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Padua or Padova

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With my brief yet enjoyable visit to Venice at an end, I made my way to the railway station to take a 45-minute train journey to the city of Padova (Padua in English) famed for its enormous Prato Della Valle Plaza, its Basilica, and for being the birthplace of Aperol Spritzers…

Now for this part of my Italian adventure, I was joined by my old pal Tony who knows a thing or two about Italy, as he works for a rather excellent Italian Tour Operator. It was therefore my decision to take it easy and let Tony lead the way.

A 40-minute train journey from Venice to Padova cost just €4.70. As I repeat time after time in my posts, it is such good value to travel by train in Europe!!

Now Tony was staying in a charming little hotel. I wasn’t. Having booked late I was staying in an apartment near the station where a few shady characters loitered outside the rather uninspiring entrance to my diggs. Once I hurried through to safety I then struggled with the room safe and, as I sat on the shelf next to it, to try and understand how to work the damn thing, the shelf together with the safe and myself collapsed in a heap on the floor. I needed a drink.

By Night

Wandering around central Padova at night was lovely with the city alive with al fresco restaurants and bars on pretty, stylishly lit, cobbled streets. We met at the Prato Della Valle Plaza which is known as the largest elliptical square in Europe. There are some 78 statues of famous Padova historical figures encompassing the square – I won’t name them all.

After mooching and getting a feel for the city we found the really fabulous Bar, Birreria Da Umbe where every table featured a rather dated sewing machine. Now after my previous day’s experience in Venice with the Asian seamstress, I am wondering if there is a theme going on here?

Padua City Highlights

Sunday was earmarked to explore the city. After wandering around the wonderful old streets on my own discovering a fabulous Sunday morning art market, an oh-so-special Fiat 500 and numerous squares with coffee shops springing into life, it was time to meet Tony.

We met at the Prato Della Valle to see it in the daylight before heading to the Basilica of Saint Anthony.

Basilica of Saint Anthony

As it was named after Anthony, Tony insisted on going in on this busy Sunday morning. I have to admit I am not normally one for an early morning Basilica but as it happens I enjoyed the experience which was, credit where credit is due, magnificent.

As an added bonus I was delighted to be handed a free bread roll and a prayer as we left…. I was starving but have kept my prayer handy as I am sure I might need it at some point on this trip!

Museum La Specola

The last stop was my idea. I had been told by a random Italian to go to the Museum La Specola, an Astronomical Observatory where it is believed Galileo studied the stars. Now I am no Patrick Moore but I thought this might be good to see.

In the midday heat we wandered to the Museum which is located on the pretty river bank but Mamma Mia it was closed…. there was to be no Galileo Galileo for us this morning in Padova! Tony took note that this had been my idea and is taking a tighter hold of our itinerary going forward!

We went for a sandwich, a beer and an Aperol Spritzer to commiserate.

Fun Times in Padua

It was soon time for us to hit the tracks. After a somewhat challenging start to my stay, I grew to really like Padua or Padova. If you have the time to get under the skin of city you will discover an arty vibe, great food and a lively nightlife. It makes a great day trip from Venice or a two-night stay would be perfect to really get a feel of the city.

If you are planning an Italian adventure then add it to the itinerary… but stay in a central hotel !!


For more information on visiting Padua in Italy, contact the Italian Tourist Office or contact your local travel agent or tour operator.

All photos were taken by myself and should be credited if used to @justonefortheroad



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