Pad ova is a quick 30-minute train ride west of Venice in the heart of Veneto. Legend tells that Padova is the oldest city in northern Italy. A tradition dating to the time of Virgil states that Padova was founded in the 12th century BCE. More recent tests date the foundation of the town center to the 11th century BCE. It is indisputable that Padova was the home of Galileo, where he lectured at the local university, Universita degli Studi di Padova. Dante, Petrarch, Giotto, Donatello, Mantegna all worked there. And Padova is also the setting for most of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.
Like all proper ancient cultural hubs, Padova has its share of monumental (often religious) art and architecture. The Basilica of St. Anthony, known locally simply as “The Saint,” is one of the most remarkably buildings in Italy. Constructed in 1310, the eight-domed basilica combines architectural elements of Byzantine, Romanesque, and Gothic styles.
Commissioned in 1303, the Scrovegni Chapel offers frescoes by Dante’s favorite artist, Giotto, illustrating the lives of Mary and Jesus and the story of the Passion.
The Prato della Valle is the largest town square in Italy and one of its most delightful. On either side of the statue-lined (78 famous locals) canal are markets for strolling. Continue through what used to be the Jewish ghetto.
The hotel Conte Emo Capodilista just a few minutes from the city is a place of tremendous promise.