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If the queen of the Italian North is Venice, then the king could be none other than Padua! So close and yet so far away, travellers who find cheap air tickets to Padua come across the amazing medieval past of Italy, alive and kicking! Seat of the second oldest university in Italy and home of the greatest figures in the fields of philosophy, science, art and culture, Padua always have and always will stand out from the crowds. An exciting and interesting travel destination, Padua is budget-friendly and makes up a fine idea for an affordable and pleasant getaway. Cheap flights and cheap hotels in Padua make it even more attractive to European travellers who usually combine the trip with excursions to Venice and the surrounding area.
A city with a strong medieval aura, a romantic labyrinth of cobbled street and arched paths, Padua is located in the Italian North, within the Province of Veneto. Very close to Venice, Padua have always served as a major cultural centre of Northern Italy.
Dante and Galileo are just two of the most famous alumni of the University of Padua, founded in 1222!
Modern Padua is a lively city with character and personality, a popular student town and an upcoming tourist destination, especially attractive to architecture and history lovers.
Indeed, Padua is a true architectural and cultural gem of Italy, often overlooked in favour of nearby Venice. But there is no need to worry, as you don’t have to choose between the two! Budget-friendly and laid-back Padua offers the perfect alternative to pricey and crowded Venice.
Organise your accommodation in Padua and set your base to explore the magnificent region of Veneto!
The nearest airport to Padua is the airport of Venice (Aeroporto di Venezia Marco Polo), located 45 kilometres northeast of Padua. It is served by railway and buses.
Getting around Padua
You can get around Padua by tram, bus and taxi. Fares start at 1.30€ and minimum taxi fare costs 5.00€.
Padua’s main focal point is the Piazza delle Erbe. A nice way to get a first sense of the city is to pop by the legendary Caffè Pedrocchi for a quick espresso. This is no ordinary café, as it is a designated national monument, having once served as the meeting and conference place of the Risorgimento activists struggling for the unification of Italy.
Interesting fact: When Caffè Pedrocchi opened, it was the largest café in Europe!
Padua’s most treasured attraction and a definite must-see in the city is the Cappella degli Scrovegni, the 14th-century chapel that stands as an eternal symbol of atonement of one person and of mastery of the art of another.
The church’s construction is attributed to Enrico Scrovegno who, in search of an appropriate way to atone for the mistakes and sins of his father, Reginaldo, he got the inspiration of building a church.
Reginaldo was notorious for his hostility and violent character. Such was his ill reputation that Dante, in his work “Inferno”, placed him into the inner ring of the Seventh Circle of Hell, the circle of Violence and Usury!
The work was assigned to great Italian painter and architect Giotto. He and his team created a series of frescoes depicting 37 narrating scenes of the life of Christ and the life of Virgin that can be “read” from left to right. The frescoes are widely regarded as the uttermost, prime and unrivalled work of Early Renaissance – and the best in Italy.
Continue to the University of Padua. Its oldest wing is named Palazzo del Bò, however the supreme highlight of the university is the Teatro Anatomico, offering you a glimpse of how classes of anatomy were held back in the days.
Your next stop is the Botanical Garden of Padua (Orto Botanico), the city’s major green lung, dating back to 1545. Founded by the University of Padua to research the potential of pharmaceutical plants, in 1997 it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Finally, head to the Piazza del Santo, where the Basilica di Sant’ Antonio stands as the second most precious building in Padua. Built in 1232 and dedicated to Sant’ Antonio, the basilica is a fine example of the combination of Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance elements, featuring 8 domes and 2 monumental bell towers.
The official language of Padua is Italian.