you know you are someone special in Padova when they erect a statue to you here !
Once this was a Roman amphitheatre, since 1775 it has been a wonderful piazza, the lagest in Europe, where a canal surrounds a grass oval crossed by paths,
around the canal stand 78 white marble statues of great people from Padovas history, from a distance it looks like a gathering of pale townspeople, close to the effect is stunning
now it is a place of fairs and special events, and it is used daily by the people of Padova as somewhere that children play, elderly people and footsore tourists sit and rest, and lovers meet
Padovans and their dogs come to Prato della Valle on weekends to relax and socialize. The 78 statues of famous Padovans appear to be carefully monitoring the " decadent " activities. Prato della Valle was established about 800 years ago, but the site has served as an entertainment venue since ancient Roman times.
In the background is the basilica di Santa Justina, which has dominated the piazza for more than 600 years. Shown in the photo are all 8 domes of the incredible basilica.
Notice the numerous trailers parked between the prato and the basilica. They did not belong to the saint seeking pilgrims. There was something resembling a large weekend flea market in full swing. Merchants sold everything from art antiques to junk to gelato ( ice cream ) from these trailers. Definately an added bonus for weekend visitors to Padova.
Prato della Valle near Basilica di Santo Antonio is said to be the largest public square in Italia. It owes its elliptical shape to the ancient Roman ampitheater that once occupied the site. The square is surrounded by a water filled moat. Access is by the bridge shown in the photo. Shown are a few of the 78 statues of famous Padovans adorn the periphery of the square. ( I cannot name any of them ). In the background on your left is a surviving piece of ancient roman Padova, the triumphal arch. It is about 1800 years older than Napolean's copy in Paris.
Prato della Valle is now the favorite gathering of locals & students at Padova's famous 800 year old university. Concerts, plays, political rallies, etc. are often held there. I enjoyed a good concert there that very evening. I was feeling pretty good when I caught the late night train to Venezia afterward. In my condition I was lucky to find my way to the train station.
'Prato della Valle' is a huge oval form square surrounded by the channel. There are many sculptures on the channel sides. These sculptures are representations of culture and art personalities. The third Sunday of every month there’s an open air market here
Once a roman theatre this vast square has become the traditional site for fairs and amusements. It is a large elliptical green island divided by four avenues corresponding to four bridges, surrounded by a canal along which stand 78 statues of famous men.
All around there are eighty-seven statues in white stone, even if in themselves they are not of great value as works of art.
In the middle of the square stands Isola (islet) Memmia e Zairo, right on the place where Roman theatre stood.
.....Thus the spacious and original square, the only one of its kind in the world for its 18th c. table centre shape, came into being.
Nowadays Prato della Valle is the favorite pedestrian area of the locals, and the place where many open air concerts and events take place.
The Prato della Valle market was the traditional place already in 1077, where the cattle market took place twice a month as well as the two great fairs in October and November in honour of the two Patron Saints, Giustina and Prosdocimus........
......The palio del Santo race, instituted by the Comune in 1257 to commemorate the liberation of Padua from the tyranny of Ezzelino
Besides, Prato was a favorite rendezvous of all the free men of Padua......
........In 1767, the Senate declared Prato to be public property and the Venetian Procurator Andrea Memmo undertook to reclaim it and provide for a completely new layout with the help of Domenico Cerato, the architect and engineer.......
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