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Padua: history and art

Padua is one of the most important cultural and economical centres of north- eastern Italy


Cities of art of Veneto Region

Taste, Art, History, Passion:
a theme for each direction


Padova: history and art ››

Cittadella: walled town ››

Treviso and the Marca ››

Venice ››

The lagoon and islands ››

Verona among history and passions ››

Vicenza and Palladio ››

The walled towns ››

The Brenta Villas ››


The city and its history have become famous abroad for different reasons: first of all Padua is the city of St. Anthony, a saint worshipped throughout the world, but it's also where Italy's second oldest University, after Bologna, was founded and became renowned for giving hospitality to scholars such as Galileo and Copernico. The city can also boast one of the biggest and most beautiful squares in Europe: Prato della Valle; an important artistic legacy such as the Scrovegni Chapel frescoed with the most complete and best preserved work by Giotto; the Palazzo della Ragione, the biggest public building of the Italian Middle Ages and of course a variety of churches.


The history

According to the legend, Padua was founded about 1183 b.C. by Antenore, the mythical hero who managed to escape from Troy.
But the area was already inhabited in the X century b.C. and became the main Venetian centre throughout the IV century b.C.
During the Roman rule it was one of the most thriving cities of the empire. After the barbarian invasions and a period of decline the city recovered in the year 1000: it became a free city-state and was later ruled by the seigniory of the Carraresi.
The University was founded in 1222 whereas St.Antonio died in 1231. In the XV century the city was ruled by the Republic of Venice until 1797 when it passed under the Austrian domain. in 1866 it became part of the Reign of Italy and was involved in the two world wars enduring many bombings.
After the war the city developed quickly and became one of the main economical centres of northern Italy.



Guide to monuments

Padua is one of the main Italian art cities and one of the most popular tourist destinations. The city has an extraordinary religious heritage starting from the Basilica of St. Antonio, the majestic church built in 1232 and that holds highly valued masterpieces. Other important churches are the Basilica of St. Giustina and the Cathedral with the adjacent Baptistery belonging to the XII century and completely frescoed by Giusto de' Menabuoi.

A work of art renowned all over the world is the Scrovegni Chapel entirely frescoed by Giotto between 1303 and 1305 with scenes from the life of Jesus and Mary. Padua also has many important palaces and buildings: first of all the "Palazzo della Ragione" built in 1218 whose grandeur cannot be compared to any other European public building at the time of the communes. Furthermore we cannot forget the University with the Anatomical Theatre (1594) and the Botanical Gardens (1545), the oldest in the world. Padua also has beautiful squares such as "Piazza della Frutta e delle Erbe", "Piazza dei Signori" and the wonderful "Prato della Valle", the second largest European square.

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