of it, so you can still see it (fourth and fifth photos of this tip)!
Thank you Veneto and Padova for honouring my country once more! God bless America!
Close to the Giotto's masterpiece Cappella degli Scrovegni, in Padova there is another church that worth a visit. You can find it walking out of the garden where the Cappella is and turning left.
The Chiesa degli Eremitani during the Second World War was blowed out by some bombs, so dont expect much decoration in it as the frescos in the left part of the church have been totally destroyed, but in the right, oh, i can tell you thay what you can see there worth the visit!!
Mantegna painted the right Cappella inside the church, called Cappella degli Ovetari and his frescos have been showed in a important art exhibition some years ago.
If when you will go there the Cappella will be still closed for restoring work, try to find the caretaker, I did, and he was wery nice and, when i told him i was so sad i cant see well the frescos because the scaffolding, he opened the gate and took me inside the chapel to see better!!
Saint Anthony died in 1220 at middle age, but by then he was renowed for his faithful and untiring preaching of the faith. he was cannonized and Franciiscan Friars began construction of a larger church to commemorate the saint. That was 1231, and it took 60 years to complete the basilica, that holds the tomb of Saint Anthony. The coffin was opened in 1981 to determine the condition of the body. It is said his tongue was still in good condition. This saint has led millions of pilgrams to the church through the years. The overall complex is unbelievablly huge, and holds many special sites. There are sculptures done by Donatello, the treasury Chapel has marble statues, there is s dioceasan type museum in the back that shows the sacred jewelry and other reverant items and paintings of devotion commemorating the deceased tradgedies, and a media show and museum section on St. Anthony
The adjacent Oratorio di S. Giorgio and Scuola del Santo are equally important treasures to see the interiors. The fantastic ceiling frescoe done by Altichiero da Zevio in mid 1300's is one that you can stare at for an hour and stake in the beauty and meaning.
The basilica is open daily 6:30 to 8:00PM and free. The oratorio, schuloa and museo are open 9-12 and 14-1800To access other areas, a charge of 3 or 4 Euro is made. Or you can get a Padova card and use for many museums and churches for 14 Euro.
This at one time was a Roman colleseum. It was torn down, but the 14th-18th century buildings surrounding the center remained. There are 78 statues of famous people of the town over the centuries, on both side of a circular canal, and four bridges cross over the water to what is called l'isola Memmia. It is stated to be the largest square in Europe ant 90,000 SQ meteres. In 1775 Procurator of Venice, Andrea Memmo started the reclamantion of what was mostly a swamp area. This is when they found the old Roman amphitheatre while putting in water piping. He had Domenico Cerato design the structure of the garden. With influencial manipulation, the statues were designed and money funded the private project. The park inspired Prato residents who wre proud of the park and frequented it. After a decline in the 1990's, the larger trees were replaced by smaller ones to allow a more open feeling.
The frescoes surrounding the huge complex was first painted by Giotto in 1315-17, then destroyed in a fire in 1402 and repainted by Miretto and Stefano over 15 years. Then again, a hurricane tore off the roof in 1756, damaging the frescoes, but restored from 1762-70 by Zannoni. The roof was not replaced in simliar dcor, and is now a leather covered over 116 valut ribs of wooden beams.
The large wooden horse, probably 20 feet in height, was first donated to Ragione in 1837 by CApodilista family. It is said to have been built for a joust in 1466, done by Rinaldi to replicate the GAttemelata horse at Piazza SAnto, done by him.
The frescoes are of astrological cycles and zodiac symbols, divided into 12 parts for each month of the year. it is incredible to imagine all the work that has gone into continually preserving these frescoes in order to present in current day.
This was constructed to house the administrative functions of the city, or it was a municipal building. It is called Palace of Justice, of Il SaloneConstruction began in 1172 and completed in 1218. It had been separted into three sections, but after a fire of 1420 that gutted the inside, the walls were torn down. What now exists is one huge hall the is about 270 feet long and 100 feet wide, and the roof is all wood from the original days and 75 feet high. There are 333 fresoces from 1425-40 done by Meretti and Ferrara, when they were replacing the Giotto first works of 1310. The theme is of medieval astrological cycle, and is a great site to see all the detail and symbolism. The cavello ligneo/wooden horse is about 15 feet in height and constructed in 1466 to emulate Donatello famed horse that is in front of Saint Anthony Basilica.
Open times are 9-7 daily except Monday when closed. Entry is 8 Euro, but a Padova card for 15 Euro allows entry along with many other sites in the city. We were charged another 3 Euro to Ragione, maybe because of special exhibit that day, but did not seem like that was case.
There are several well preserved medieval gates in Padua which were a part of the town's fortifications: Savonarola Gate, S. Giovanni Gate, Portello Gate, Pontecorvo Gate, don't miss them when strolling around.
Porta Molino and the bridge of the same name are situated in the northern part of the town, very close to basilica del Carmine.
The Galileo is a modern hotel that was built in 1907 next to the Padua University's sprawling...more
We picked this hotel because it looked pretty decent and was a 10 minute walk from the train station...more
The hotel is just in front of the basilica of Saint Anthony and quite near to the station. The rooms...more