The City of Padua
Slide show presentation of Padua and its territory
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Padua, a city of art
A stopover or a weekend in Padua gives you the opportunity to discover one of the major Italian cities of art, with its more than 2000 years of history
In the 12th century Padua became a free Commune: in the following 200 years it reached its utmost political power thanks to the Lords Da Carrara (1338-1404) and it witnessed a great religious, cultural and economic moment. The mighty walls, more than eleven kilometres long, their five gates and their 19 bastions, and the large religious and civil buildings, first and foremost the Basilica of Saint Anthony and the University, still show today that extraordinary moment in time characterised by people like Giotto, Guariento, Giusto de' Menabuoi, and Altichiero. In 1405 Padua was annexed to the inland territories of Venice, but it kept its artistic primary role until the half of the 15th century thanks to Donatello and Mantegna.
In the 16th century, under Venetian rule, Padua witnessed a great renewal: new public buildings and large churches were built. The four centuries of Venetian domination finished at the end of the 18th century with the wonderful rearrangement of the square Prato della Valle. Padua is among the most visited tourist destinations in Italy; the religious heritage of the city is extraordinarily rich, starting from the Basilica of Saint Anthony, the stately church that was started being built in 1232 and keeps inside masterpieces of high artistic value. Other important churches are the Basilica of Saint Justine and the cathedral with the annexed Baptistery of the 12th century completely covered with frescoes by Giusto de' Menabuoi.
A unique masterpiece in the world is the Scrovegni Chapel, it was completely painted with frescoes by Giotto between 1303 and 1305 with episodes from the lives of Jesus and Mary inside.
Padua however also has many important public buildings and palaces, first and foremost Palazzo della Ragione, the old Palace of Justice, built in 1218, it is unique among the other public buildings built around Europe in the Medieval time in its grandeur.
Padua is moreover seat of an old university and it is possible to visit its old historical facilities, as for example Palazzo Bo, where you can see the Anatomical Theatre, the Botanic Garden, various university museums, and the Specola or Astronomical Observatory.
It is nice to walk around Padua and its squares, starting from the stately Prato della Valle through the squares Piazza dei Signori, delle Erbe, della Frutta, it leads the visitor to discover the architecture of the buildings alongside the porticoes, Palazzo della Ragione, the Clock Tower, the loggia called della Gran Guardia...ending up in the famous Caffé Pedrocchi.
However Padua is also the city of great exhibition events and art exhibitions in Palazzo della Ragione, Palazzo Zabarella, an old palace once belonging to the Da Carara family, or the Cultural Centre San Gaetano in via Altinate.
Padua and the navigation on the rivers
Short cruises and boat trips from Padua to Venice and along the Brenta Riviera
Padua, 30 km away from Venice, has always been a great city of waterways. Located between the rivers Brenta and Bacchiglione, Padua developed an intense navigation on rivers in the past thus becoming a point of reference for the traffic directed from the inland to Venice.
The most famous route is the navigation from Padua to Venice along the Brenta Riviera.
Mentioned by Dante Alighieri in the Divine Comedy; visited by Casanova, Galileo, Byron, d’Annunzio; painted by Tiepolo and Canaletto; celebrated by Goethe and Goldoni, the Brenta Riviera hosted the royal families of France and Russia; Napoleon, the Habsburgs and the Savoy family. Since the 16th century, alongside the rivers that were easily reached from Venice, luxurious villas were built and richly decorated with frescoes. The Brenta Canal connecting Venice with Padua was the fashionable canal where more than seventy magnificent villas were built.
There the richest noble people spent their holidays leaving from Venice on comfortable boats, called Burchiello, that went up through the navigable canal Brenta; these boats used oars from St. Markus to Fusina, then they were pulled by horses to Padua along the Brenta Riviera.
Today all the motor boats going along the Brenta Riviera from Padua to Venice and viceversa are commonly called burchiello, these modern and comfortable boats, that inherited the ancient traditions, slowly go on the water of Brenta while tourist guides on board speak about the history, culture, and art witnessed by the monuments of Padua and the Villas of the Riviera, stopping in the most beautiful and famous Villas connected with the famous names of Palladio and Tiepolo for a guided tour.
After embarking in Padua you go through five locks that enable to ship through a water gap of about 10 metres, and nine swing bridges arriving then in Venice after circa ten hours of navigation.
The navigation companies can also offer shorter routes of half a day or one or two hours.
Padua, a medieval city, walled cities and castles of its territory
A travel in the past, through strongholds, castles and abbeys; a romantic itinerary along the route of the castles, its fascinating and imposing ancient walls
Padua, a medieval city with its long porticoes, ancient gates, walls and mighty bastions, is one of the oldest and at the same time most dynamic cities in Italy. In the elegant city centre, that is rich in wonderful examples of Medieval and Renaissance architecture, you can feel a peculiar atmosphere mixing urban lifestyle and ancient traditions.
The wonderful walled cities of Cittadella, Monselice, Este and Montagnana are impressive monuments of the past, remains that bring the fascinating and mysterious medieval world back to life.
A territory rich in medieval villages, walled cities, and castles, place for medieval festivals.
There are indeed various medieval festivals throughout the year, as the great medival festival Grande Festa Medievale (Bevilacqua), the festival Giostra della Rocca (Monselice), or the festival Palio dei Dieci Comuni and the medieval New Year’s Eve celebration Capodanno Medievale (Montagnana), the festival Voci dall'Evo di Mezzo (Cittadella), just to mention a few. All festivals are accompanied by typical products, antique markets and music.
Padua, a territory rich in abbeys, villas, and gardens
Spending some time in Padua also gives the opportunity to discover the architecture and art of its ancient noble residences
Wonderful Venetian Villas, noble residences in the area surrounding Padua, in the hill area, and in the area under Venetian influence, are often surrounded by large gardens or parks creating complex architectures bringing together the needs of farming and entertaining.
And along the route a regenerating stopover in the silence and harmony of an Abbey. Ancient centres of wealth and power, the old abbeys, that were built in the hill area and in the reclaimed lands, often disclose cultural and artistic treasures.
Natural Park in the Euganean Hills
Those who love nature can make a trip in the green landscape of the Regional Park of the Euganean Hills, a charming natural environment full of monasteries, elegant villas, remains of castles and wine cellars, where you can taste wine and other products of the territory, scattered around it. The Euganean Hills are really like an island of natural interest protected by the Regional Park, characterised by a very rich and varied vegetation and a land that produces precious fruits in every season: delicious berries, cherries, strawberries, blackberries, jujubes, pomegranates, figs, delicate wild herbs, grapes, delicious honey, and oil that is still processed according to an old tradition that is 700 years old.
Much requested seat for residences of nobles and rich Venetians, that built their “mountain villas” here to spend their holidays, the area of the Euganean Hills was enriched with wonderful villas, stately gardens, large parks planned by architects of every time provided with mazes of box tree, impressive cycles of frescoes, statues, centuries-old trees, and water works.
This is the place of the Wine Route of the Euganean Hills, a food and wine paradise where the blend of grapes and the local tradition are mixed with the best season's products from the cultivated garden, the yard, the vineyard, and with the wild herbs. Various restaurants, rural tourist facilities and wine cellars invite the visitor to discover the wines and tastes of this land.
The Wine Routes
In the Euganean Hills producing wine has always been an art thanks to the morphology of the vineyard and the favourable climate. The vine varieties produces the wine guaranteed by the consortium for the safeguard of the DOC wines of the Euganean Hills (Consorzio Tutela dei Vini DOC dei Colli Euganei), among them: Colli Euganei Rosso, Colli Euganei Bianco, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay, Merlot, Serprino, Novello, Moscato, Fior d’Arancio,and Pinello.
The Consortium for the safeguard of the DOC wine “Colli Euganei” has been a point of reference and guarantee since 1972 in the production of DOC wines: it carries out promoting and controlling activities to guarantee that the consumer finds wines on their tables that are under the consortium brand offering all the physical and organoleptic characteristics that only the land of the Euganean Hills can give.
The Wine Route of the Euganean Hills among the Regional Park of the Euganean Hills was founded in 1989 with a regional law and includes 15 municipalities on a surface of 18,695 hectares. It includes the highest hills of the Padan Plain south-west of Padua (the highest hill is Monte Venda 601 metres). Tourists are welcomed in the farmyards and wine cellars where they can stay at leisure to taste wine accompanied with typical appetisers;
Another wine and food route is the so called Stradon del Vin Friularo starting from Padua going down south along the old Conselvana Road, through Conselve to Bagnoli. It was already appreciated and celebrated by Ruzzante and Carlo Goldoni; Friularo wine has obtained a numerous series of medals and national and international prizes since the 20th century. Friularo can be tasted in the two varieties of “classico” and “riserva” and also “Vendemmia Tardiva” and “Passito”. Bagnoli keeps a genetic base with old vine varieties cultivated before the arrival of phylloxera that were present in this area already in the 18th century. The territory of the route Stradon del Vin Friularo has a predominant rural component with rooted ancient traditions that are jealously preserved. Wide cultivated land is crossed by a thick network of waterways, from small drains to large rivers (Brenta, Adige, Bacchiglione) building a landscape that is characterised by alternately blue and green.
Padua and its tastes
Visiting a territory also means discovering the knowledge and taste of its local tradition. The centuries-old gastronomic tradition is based on the simple products of the garden, the barnyard, the vineyard, the different types of sausages, the fruit in season and, in some places, the spontaneous wild seasonal herbs. The great variety of the Paduan territory with its different environments from the lagoon to the valleys, hills, rivers and the plain offers a wide range of different ingredients. As far as the first courses are concerned tasting the following dishes is a must: the traditional “risotto ricco” (tasty risotto) in the Paduan style, the special risotto with chicken giblets, the wonderful risotto with the spontaneous wild herbs, with the “bisi” (peas), with quails or radicchio, homemade pasta and noodles starting from the “bigoi” (kind of fat fresh spaghetti) with duck meat sauce going to tagliatelle (flat noodles) with goose meat sauce and pumpkin, ranging from pappardelle (kind of broad flat noodles) to lasagne and pies. Second courses include stuffed duck, gosling with fruit, Paduan chicken, rabbit, pigeons and Guinea fowl kebab, fried chicken, stewed meat and tasty grilled meat. And finally cakes and pies with fresh fruit or compote, pastries served with zabaglione flavoured with Muscat and “pinze” cakes with maize flour. Food is matched with the generous Paduan wine that was already known and appreciated by Petrarch and Ruzzante and that is nowadays offered again by the reliable and professional wine producers gathered in the Consortium of D.O.C. wines of the Euganean Hills and Bagnoli.