A city like Padua is one of the reasons why I love Italy so much. It’s beautiful and charming with some amazing artistic and cultural heritage for a relatively small city. I’ve visited twice, the first time just as a day trip and then overnight. Although I haven’t spent too much time exploring I have rounded up a list of some of the best things to do in Padua.
The Scrovegni Chapel is one of my favourite works of art in all of Italy. The first time I saw it I actually almost cried. Visiting with my art history class as part of my Venice Summer School program we all wore some blue to pay homage to the beautiful blue colours of the chapel and it was a really emotional experience finally seeing this important chapel in person after studying it for so long. The chapel contains frescos painted by Giotto completed in 1305. It’s considered to be an early work of Renaissance art because of it’s use of perspective and how it portrays emotions on the figures faces. It is necessary to reserve tickets online in advance because admission is limited to small groups.
This basilica is an important pilgrimage church in Europe and contains relics of Saint Anthony who is the patron saint of lost things. The interior of the church is a real mash up of architectural and art styles having been added to over the years. But it contains an important altarpiece by Donatello and there is also an important equestrian statues in front of the church by Donatello.
I love gardens and this botanical garden at the University of Padua is one of the oldest in the Europe, founded in 1545. It’s beautiful and relaxing and not too big to walk around. The old historical gardens are contrasted by the modern greenhouse buildings.
Prato della Valle
This big public square, or rather oval bordered by a man-made canal is just really pretty to walk around and not far from the basilica. Actually everything is pretty close together in the historic centre making Padua a really easy city to visit.
If you’re looking for a few more things to do in Padua then I’d suggest checking out the Church of the Eremitani which has an interesting history and ceiling and Palazzo Zuckermann which is a museum housing an interesting collection of furniture, ceramics, textiles and coins. Both are located within a couple minutes walk from the Scrovegni Chapel.
Padua is an easy train ride from Venice and a perfect day trip. The train station is conveniently located at the edge of the historic centre and it’s only about a 10 minute walk from the Scrovegni Chapel and 25 minute walk to the Basilica.