Padua is “too often disregarded by the majority of visitors,” says Silvia Donati at Italy Magazine. Less than a 30-minute ride on the high-speed train from Venice, and home to Italy’s second oldest university founded in 1222, Padua has “retained the vivacious atmosphere of a university town, with lively piazzas and arcaded streets.” The birthplace of modern medicine and full of world-class art, the city “stubbornly refuses to fit easy categorisation,” writes David Whitley in The National. He recommends starting at the frescoed Cappella degli Scrovegni, which is “one of the world’s greatest artistic masterpieces.”
There are four unusual things to do in Padua, says Atlas Obscura. They include visiting the world’s oldest anatomical theatre at Palazzo del Bo; seeing Italy’s oldest botanical garden; and perusing the incorrupt tongue of Saint Anthony, which is housed in the Basilica di Sant’Antonio, one of the largest in the country, attracting 6.5 million pilgrims a year.
There’s been a “bright and lively market” in the heart of Padua every day for the past 800 years, explains Rossi Writes. “It is one of the biggest markets in Italy, so don’t miss the chance to see it and try as much food as possible,” encourages Nicoletta Fornaro at Naturally Epicurean. Around the market there are lots of good eating options, such as La Vecchia Enoteca “for traditional food” and Locanda Peccatorum for “budget eats,” she advises. And when it’s time for a drink, head to the 18th century Pedrocchi Café, says Tripsavvy, “the elegant bar and restaurant had a role in the 1848 riots against the Hapsburg monarchy.” Visitors won’t be disappointed with the nightlife, either, says The Culture Trip, which offers a list of the top ten bars.
Right in the heart of Padua is the Prato della Valle, a 90,000-square-meter elliptical square -- “the biggest in Italy and one of the largest in Europe,” reports Italy Magazine. It’s central grassy circle is “surrounded by a canal decorate with 78 statues of famous Paduan figures,” and it’s a favourite local hotspot.
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