Thursday, March 31, 2011

Padua: Founded by a mythical Trojan, Immortalized by Shakespeare & Home to the “Saint of Miracles”

Founded by a mythical Trojan, Immortalized by Shakespeare and home to the “Saint of Miracles,” Padua is set amongst the shadows of Venice, in the historic Euganaean Hills. Boasting a picturesque network of arcaded streets, numerous bridges and large communal piazzas Padua is home to one of the oldest universities in Europe.

A good starting point for an exploration of Padua is the immense elliptical piazza and public garden, the Prato della Valle, one of the biggest such areas in Europe. The large garden at its center is surrounded by a moat, whose interior circumference is lined with 78 statues of Padua's most famous early citizens. The area is still much-used for concerts - and loud political demonstrations, both of which are regular events in Padua.

Another garden of interest is the Botanical Garden of Padova. Created in 1545 on the property of the Benedictine monks of St. Justine, the Botanical Garden of Padova is the oldest existing university botanical garden in the world and still contains an important collection of rare plants. The garden, affiliated with the University of Padua, currently covers roughly 22,000 square meters, and is known for its special collections and historical design.

The University of Padua was founded in, making it one of the oldest universities in continuous operation. Among the host of famous faculty and alumni to grace the university, Galileo taught in Padua from 1592 to 1610. The university is also famous for its anatomical theater, which is the oldest surviving permanent anatomical theater in Europe.

The most famous attraction in Padua, is St. Anthony’s Basilica. St. Anthony is known as the “Saint of Miracles” and for helping find lost items. The Basilica is guarded by Donatello’s “Gattamelata”. The largely Romanesque exterior features seven cupolas, two of which are pyramidal. The interior contains gorgeous 15th century marble carvings by artists such as Falconetto and Sansovino and bronze relief work at the altar by Donatello.

Less than 25 miles from Venice, Padua often offers a less expensive vacation for those interested in day-tripping to Venice. With several historic and cultural attractions, the oldest Botanic gardens in the world and a host of good restaurants, trattorias and cafes Padua provides a good base for Northern Italy holidays. It is also a featured stop on Celtic Tours Treasures of Italy tour.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If I could live anywhere in the world, it would be Padua. I lived there once and always wish I could turn back time.

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