Who better to discover Padova with than Alberto Botton, a local blogger who, for the last 10 years has dedicated his blog to the city of Padova and everything it has to offer.
Communication is the most important part of any relationship, through my blog I’ve been able to grow my love for Padova and deepen my understanding. Many tourists are amazed to discover the beauty of Padova’s historic center and its rich cultural heritage. The ancient history of the city, the golden age of the Carraresi family rule in the fourteenth century, the subsequent influence of the Republic of Venice, the presence of one of the oldest European universities have brought an extraordinary artistic and cultural heritage to the city. The liveliness of Padova comes from its University which has attracted students from all over Italy for centuries and breathes a sense of vibrancy into the streets, markets and squares of the city center.
Padova deserves to be visited slowly because it genuinely has a lot to discover. I look forward to showing you the amazing art culture and cuisine of my beautiful city.
For visitors who love art it is a must to visit the Scrovegni Chapel with it’s extraordinary series of frescoes by Giotto, one of the masters of the art world. Giotto’s art was so groundbreaking that it influenced the work of many successive artists, of which you can find many examples of throughout Padova. In fact fresco’s are so prolific throughout the city that Padova is a candidate to become a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its fourteenth-century frescoes. Another stop in the city to visit the beautiful frescos is undoubtedly the Padova Baptistery which features a series of frescoes by artist Giusto de Menabuoi.
Not only is Padova the city of art but it is also the city of science. One of the city’s most famous inhabitants was the master of modern science Galileo Galilei who taught in Padova for 18 years. Both Giotto’s artistic revolution and Galileo’s scientific revolution have allowed Padova’s University to become one of the most important universities in Italy which continues to attract students and scientists from all over the world
For families, including children visiting our city, I would certainly recommend two museums opened in recent years designed as educational spaces. The museums are the MuSMe, which is the Museum of the History of Medicine, and the Biodiversity Garden. The Biodiversity Garden is a technologically advanced greenhouse which is over 100 meters long and 18 meters high that houses plants from around from a variety of climates The Biodiversity Garden is part of the Padova’s Botanical Garden which is the oldest university botanical garden in the world, having been founded in 1545 and is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Botanical Garden of Padova is located near the Basilica of Saint Anthony and Prato della Valle, which is one of the largest squares in Europe.
Padova is a walled city whose walls complete with gates and ramparts, were built in the 16th century by the government of the Republic of Venice, which ruled over the city at the time. Although the walls are no longer completely intact, there remains nearly 11 km of wall remains still standing and represents one of the city’s most impressive historical monuments.
Padova was also previously a city which had many waterways and canals that ran through, however, in an effort to modernize and expand the city, much of the waterways were filled during a period between the early 1900s until the 1960s. Around the city, you can see some of the remaining waterways especially along the ancient Piovego canal, where visitors can take a tour on a gondola.
Moreover, the Piovego canal, near the popular village of Portello, is also the starting point for romantic daily mini-cruises from Padova to Venice to discover the Venetian villas of the Riviera del Brenta. The cruise is on board a boat called a Burchiello, which was the ancient boat used by Venetian nobles when they traveled.
If you are running out of energy in the streets of the city, know that in Padova there is certainly no lack of street food. I suggest a stop at “Zita”, a tiny local restaurants near the historic Caffè Pedrocchi where you can choose from over 200 different kinds of sandwiches, all delicious and with quality ingredients. In the late afternoon, I suggest a stop at the Folperia, the fish kiosk in Piazza dei Frutti, in the shadow of Palazzo della Ragione. Padova is not a seaside city, but the historical influence of nearby Venice is noticeable in the typical seafood dishes of the city. At the Folperia you can taste a “folpetto” which is made from octopus caught in the Venetian lagoon and in the northern Adriatic paired with a glass of wine the nearby historic Bar Degli Osei.
Photos: Alberto Botton / Consorzio Abano Montegrotto