ART AND SCIENCE IN PADUA
Upon meeting your guide at the Padua train station, you will take a short stroll to the Scrovegni Chapel, which enshrines Giotto’s splendid frescoes (1303-1305), wonderfully restored and vibrating with light and color.
Nearby is the Eremitani Church, built at the turn of 13th century, with a wonderful wooden ceiling thanks to Fra’ Giovanni, and many monumental tombs.
Seriously damaged by bombs during World War II, it still preserves some frescoes by Guariento (14th century) and some early masterpieces by Andrea Mantegna (1448-1457) in the Ovetari Chapel.
We now enter a picturesque series of narrow medieval porticos that leads to the most famous squares of Padua: Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta.
Busy and lively with their open-air fruit and vegetable market, the two Piazzas are separated by Palazzo della Ragione (better known as ‘Il Salone’), a spectacular 13th century building decorated with religious and astrological subjects (1425-1440).
In the nearby Piazza dei Signori, we admire Palazzo del Capitanio (1599-1605), which incorporates the Torre dell’ Orologio with its astronomic clock dating from 1344. Beyond the clock is Piazza Capitaniato with 20th century architecture by Gio’ Ponti.
Palazzo Liviano, located within Piazza Capitaniato, incorporates the Sala dei Giganti with frescoes dating from the 16th century.
Continuing our walk, we reach Palazzo del Bo, the ancient university seat.
The complex of buildings, erected between 1542 and 1601, with some modern annexes, is still today the main seat of the University founded in 1222.
Particularly beautiful are the Mannerist loggias of the Old Courtyard.
Visiting the interior, we find the Room of the Forty with Galileo Galilei‘ s chair, the Aula Magna, and the famous all-wood Theatre of Anatomy by G. Fabrici d’ Acquapendente, the oldest in the world (1594).
Opposite the University is the bizarre neoclassic Caffe Pedrocchi, built by architect G. Jappelli in 1831, is the most celebrated café’ in town.
Not far is St. Anthony’s Basilica (Il Santo), an enormous Romanesque Gothic construction, with eight oriental domes vaguely inspired by St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.
- the Scrovegni Chapel, Giotto’s masterpiece
- Piazza dei Frutti, Piazza delle Erbe & Palazzo della Ragione
- Piazza dei Signori and Palazzo Bo – Padua University
- Caffè Pedrocchi
- St Anthony’s Basilica, also known as Il Santo
- Botanic Gardens
PADUA, CITY OF ART AND SCIENCE
Padua (the ancient Patavium, called Padova in Italian) was a flourishing commercial Roman town set in a strategic position on the Po River valley.
After a long period of decline during the barbarian invasions the city became one of Italy’s most important self-ruling communities between the 11th and the 14th centuries.
In 1222 a group of students and teachers from the oldest Italian university, Bologna, migrated to Padua, founding the second university in Italy, contemporaneously to the one in Paris.
Padua soon became a center of humanist research and was based on a spirit of academic freedom.
The construction of the Basilica of St. Anthony began around 1232, soon after the death of the Saint, and was carried on until 1301.
DRESS CODE AND ADVICE
- No shorts, no sleeveless shirts.
- Knee high skirts and short sleeves are ok!
- This tour lasts four hours and costs 385 euros, only private parties (up to six people)
- Museum fees per person are not included on the cost of the tour.