February 13, 2009
Padua: a perfect day trip from Venice
Known as the City of Frescoes, Padua is a compact historic town less than an hour from Venice. It has a lively university atmosphere, great outdoor cafes and a wealth of cultural treasures well worth seeing. In fact, fitting all of them into one day can be a challenge! For our travelers, we take care of the mandatory advance reservations at the renowned Scrovegni (Arena) Chapel so they can see Giotto’s incredible 14th-century frescoes—a masterpiece of Western painting. Our travelers also enjoy the intricately frescoed walls and ceiling inside the Baptistery, as well as the array of frescoed scenes (astrological, biblical, mythical) inside the vast Palazzo della Ragione.
Our Padua tours also include the open-air produce markets that flank the Palazzo, and the weekend market that takes over the stunning Prato della Valle, an elliptical park and plaza surrounded by life-size statues of notable locals.
Padua also has a special treat for garden lovers: the oldest botanical garden in the world. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Orto Botanico is a hidden oasis encircled by a wall and tucked behind ancient buildings in the middle of town. It’s quiet and cool on a hot summer day, with secluded fountains, a 400-year-old palm tree that inspired Goethe, and a wide variety of herbs, succulents, and medicinal plants from around the world. It also has views of the rooftops of the nearby Basilica of St. Anthony—one of Italy’s most popular pilgrimage sites.
Padua is about 30 minutes by car from Venice and en route to Verona, other parts of the fascinating Veneto Region, the Lake District and Milan.