Padua Visitor information
Padua is a vibrant city, with a young university population that gets about by bicycle and keeps the city’s piazzas and cafes alive. The historical hub of town is still very evocative of the days when the city and its university flourished in the late Middle Ages and Renaissance as a center of learning and art.
The most important sites in Padua are Giotto’s magnificent, not-to-be-missed frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel (fully restored between 1999 and 2001) and the revered pilgrimage site of the eightdomed Basilica of Sant’Antonio di Padova, whose important equestrian statue by Donatello stands in the piazza before it.
Padua is the first producer both of the white and green asparagus and during its short springtime appearance, the asparagus is an often used ingredient of very simple, yet much widespread recipes. Boiled eggs and asparagus, or the delicate risotto with asparaguses are always on the restaurant menus.
Like the rest of the Veneto region, Padua is well known for its species of vines. DOC wines are produced in five areas and are the topic of several events and exhibition that are usually organized in spring and in autumn.
Typical to northern Italy, Padua’s weather is humid throughout the year with a mild subtropical climate and temperatures rarely fall below 8°C. There are really only two distinct seasons which are cool (November to March) and warm (May to September). In between (May and October), Padua weather remains more temperate and rain is frequent throughout the year round with the heaviest months being June and November.
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.