Tourist Information guide on the city of Padua includes weather in Padova, Things to see & do in Padua including the famous Giotto frescoes at the Scrovegni Chapel, how to get to Padua, transportation in Padua and other general tourist information on the city.
Things to See and to Do in Padua
Usually most guide books refer to Padua as a cheap alternative where to stay while visiting Venice overlooking the attractions the city has to offer. The city of Padua has a rich history which is well reflected in the uniqueness of its attractions.
Home to Italy's second oldest university founded in 1222, which attracted the likes of Dante, Petrarca, and Galileo Galilei. It's possible to visit the University of Padua which is particularly fascinating: when you enter you are struck by the perfectly proportioned anatomy theatre where students observe operations from galleries above the operating table.
The huge Sant'Antonio Cathedral, crowned by Byzantine domes and minaret-style towers, is only second to the St. Mark's Cathedral for its Asian inspired beauty, and it is surely one of the things to see in Padua. The interior of the church is richly decorated, courtesy of the generosity of pilgrims who have made their way to this church for centuries to give thanks to the popular Sant'Antonio.
Although officially June 13th is the feast day of the saint, nowadays pilgrims come to Padua all year round, and with the inner cloisters and church filled with happy groups of pilgrims there is still a sense of life to be held in this church that many of its counterparts have lost.
The Botanical Gardens of Padua date back to 1545 and owe their creation to Daniele Barbaro, owner of Villa Barbaro and close friend of Andrea Palladio. The gardens were created by the Venetian Republic to supply medicinal plants for the University. They can still be visited at the cost of €5 per person, and are open daily except on Monday.
Piazza dei Signori (Lords' Square) is the location of the daily market which runs from the early morning hours until midday. The square is dominated by a 15th century building that served as the council chamber for the leading families of the city. Its crude brick form is quite a stark contrast to the lavish Byzantine architecture of the nearby Sant'Antonio Cathedral, but its line of architecture make the building stand in its own right.
The star attraction of the city of Padua and according to all the Padua tourist guides is the Scrovegni Chapel, which was erected in the 13th century. If it appears an unassuming building from the exterior, the interior houses one of the most precious works of art that has been recently restored in Italy. To honour the death of his father, Enrico Scrovegni hired Giotto (one of the founding figures of the Renaissance movement) to decorate the interior of the building.
The artist, along with followers, created a magnificent cycle of frescoes illustrating the lives of Mary and Jesus. The realism in these frescoes, which featured the first blue skies in western painting, was almost revolutionary and provided a shining light to the Renaissance movement that followed many years later.
On the outskirts of Padua there are other attractions that may persuade visitors to spend a couple of nights in this city. Directly behind Padua there are the Colli Euganei, hills home to famous spa resorts and lush-green hills ideal for cyclists. And between Padua and Venice lies the area called Riviera del Brenta, a waterway area that is home to over 200 villas including Palladio's Villa Malcontenta.
Weather in Padua, Italy
Padua is located on the plains of Veneto, approximately 30km from the city of Venice. Despite being on the mainland, Padua is located close to the routes of many major rivers flowing down from the nearby hills and mountains into the Adriatic Sea. Humidity has a major effect on the climate throughout the calendar year, exaggerating the summer heat when temperatures rise up to 35°C and creating problems of fog in winter months when night time temperatures drop till to 0°C.
How to Get to Padua
Below you will find listed links to various resources on the Web to assist you with information on how to get to Padua once you arrive in Italy. Travelling from Venice, as most who visit Padua do, you can take a train from Santa Lucia railway station in Venice to Padua.
The journey time is around 25 minutes depending on the type of train taken, but there is a regular service from Venice as Padua is on both the main railway lines from Venice to Milan and Venice to Bologna. From the railway station, a brief 5 minute walk will bring you to the historical center of the city.
For those who are travelling by car, Padua would be an ideal stopover in between different destinations. It is located on both the roads linking Venice to Bologna and the Tuscany in general, as well as the road linking Venice to Milan.
You would probably approach the city on the Autostrada A4 (highway), exiting at Padua Est. Follow the signs for the city center until you reach the railway station and here, try to find a parking as the city center will be found a short walking distance from here. Padua is a sprawling city with an unforgiving road network.
Getting around Padua
For those with walking difficulties Padua does actually have a hop-on hop-off bus tour company that takes tourists on a basic tour of the city providing all the important tourist information of Padua. But, the city center is very small and all the sights could easily be covered in half a day by foot while enjoying interesting passageways in between.
Coming from the railway station you'll cross the main river flowing through the town, immediately on your left will be the Scrovegni Chapel followed by the remains of a Roman amphitheatre.
For the Medieval city center, Sant'Antonio Cathedral, he Botanical Gardens, University and other attractions continue straight ahead until you see signs indicating the various routes to the different attractions. It would probably only take 20 minutes maximum to walk from one side of the historical center to the other, so allow yourself to drift apart from the beaten track every now and then to discover hidden alleyways, speciality stores and the waterways that punctuate the city's landscape.
Tours of Padua
Enjoy a private guided tour of Giotto's famous frescoes, and understand why these 14th century paintings played such a vital role in western art. Visit one of the oldest universities in Italy and hear tales and stories about the performing surgeons in the famous anatomy room. Wander through the streets of Padua with our local expert guide who'll provide you with a clear and thorough discussion on the major buildings and history of this important city.