Sightseeing in Padova
Scrovegni Chapel (Cappella degli Scrovegni):
the Chapel, dedicated to St. Mary of the Charity, frescoed between 1303 and 1305 by Giotto, upon the commission of Enrico degli Scrovegni, is one of the most important masterpieces of Western art and the most complete series of frescos by the Tuscan master. The frescoes, which narrate events in the lives of the Virgin Mary and Christ, cover the entire walls. On the wall opposite the altar the grandiose Universal Judgement, which concludes the story of human salvation. The chapel was originally attached to the Scrovegni family palace, built after 1300, following the elliptical outline of the remains of the Roman arena. Since the Chapel was acquired by the City of Padova in 1880, the vulnerable frescoes are subjected to monitoring and conservative restoration operations, thanks to close collaboration between the local Administration, Cultural Heritage Authorities and the University of Padova.
Summer opening hours 9:00 – 22:00 (last admittance at 21:20), booking recommended, http://www.cappelladegliscrovegni.it.
Hermits City Museum (Musei Civici degli Eremitani):
are the oldest museum complex in Veneto and are lodged in the former Hermits friars’’ convent. The complex gathers the Archaeological Museum and the Medieval and Modern Art Museum, besides the Scrovegni Chapel. It boasts masterpieces by Giotto, Veronese, Tintoretto and Tiepolo among all.
Opening hours 9:00 – 19:00.
Bo Palace (Palazzo del Bo):
is the historical location of the University of Padova since 1493. The walls of the loggia are decorated by almost 3 thousand painted or sculpted emblems: between 1592 and 1688 the habit was in force that each student or professor, at the end of his/her mandate left his/her own emblem to the University. At the base of the staircase leading to the upper lodge, the statue of Elena Lucrezia Cornaro is situated, the first woman in the world taking a degree in philosophy. Across the upper lodge, rooms of historical interest can be reached, such as the old anatomic theatre (1594); the “Sala dei Quaranta”, where the original desk of Galileo Galilei is displayed; the “Aula Magna” with walls and ceiling covered by emblems, decorations and frescoes; the room of the Academic Senate.
Zabarella Palace (Palazzo Zabarella):
is an historical palace built for commission of the Zabarella family. Built on existing Roman building, the complex reaches its actual appearance in the Middle Age (Commons Age) when the tower was built. In the XIX century Giacomo Zabarella, last descendant of the Zabarella family, wanted the interiors decorated by many artists, among all Francesco Hayez. The Palace is now the location of the Bano Foundation and hosts many international art exhibitions.
Opening hours 9:30 – 19:00, http://www.zabarella.it/.
Palazzo della Ragione:
built in 1218, it was the city courthouse until 1797. The upper floor boasts one of the biggest covered elevated medieval rooms in the world (called “Salone”), with an impressive wooden vault ceiling and walls decorated by majestic frescos series with astrologic subject. The room offers accommodation to an enormous wooden horse built for a tournament in 1466 and a contemporary reproduction of the Foucault pendulum, set up upon initiative of the Department of Physics of the University of Padova. On the ground floor (so-called “Sottosalone”), traditional shops are settled. The Palazzo della Ragione dominates on the big squares Piazza delle Erbe (Herb Square) and Piazza dei Frutti (Fruit Square), where there are daily colourful markets.
Summer opening hours 9:00 – 19:00.
Piazza dei Signori:
one of the main square of the city, it is delimited by the Saint Clement Church, by the Loggia del Consiglio (or Loggia della Gran Guardia), a XVI century building where the City Council used to gather, and by Palazzo del Capitanio (or Palazzo Liviano) with its Clock Tower. The Clock marks not only hours and minutes, but also months, days, moon phases and the signs of the Zodiac (except for Libra which is missing). According to popular tradition, the absence of Libra is an act of spite of the contractor against the lack of justice of the commissioner who paid a lower rate than what previously agreed for the work. The Liviano Palace is directly connected to the famous Sala dei Giganti (Giants Room), whose name is due to the frescoes depicting heroes and main characters of the ancient times at real scale.
Saint Justine Abbey (Abbazia di Santa Giustina):
was built in V century on the tomb of Saint Justine from Padova and, in XV century, the Benedictine reform called “of the Saint Justine Congregation” moved from here. The actual majestic complex (five cloisters besides the Cathedral) is due to a complete restoration in 1600.
Summer opening hours 7:30 12:00 and 15:00 – 20:00, http://www.abbaziasantagiustina.org/.
Prato della Valle:
is the biggest square of the city and one of the biggest in Europe, with an area of 88620 m². The actual shape dates back to end of XVIII century and is characterised by an elliptic central island, called Memmia Island, surrounded by a canal and a double ring of 78 statues. Nowadays the square hosts the traditional Saturday market, as well as cultural and recreational events.
Saint Anthony Cathedral (Basilica di Sant’Antonio):
better known as “Basilica del Santo” (Saint Cathedral) is a majestic and articulated religious building, whose construction started in 1232. The external appearance of the Cathedral is a mix of Lombard, Tuscan and Byzantine styles; the eight domes and the two bell towers show oriental features. The Cathedral shields the corpse of the Saint, as well as many frescoes and sculptures, among which a crucifix by Donatello (Donatello realised the Equestrian Statue of the Gattamelata, situated on the square in front of the Cathedral, too). Worth to see also the convent cloisters.
Summer opening hours 6:20 – 19:45, http://www.basilicadelsanto.org/.
created in 1545 on the property of the Benedictine monks of Saint Justine during the Venetian Republic, it is the oldest existing university botanical garden in the world that is still in its original location. It was constantly enriched with plants from all over the world. In 1997 it has been inscribed by UNESCO on the World Heritage List as a cultural good, representing the birth of science and scientific exchanges. In September 2014, the new greenhouses of the “Biodiversity Garden” opened, in a building aimed at minimising the environmental impact of the structure.
Summer opening hours 9:00 – 19:00, http://www.ortobotanicopd.it/.
is an historical café of worldwide fame, located in the very centre of Padova. Until 1916 it was open day and night (and therefore called “Café without doors”), it used to be the gathering point for intellectuals, students, politicians and academics. First moves of the “Risorgimento Italiano” (Italian unification) started here in 1848. The actual building was designed in 1831 by Giuseppe Jappelli. http://www.caffepedrocchi.it/.
More info on http://www.turismopadova.it