Cultural Landmarks

In the Paduan tradition, St. Anthony is ‘the Saint’ par excellence, for he is the patron saint of the city. The Basilica is visited every year by millions of pilgrims from all over the world. It contains masterpieces by Donatello, Altichiero da Zevio (in the Oratory of St. George nearby) and Titian (in the Scuola del Santo). St. Anthony’s Day is celebrated on June 13.

Winter opening times
6.20 am – 7 pm
Summer opening times
6.20 am – 7.45 pm

Caffè Pedrocchi was completed in 1831. Since its foundation, students were able to meet in the Sala Verde (Green Room) without having to buy drinks. One wall of the adjacent Sala Bianca (White Room) has a bullet hole left by an Austrian rifle during
the student riots of 1848, recalling the originally highly animated atmosphere of this coffee-house, a meeting point
for students and professors.

Via VI febbraio 15

Giotto’s decorations for the world famous Scrovegni Chapel were commissioned in 1303 by Enrico Scrovegni to save the soul of his father, a wealthy money-lender. The frescoes, depicting episodes from the life of Christ, were completed in 1305.
According to experts, Giotto’s work represents the birth of modern painting and culture. For the first time in history, the characters are removed from the canons of Byzantine and medieval art and acquire their own unique features.
Particularly worthy of note are the colours, especially the wonderful lapis lazuli blue, used to represent the sky.

Outside is the Roman Arena, still used as an open-air cinema in the summer, and nearby are the Eremitani City Museums with their collections, which include works by Giorgione, Titian, Veronese, Canova, Tiepolo, and many others.

Near the Museum stands the Eremitani Church, substantially rebuilt after its almost complete destruction by an Allied bomb in 1944. In the Ovetari Chapel is one of the first frescoed masterpieces by Andrea Mantegna, who originally came from Padova. What little remains of his beautiful work is the result of long and meticulous restoration, carried out by generations of experts using the most modern techniques.

Bookings required: t 049.2010020
Entrance from Eremitani City Museums
Opening times 9 am – 7 pm

Piazza Eremitani 8
t 049.8204551
Opening times 9 am – 7 pm
Closed on Mondays

The Duomo, Padova’s Cathedral, with its austere façade of red bricks, was consecrated in 1075.
Next to it is the Battistero (Baptistry), famous for the geometry of its shapes and especially Eremitani Church Piazza delle Erbe for its frescoes, masterpieces by Giusto de’ Menabuoi, dating back to the 14th century.

Piazza Duomo
Opening times 10 am – 6 pm

Construction of this enormous building - the Palace of Reason, or simply Il Salone (Great Hall) - was begun in 1218. Originally conceived as the civic and economic centre of the city, its upper floor was used as a court of law until the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797.
Almost 100 years after it was built, the three rooms of the upper floor were transformed into a single great hall with a unique keel-shaped roof. The walls were decorated by Giotto with a highly detailed and colourful astrological cycle in three bands of frescoes. At one end stands an immense wooden horse, said to be the model for Donatello’s statue of the condottiere Gattamelata (now outside the Basilica of St. Anthony).
Over the centuries, the magnificent Salone has been damaged by several fires and even a hurricane, but always lovingly restored. Its outer medieval porticoes on both sides of the ground floor now house shops selling all kinds of meat, cheese, fish, and other foodstuffs.
It is now used for exhibitions and events.

Entrance from “Scala delle Erbe”
Piazza delle Erbe; disabled entrance in
Palazzo Moroni, Via del Municipio 1
t 049.8205006
Winter opening times 9 am – 6 pm
Summer opening times 9 am – 7 pm
closed on Monday

Padova was built along the rivers Brenta and Bacchiglione and is crossed by the Battaglia, Scaricatore and Piovego canals. In its heyday, an extensive network of canals flowed around and across the medieval city, supplying and defending it. Padova’s
waterways were also essential for its industry, which was powered by mills, and for trade, as goods were transported mainly by water. Via Patriarcato leads to the “riviere”, paths flanking the canals, down to La Specola. The da Carrara castle stands where the Bacchiglione divides into two. Ezzelino da Romano, the city’s 13th-century tyrant, who also appears in Dante’s Inferno, built an enormous tower called Torlonga, in order to defend his castle. This tower remained infamous for centuries after the tyrant’s death, due to the terrible acts which were perpetrated in its dungeons. It became the University’s Astronomical Observatory in 1777.
Today, it houses a Museum, where globes, telescopes and measuring instruments are kept in their original locations. The Sala Meridiana (Hall of the Sundial) contains the largest sundial in Italy, constructed in 1779.

Vicolo dell’Osservatorio 5
Tel.: 049.8293469 – 3449
Guided tours only by appointment:
Winter Sat – Sun 4 pm;
Summer Sat – Sun 6 pm

The largest square in Padova and perhaps in the whole of Europe, for centuries Prato della Valle was an unhealthy, malarial marsh until 1775, when the Venetian nobleman, hydraulic expert and architect Andrea Memmo was commissioned by the Serenissima to reclaim the area. He worked on a grand scale, and created first an elliptical island surrounded by a canal, crossed by two avenues with obelisk-decorated bridges spanning the canal and a fountain in the centre; lastly, he surrounded the whole with 78 (originally 87) statues of famous figures of antiquity. This grand space is now a great centre of attraction with its highly popular Saturday market, and at other times is crowded with people, especially on sunny days. At one end of the square stands the majestic Basilica of St. Justine, a national monument and one of the largest in the Christian world. It houses historic treasures and works of art, including a library of 130,000 volumes.

Summer opening times 7.30 – 12 am
and 3 – 8 pm
Winter opening times 8 – 12 am
and 3 - 5 pm

Piazza dei Signori
Piazza dei Signori (Square of the Lords, or Seigneurs) takes its name from the ancient Reggia dei da Carrara (which no longer exists), once the palace of the lords of Padova in the 14th century. It is one of the most beautiful squares in Padova. On the west side is the Palazzo del Capitanio (originally for retired sea captains from Venice) with its Torre dell’Orologio (Clock Tower). On the south is the Loggia del Consiglio, the seat of city council meetings since 1420, and on the east the small church of San Clemente, dating back to 1190.

Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta
The cries of the market sellers, their stalls crammed with every possible kind of fruit and vegetable, blend with those of others selling plants and flowers, spices, herbs...all creating two of the most colourful and vital places in the city. Between the two squares stands the immense bulk of the Salone, with its groundfloor shops selling meat, cheese and fish. Nowadays, the stalls also sell clothes of all kinds, costume jewellery, shoes and leather goods, and many natural products. A hive of activity every morning!
The squares are linked through the Portico dei Caligari, near the Palazzo del Consiglio, a romanesque building with a loggia on the ground floor, andthe tall Torre degli Anziani (1215). Completed in 1285 and enlarged in the 16th century, the ground floor of this building was once the salt depot (Magazzino del Sale) for the whole city.