Padua was founding in the late 12th century BC, and restless reinvention has long been its trademark. Romans took over the town from Veneti tribes and renamed it Patavium, but Goths and Lombards had wiped it out by AD 602. A fire destroyed a growing medieval core in 1164, but the city-state soon made a comeback to conquer Vicenza and surrounding territories. Padua established Italy's third university in 1222, and encouraged many artists and writers to the city. For the next few centuries Padua and Verona challenged each other for dominance over the Veneto plains, however Venice finally settled the matter by occupying Padua permanently in 1405.
Padua was a military-industrial centre and was frequently used for Mussolini speeches, an Allied bombing target and a secret Italian Resistance hub based at the university.
Just over four hundred years ago in January 1594, the Anatomy Theatre of the University of Padua began to built. Today it is still a very popular sight and it is easy to understand why. The impressive wooden structure can only accommodate about two hundred people therefore it is very likely that very few `ordinary' Paduans had the chance of entering the exclusive, academic precincts of this unique Anatomy Theatre. Tradition, says that the Anatomy Theatre of Padua University is the oldest in the world. It was built, and paid for, by Girolamus Fabricius ab Acquapendente who, at the time, was Professor of Anatomy and Surgery. The structure was designed by Fra' Paolo Sarpi.