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Top Things To Do in Padua

von: Cityseeker
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From frescoed churches to its beautifully-preserved palazzos, this riverside city unfolds in northern Italy like a work of art. Renowned for its arcaded streets and sprawling squares, it has previously captured the imagination of famous playwrights such as Oscar Wilde and Shakespeare.


Cappella degli Scrovegni

This quaint chapel is one of the most important historic sites in the city, and is home to what is considered one of the masterpieces of Giotto- a complex series of frescoes which are a marvel to behold. The frescoes were completed in 1305. The name of the chapel is the surname of the man who commissioned Giotto. The chapel is equipped with modern instruments that make for interactive tours. Reservations in order to visit the chapel are recommended.

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Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua

This basilica, the most important of the city, has been dedicated to main saint of Padua, San Antonio. It was built 8 centuries ago and from then on, it became one of the most important spiritual places of the Christian world. Antonio chose Padua as his permanent home in the period in which he was travelling all over Italy. The church is owned by the Vatican and it houses the tongue of the saint, an important holy relic.

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Palazzo della Ragione

Together, with the Basilica di Sant'Antonio, Palazzo della Ragione is a symbol of the city. Built in 1288, it is called the Salone, or lounge, because of its large room with its wooden vaulted ceiling (destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries), making it the largest undivided hall in the world. The piazza and the bustling daily market are dominated by its loggia. It was a real layman's center in the city. Justice was carried out in the upper rooms, adorned with frescoes of astrological depictions (perhaps even by Giotto). If the sentence was serious, the accused would be taken to one of the local prisons. The building also houses a large wooden horse that Annibale Capodilista had made for a merry-go-round and then donated to the city. On the ground floor, traditional commercial activities took place, as they still do today.

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Prato della Valle

Prato della Valle is a square located in the city of Padova, Italy. Spread over a vast area of 90,000 meters (2,95,276 foot), the oval shaped square is the largest in the country. The square came into existence in the year 1635, when a temporary theater was built here. Thereafter, in the year 1775, the entire area was re-constructed to give the square it's current appearance. The square is beautifully designed with an island of grass in the center, surrounded by a ring of water. A total of 78 statues are placed at each side of the water ring. Today, the square forms an ideal meeting place with large number of people visiting the square to take a walk, skate or study. Festivals too are celebrated at the square.

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Musei Civici di Padova

Located in Piazza Hermits, the Museo Civico agli Eremitani is a museum complex, which houses a number of museums withing its premises. On the first floor lies the Museo d'Arte Medievale e Moderna with rich collections of glass, ceramic and decorative arts describing artifacts in Padua. On the next floor one can find the Museum Bottacin which has collections of old coins from Europe. The third floor houses a collection of antique weapons, storage spaces, paintings and medals from the 19th Century. The Museo Civico agli Eremitani also houses the Palazzo della Ragione, the Museum of the Risorgimento and the Health Pedrocchi. A great place to witness the tradition and culture of Italy and the Roman Empire, a visit to the Museo Civico agli Eremitani is surely an enriching experience.

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Orto Botanico

The Botanical gardens of Padua as has been created in 1545, is at the present the most antique in his genre, as a botanical garden managed by a University. The primarily purpose at that age was to grow there herbs in order to help the students of medicine to recognize the correct ones and the amount of species was around 1800. Thanks to the commercial connection wordlwide of the Republic of Venezia this number grew more and more and today the differente plants have been divided into 5 different enviroments: mediterranean, alpine, fresh water, succulent plants and tropical greenhouse. Has been declared an UNESCO site.

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Palazzo del Bo

Home to the university since the 16th Century, the building dates back to the same time, and was then renovated in the 20th Century. The best preserved area is the interior courtyard, with its porticoes decorated with coats of arms of the noble families, to which the students belonged. It housed the first anatomical theater in the world (1594) and the desk of Galileo Galilei, teacher of mathematics. Hours vary as per season.

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Palazzo Zuckermann

Palazzo Zuckermann is one of the most famous palaces in the city of Padua. It was built during the years 1912 and 1914, in an era which demanded a new urban planning of the city, in order to give the city a more monumental aspect. The name comes from the last name of the man who commissioned the structure, in a XIXth century style, with a liberty front, and it hosts in its courtyard the old walls of the city. Nowadays it is the seat of two museums: the Museo Bottacin and the Museum of Applied and Decorative Arts.

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Piazza dei Signori

One of the most prominent squares in Padua is Piazza dei Signori. Surrounded by medieval houses on all sides, this rectangular Piazza provides great insight into the Renaissance era architecture. However, the main attraction here is the clock tower, which can be called the crowning jewel of this famous square.

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MUSME

Within the old Hospital of San Francesco lies a unique museum, dedicated to medical science. Museum of the History of Medicine of Padua or MUSME in short, showcases through its exhibits the history of medical practices that were used back when the hospital was still functional. Highly informative, the exhibits are also closely linked to the University of Padua.

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