Both the contemporary economic centre of the Veneto region in northern Italy, and the setting for much of Shakespeare’s The Taming Of The Shrew, Padova is a fabulous mix of culture and convenience which any visitor will appreciate.

Arguably the oldest city in northern Italy, Padova claims a heritage stemming back to the Trojan era. However, the first properly recorded mention of the settlement comes as the Roman city of Patavium which, following gradual development during the Empire, suffered in the post-Empire period at the hands of the Huns, the Goths and the Lombards. Indeed, a revolt against the Lombard domination in the 7th century resulted in the practical annihilation of the ancient city. Recovering over the course of centuries, Padova only truly prospered from the 13th century onwards despite outside interference courtesy of the Venetians from 1405 and the Austrians in the late 18th century before the Risorgimento finally liberated the city in 1866.

Now at once a thriving economic spot and a beautiful mass of arcaded streets and bridges, Padova is a delightful prospect for visitors searching out culture, entertainment or relaxation.


Completed in the late 18th century and recently restored to its former beauty, the Prato della Valle is one of the most remarkable sights in Italy. An elliptical square of some 90,000 square metres, the Prato della Valle is believed to be the biggest of its kind in Europe after Red Square. As well as its monumental size, the square contains a green island at the centre (L’Isola Memmia) surrounded by a canal and some 78 statues, representing important Venetians and Padovani.

Another truly monumental site is the Cappella degli Scrovegni (the Arena Chapel), considered one of the great pieces of Western Art. Completed in 1303 on the site of a former Roman arena, its impressive façade is surpassed only by its awe-inspiring interior, being covered in artworks depicting Biblical scenes by Giotto di Bondone, one of the founding fathers of the Renaissance.

Located in the Piazza dei Signori, the Palazzo della Ragione is another impressive building that justifies Padova’s status on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Begun in 1172 and finished in 1219, the Palazzo is renowned for its great hall and arcade, which contains a fabulous Renaissance-style Palladian window and fabulous frescos. Nearby in the Piazza dei Signori, you can also find the Gran Guardia Loggia and the Palazzo del Capitanio, completed during the 16th century, and marvellous in their own right.

Unquestionably the most famous church in Padova is the Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua. Begun roughly in 1230 but only completed in the following century supposedly according to the great Nicola Pisano’s design, the Basilica’s chapel contains the bones of St. Anthony himself. Meanwhile, outside you will find Donatello’s incredible equestrian statue of the Venetian general Gattemelata, cast in 1453 in bronze after the sculpture of Marcus Aurelius in Rome at the Capitoline Hill.

Built during the 16th century on a design by Michelangelo, the Cathedral of Padova provides a further insight into the city’s religious past and contains a number of paintings and frescos. The city enjoys many other fabulous religious buildings though, such as the Santa Sofia (the oldest church in the city, originating from the 10th century) and the 13th century Church of the Eremitani , whose former monastery now houses the must-see local art gallery. Coupled with an array of impressive villas, including one by the great Vicenzian architect Palladio, you’re sure to find something impressive around every corner in Padova.

Padova also houses the University of Padova, one of the oldest educational institutions in the world. Founded in 1222, former professors include Galileo Galilei and one can also find the oldest botanical garden in the world within, established in 1545.

Despite falling on hard times recently, the city is represented in football by Calcio Padova. Currently plying their trade in Serie C1/A, the club play their games at the Stadio Euganeo (tickets can be easily bought).


The main shopping district for major stores is the Centro Giotto shopping centre.

Alternatively, both the local daily and weekly markets (latter being held on Saturdays) can be found in the Piazza delle Erbe and Prato della Valle respectively.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Padova enjoys an impressive local cuisine with dishes like bigoli (thick spaghetti), torresani allo spiedo (pigeons seasoned with pepper and juniper berries) and desserts like tiramisu. The local wine trade is also thriving courtesy of the Consorzio Vini DOC, guaranteeing high-quality produce. Among the many restaurants in the city, check out the Osteria del Capo on the Via Dei Soncin and La Lanterna in the Piazza dei Signori for traditional cuisine.

However, you can find international alternatives like Chinese at the Ristorante Cinese Shanghai in the Via Marsala.

Being a university town, Padova has a bustling nightlife with plenty of bars and nightclubs like Cantina and Highlander in the city centre. Moreover, festivals and parties are occasionally held in the Prato della Valle.

Tourist Information

Padova Tourist OfficeRiv. Dei Mugnai, 8PadovaTel: +39 (0)49


The nearest international airport to Padova is Venice’s Marco Polo International Airport. Trains are available to reach the city itself, with a journey time of just 25 minutes. International and domestic connecting flights depart daily from Marco Polo.

British Airways (London-Gatwick), Easyjet (London-Gatwick) and BMI (London-Heathrow) are among the airlines that use VIA to and from British destinations.

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