Sightseeing in Padua, Italy

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The ancient Roman Amphitheatre / Scrovegni Chapel / Eremitani Town Museum / Eremitani Church

Church of Eremitani Padua

The ancient Roman Amphitheatre (the Arena) surrounds the Scrovegni Chapel, one of the greatest monuments of figurative art of all time. It holds, entirely preserved, the most complete cycle of frescoes painted by Giotto (1303-1305) . In the nearby Eremitani Town Museum, fitted out in the former Augustinian Hermits monastery, you can admire precious archeological finds dating back to the paleovenetian, roman, etruscan and paleochristian periods, and famous works of art produced between the 14th and the 18th century. Amongst them: the Crucifix by Giotto and the Angels by Guariento . The museum complex is completed by the Museum of Applied Arts and the Bottacin Collection at Palazzo Zuckermann and the Libeskind’s memorial “Memory and Light” , dedicated to the victims of the Twin Towers. The nearby Eremitani Church, built at the turn of 13th century, has a wonderful wooden ceiling, and many monumental tombs. Badly damaged by bombing in 1944, it keeps frescoes by Guariento (1361-1365), Altichiero and juvenile masterpieces by Andrea Mantegna (1448-1457) in the Ovetari Chapel

Torre dell’Orologio / Palazzo della Ragione

Palazzo della Ragione
Torre dell'Orologio, Padua Italy
Torre dell'Orologio, Padua Italy
Torre dell'Orologio, Padua Italy

The historic centre of Padua is dominated by the imposing Palazzo della Ragione, commonly called Il Salone. It was built in 1218 to host the court of justice on the upper floor, and various shops on the ground floor. The upper floor is one vast hall (81 mt. long, 27 mt. wide and 27 mt. large). Its walls are decorated by an interesting cycle of frescoes of religious and astrological subjects (1425-1440) . The hall contains a giant wooden horse (1466) and a contemporary version of the Foucault’s Pendulum . A daily busy market occupies the ground floor of the palace and the adjoining squares, Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza dei Frutti. The nearby Piazza dei Signori is attractively enclosed by buildings. On the W side, Palazzo del Capitanio (1599-1605) incorporates the Torre dell’Orologio with its astronomical clock dating from 1344. Beyond the Arco dell’Orologio is Piazza Capitaniato with the building of the Arts Faculty, the Liviano. It incorporates the Sala dei Giganti with frescoes dating from the 16th century.

Padua Cathedral

Padua Cathedral
Padua Cathedral,
Padua Cathedral,
Padua Cathedral,

Michelangelo took part in the design of the present Cathedral which was erected between the 16th and the 18th century. On the Main Altar contemporary
statues by Tuscan artist Giuliano Vangi. The nearby Baptistery (12th century, retouched in the 13th and 14th c.), named after St. John the Baptist, holds the finest and most complete cycle of frescoes by the Florentine painter Giusto de’ Menabuoi (1375-1378), a masterpiece of the late 14th century, recently restored to its original splendour. The cycle includes the wonderful Paradise on the ceiling and the stories of St. John the Baptist, the Stories of Mary , the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. The nearby Diocesan Museum keeps a rich collection of works of art . The visit to the Museum allows visitors to admire the magnificent Bishops Hall , decorated by the portraits of the first 100 Paduan bishops, and the fine Chapel of St. Mary of the Angels.

Piazza Bo

Bo Palace, Padua Italy
Bo Palace, Padua Italy
Bo Palace, Padua Italy
Bo Palace, Padua Italy

From Piazza Duomo, following the typical narrow streets of the old Ghetto, you can reach Palazzo Bo. This large group of buildings, erected between 1542 and 1601, with modern addictions from 1920-1940, is the main seat of the University, which was founded in 1222. Particularly interesting are the Old Courtyard (mid16th century); the Room of the Forty with Galilei’s chair , -he taught in Padua from 1592 to 1610-, the Aula Magna, with a rich collection of coats of arms and decorations ; the famous Anatomy Theatre, the oldest fix anatomy theatre in the world (1594) . The adjacent Caffè Pedrocchi is a complex building in neo-classic style with an ornate Gothic part, designed by the architect G. Jappelli in 1831. Famous meeting place for scholars, it was the scene of student uprising in 1848. Its upper floor has rooms decorated in various stylesand houses the Museum of the Risorgimento and Contemporary Time. Leave the Pedrocchi and head southwards. Along via S. Francesco, at the corner with via Zabarella, you can admire Palazzo Zabarella one of the oldest palaces in Padua. Its tower and central body date back to the end of the 12th century-beginning of the 13th century. Once a property of the Da Carrara and Zabarella families, it was refurbished in the XIX century in the neo-classical style. Today it is a prestigious venue for great cultural events and exhibitions.

St. Anthony Basilica

Basilica of St Anthony, Padua Italy of an Evening
The Basilica of St Anthony, Padua, Italy
The Basilica of St Anthony, Padua, Italy
The Basilica of St Anthony, Padua, Italy

St. Anthony Basilica . Started immediately after the death of the Santo (1231) and completed at the beginning of the following century, it is an imposing construction in Romanesque Gothic style, with eight domes and spires of eastern inspiration. It holds the body of St. Anthony and is the object of pilgrimages from all over the world. Among the numberless works of art it keeps, one must point out the frescoes by Altichiero and Giusto de’ Menabuoi (end of the
14th century), the Crucifix, the statues and the bronze reliefs of the High Altar, superlative works by Donatello (1444-1448); the Altar of the Saint and the Treasure
Chapel. From the Cloister of the Blessed Luca Belludi you can reach the Antoniano Museum, which holds precious works of art , sacred vestments, tapestries and jewellery . Near the Basilica rise St. George Oratory, holding a great cycle of frescoes by Altichiero (1379-1384) , the School of the Saint, that keeps three famous frescoes by Titian (1511), and the Museo Al Santo, venue for temporary exibitions. In the square stands the bronze equestrian monument dedicated to the Gattamelata, Donatello’s masterpiece, completed in 1453

Botanical Gardens / Prato della Valle / Basilica of S. Giustina

Prato della Valle, Padua Italy

The Botanical Garden , which was founded in 1545 with the name of “Simples Garden” (medicinal plants) by the Faculty of Medicine, was laid out by the architect A. Moroni. It displays an extremely important collection of rare plants. It houses the old library and botany collections of the University. Prato della Valle , once a Roman theatre, has become the traditional site for fairs and amusements. The marshy ground of the Prato was reclaimed in 1775 by order of the  Venetian Procurator Andrea Memmo, who gave the place its present monumental appearance: a large elliptical green island, divided by four avenues corresponding to four bridges, surrounded by a canal along which stand 78 statues of famous men. The square is surrounded by old palaces. Palazzo Angeli houses the fine museum of the Magic Lantern and Pre Cinema. On the opposite side is Basilica of S. Giustina . The huge church crowned with eight domes was built in the 16th century on the site of early places of worship. The imposing interior contains many works of art including the remarkable Great Choir and the large altar-piece by Veronese representing the Martyrdom of St Giustina (1575). The Benedictine monastery includes a rich library and cloisters. From Prato della Valle, following via Memmo, you can reach another scientific monument belonging to Padua University: the astronomic observatory, called la Specola. From the top of the tower beautiful view on the town and the surrounding territory. La Specola houses a museum dedicated to astronomy, where various scientific instruments coming from different countries are displayed.

Walls and Gates

Roman Ruins in Padua Italy

Walls and Gates. The first walls, built during the Commune period, ran along the Bacchiglione and the navigable canals delimiting the ancient Roman “island”.
There are only few remnants of them, by which two of the 19 gates: Altinate and Molino Gates. New stretches of walls were built during the Carrara Seigneury, to include the urban spreads beyond the Roman island and large horticultural lands. The town, thanks to its strategical importance, was fortified by the Serene
Republic of Venice with new walls, which were built between 1513 and 1544. The defensive work, about 11 km. in length, includes some twenty formidable bulkwarks still well kept. Particularly interesting from an artistic point of view are Venice or Portello Gate , built in 1519, S. Giovanni Gate (1528) and Savonarola Gate (1530). In the last years a great programme of waterways recovering and restoring has given impulse to the tourist navigation along Paduan canals and rivers, and one of the itineraries develops along the waterways which flow around the city with beautiful views on the medieval and renaissance walls and gates

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