Padua is one of the most ancient towns of Italy (it’s more than 3000 years old!) but still manages to be modern, integrating past with present.
Virgil writes about Padua’s foundation, following a legend: this town was founded by Antenore, a Troy’s inhabitant, who managed to run away from the invasion of the greeks. You can find what it’s said to be his tomb in Piazza Antenore.
Some recent studies (not yet fully established) believe they have discovered, however, that the sarcophagus funerary preserve the remains of the young Jacopo Ortis, inspirational the famous italian writer Ugo Foscolo.
Padua is mainly medieval, and it’s famous for the people who lived in it: Giotto, Petrarch, Macchiavelli, Titian, Casanova, Galileo, Mozart, and many others.
Padua is also known for its “without(s)” :
Cappella degli Scrovegni; it’s a small church in Corso Garibaldi which hosts Giotto’s frescos. It’s built near an ancient roman arena.
The church is open all year round from 9:00 to 19:00 (except on mondays, Christmas, S. Stephen, and New Year’s).
Booking is mandatory: you have to book at least 24 hours before going. The ticket you get allows you to visit the nearby museum (“Musei Civici”) as well.
To the lovers and fans of the frescoes of the ‘300, next to Cappella degli Scrovegni you can find Eremitani’s Church, which hosts Mantegna’s frescos. The same paintings were shown at a realistic dimension after years of restoration because of the bombing in World War II.
Schedules visit: 8: 00/12: 30-16: 00/19: 00
Saturday and Sunday 9: 00/12: 45 to 16: 00/19: 00
Proceed in the medieval heart of the city, the old town is dominated by Palazzo della Ragione, which was built during the Dark Ages and was used as a courthouse. On the first floor , one of the largest hall in the world, you can find frescos representing the allegories of months, zodiac signs, planets, stars, and jobs.
Characteristic is its ceiling , such as the keel of a vessel,with an impressive work of architecture at the time. Inside are the giant wooden horse, a copy of Gattamelata bronze exposed in Piazza del Santo, and in the northeast corner the “stone of shame”, placed in 1231, it is said, at the request of St. Anthony and used which sedan for insolvent debtors.
According to the statutes of 1261, the insolvent debtor in shirt and pants (hence the expression “under equipped” to indicate who had lost their belongings) you had to sit three times, saying the phrase “Do bonis”. Expelled from the city, if it recurred and I was caught, he was again subjected to this procedure, with the ‘addition of the overthrow of three buckets of water on their heads.
Step down from one the four stairway, ( called “Osei”, “Ferri”, “Vino”, “Erbe”), on the ground floor you can see the main market or the two squares, Piazza della Frutta and Piazza delle Erbe: the two are linked by a small path, “Il Volto della Corda”; in this path, during the Middle Ages, liars and debtors were hung by their back for days and days. This path is also called “Canton dee busie” (the corner of the lies) because merchants used to propose dishonest deals to customers: you can still see the old measurements written on the walls in order to prevent this.
Reggia dei Carraresi and Palazzo del Consiglio (called the Gran Guardia where he met the Great Council Citizen) , can be found in Piazza dei Signori. In this square you can also find “Torre dell’Orologio”, installed by Dondi in 1344, , the first clock in Padua that tells us the time, the date, lunar phases, and the zodiac.
You can visit this building on Friday and Saturday, from 10 am to 11:30 am (you can visit it on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday as well, but you’ll have to book. Maximum 10 people.)Friday and Saturday, Wednesday by appointment for groups on +39 049 8561212
Nearby Piazza dei Signori you can find the Dome: this church was built on older churches, dating from 300 AD6., rebuilt several times, it was consecrated in 1075 with the transfer of the body of San Daniele. The project of the church, made between 1500 and the building we see nowadays was built by Andrea da Valle with the help of Michelangelo.
Next to the dome you can find “Battistero di San Giovanni Battista”, that hosts many frescos representing biblical themes. The paintings portray stories of : Genesis, Revelation and of the historical character John the Baptist; a real gem among the examples more well-know frescoes of ‘300.
Open daily from 10:00 to 18:00
For information: +39 049 656914.
You can also visit the jewish Ghetto, a labyrinth of narrow streets,operating since 1603 and abolished in 1797. This place was closed during the night and each of the four doors that protect it were guarded by a jew and a christian. In this Ghetto you can find two synagogues ,the first great Synagogue of Padua with German rite, and many shops in its characteristic tall buildings; you’ll mainly see wine shops, jewelry, florists, shoemakers, arte workshops, and bars. But its beauty today is also that give you the opportunity to take a walk in a timeless dimension and fully enjoy the enchanting atmosphere in its narrow streets. Especially during the day, young and old come together to drink “goto” (a glass of wine) and do the “quattro ciacoe” (a chat).
From the Ghetto you walking until you admire Palazzo Moroni (the town hall of the Renaissance period) and Palazzo Bò ,are the most important buildings in Padua: Palazzo Bò is the oldest university in the whole world, excluding Bologna’s. It ‘s the only university in the world to have the name of an animal: the bò (the ox), whose name derives from’ ‘Hotel of the Ox “that stood here before hosting the headquarters of the law schools in 1222 and had as taught just an Ox. There are many famous personalities who have been here : Leon Battista Alberti, and Galileo Galilei, Copernicus and Elena Lucrezia Corner (the first woman graduate in the world) and many other luminaries. There are two major legacy of 800 years of culture: The Anatomical Theatre and the Chair of Galileo Galilei in the “Hall Of Forty”.
Visiting hours: 9:00 – 14: 30/15: 00 – 19:00
Closed Sundays. You can visit this palace everyday (sundays excluded)