Another Italian city featured in a Shakespearean play, Padua is often lost in the shuffle of Italian travel. Travelers often opt for the glamorous accommodations of the Riviera, the hustle of the major cities, or the serene beauty of the coast. Meanwhile, Padua is forced to compete with its neighbors Venice and Treviso. However, for those lucky few who discover this magnificent place, the experience is unforgettable.
According to historians, Padua is one of the oldest cities in Northern Italy, with archeological finds dating back to 1183 B.C. The area was ruled by various regimes over the years, but, during the Middle Ages, Padua’s university, the second oldest in Italy, helped the city establish a name for itself throughout the country. Now, Padua is known for its industrial zone, which is one of the largest in Europe and provides jobs for about 50,000 citizens.
Yet this wonderful city is far more than its economic role, it also has a wealth of historical sites for visitors to explore, starting with the Piazza dei Signori. The city’s main square has been around since the 14th-century and still serves as the city’s central gathering place. On one end of the square visitors will find the Torre Dell’Orologio, the famous clock tower that the Piazza was built around. On the other side sits the Chiesa di San Clemente, one of the city’s oldest churches.
Outside of the square, one of the city’s more impressive sites can be found inside the Capella degli Scrovegni. The exterior of the building is unassuming, but as soon as you walk through the doors, your vision will be filled with a colorful array of religious artwork. Every available inch on the walls and ceiling are covered.
Visitors should also make time to walk the lengths of the Prato della Valle. This square is the largest in Italy and Europe. Locals love it for its vast amounts of open space and the array of sculptures of Padua’s important historical figures. Additionally, make sure to not miss out on the city’s Orto Botanico. This garden is one of the oldest still in existence and was originally a place for university students to study.
Speaking of the university, no trip to Padua would be complete without exploring this amazing space housed inside the Bo Palace. There is a 45 minute guided tour offered, which allows visitors to walk the same grounds as Galileo, Copernicus, and the first female doctor of philosophy, Eleonora Piscopia.
Although there is so much more to see inside this undiscovered gem, these are just a few of the exciting places the unappreciated city of Padua has to offer.