Padova in Less Than 12 Hours

Padova (or Padua, if you prefer), was once opulent and beautiful city. Like the late Elisabeth Taylor on her last years—once stunningly beautiful but now with evident signs of age. However worth visiting. 

In fact I just came back from a visit in Padua. Despite the rainy day I was able to visit the must see places.

Scrovegni Chapel

This is one of Padua pride. (Click here for more). This chapel contains a fresco cycle by Giotto, completed about 1305 and considered to be an important masterpiece of Western art. Visits are strictly regulated, and reservations should be made via internet.

Click here for reservations. 

The fresco cycle consists of an incredible color palette. Giotto’s famous intense ultramarine starry-sky-painted barrel-vaulted ceiling decorate the chapel.  While the frescoes are filled with Old and New Testament narrative, the Last Judgment covers an entire wall just above what once was the main portal to the chapel. 

Images of Christ, the Gospels and Prophets appear as innumerable portholes – through which the viewer peers at awe-inspiring glimpses of life from the Bible. Intriguing are the recesses containing the 7 Virtues and Vices.


Giotto completed this masterpiece as a fairly young man: at just under forty years of age, he realized a fresco cycle so groundbreaking that it is the only work in the world that can be considered to rest in the company of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel in Rome.

To further embellish the interior, Scrovegni entrusted the realization of three altar statues to Giovanni Pisano; the marble works depict the Virgin and Child between two deacons. 

Piazza delle Erbe, Piazza dei Signori, Duomo e Battistero 

Although I didn’t stop there in this occasion, these three places deserve a stop. 

Prato della Valle

Walking through Via Roma and then via Umberto I, we arrive in Prato della Valle (Lawn of the Valley). A large esplanade—90,000-square-meter elliptical piazza. It is the largest piazza in Italy, and one of the largest in Europe.  This large space with a green island at the center, is surrounded by a small canal bordered by two rings of statues.

St. Giustina Basilica

This extraordinarily fascinating Basilica for its lateral and asymmetrical position in relation to the Prato della Valle, was founded around the 5th century on a burial site in memory of the martyr Justina.

The interior, vast and luminous, a masterpiece of the Renaissance architecture, it is Latin cross and is divided by large pillars in three Naves.

St. Anthony Basilica

A short walk away there is the star-Saint and Patron if the city. St. Anthony. So famous that it is simply called “The Saint”.  This Basilica is visited as a place of pilgrimage by people from all over the world. Sant’Antonio Basilica is a giant edifice without a precise architectural style. Over the centuries, it has grown under a variety of different influences. The interior of the church contains numerous funerary monuments, some of noteworthy artistic value. 

Caffè Pedrocchi 

As I wrote here Pedrocchi Caffè is the city “Gran Caffè” with a great history and tradition, founded in the 18th century, it has architectural prominence because its rooms were decorated in diverse styles, arranged in an eclectic ensemble by the architect Giuseppe Jappelli.

The café has historical prominence because of its role in the 1848 riots against the Habsburg monarchy, as well as for being an attraction for artists over the last century from the French novelist Stendhal to Lord Byron. 

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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

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