forex trading logo
Italian - ItalyEnglish (United Kingdom)

Who's Online

We have 12 guests online
Home Location About Padua
About Padua Print E-mail

 

PADUA:
- Il Prato senza erba (The lawn without grass)
- Il Santo senza nome (The Saint without a name)
- Il Caffè senza porte (The cafè without doors)

These are the three definitions that have always characterised the city of Padua. "Prato delle Valle" is a famous town square and not a lawn at all! Saint Anthony's Basilica is known simply as "Il Santo" (The Saint) by the local townspeople. The famous cafè-bar "Pedrocchi" was built in the 19th century without doors as it was open all the time, day and night!

 

                                 View of Padua                                      St. Anthony's Basilica

 

The city of Padua lies 40km west of Venice. As well as being an important economic hub in the north east of Italy, it boasts a glorious cultural and artistic past with many important sights to see. Its town squares, porticoes and cobbled streets reflect the rich history of the town and the continuing bustle of modern life. City of Art, with a prestigious architectural patronage, Padua is visited by thousands of tourists each year from all over the world. Visitors marvel at the fascinating blend of ancient and modern life encapsulated in the unique city streets of Padua. 

  

A BRIEF HISTORY OF PADUA 

 An ancient legend found in Virgil's "Aeneid" recounts how the city of Padua was founded by the Homeric hero "Antenore" escaping from Troy as it was raized to the ground. Historically speaking, Padua was established over three thousand years ago as a dwelling place in the vicinity of the River Brenta. The name "Patavium", from which emerged "Padua", may well refer to the latin word "Padus" which indicates the relationship between the settlement of the "Paleo-Veneti" tribes and the flowing waters of the river. "Patavium" was one of the most prosperous cities of the Roman Empire. After the Barbarian invasion and a period of decline, the city revived in around 1000AD. It became a free Comune and it reached the peak of its power under the governance of the "signoria dei Carraresi" (1338-1405). In 1222 the prestigious university was founded, one of the oldest in the world (second only to Bologna in Italy), it was frequented by many illustrious characters including Galileo Galiliei and Copernicus. During the 15th century the city came under the dominion of the Venetian Republic but the republic's capitulation in 1796 following the first Napoleonic campaign in Italy, brought the city under French domination and Austrian domination soon after. This came to an end when Padua was annexed into the newly formed "Kingdom of Italy" of 1866. In the 20th century, Padua was subject to heavy bombing raids during the two World Wars. However, despite such bombardment, the city's unique urban structure remains almost intact: narrow porticoed streets, old town squares, monuments, ancient houses mixed in with more modern buildings, museums, galleries and much more... a city to explore and discover! 

 

IMPORTANT MONUMENTS AND SIGHTS WORTH VISITING

 St. Anthony's Basilica                                                                                        

Locally known as “Il Santo”, the Basilica is an imposing construction in Romanesque-Gothic style with eight domes and spires of eastern inspiration. It was started immediately after the death of St. Anthony in 1231 and completed at the beginning of the following century. The Basilica houses the body and tomb of the Portuguese Saint Anthony and it is the destination of pilgrims from all over the world. In the square stands Donatello's bronze equestrian monument to the Venetian army leader Erasmo da Narni, known as “Gattamelata”. It was completed in 1453 and it is the first full-size equestrian bronze cast since antiquity. It was inspired by the Marcus Aurelius equestrian sculpture which stands on Capitol Hill in Rome.

 

 

Prato della Valle
This is one of the biggest squares in Europe (about 90000 m²). During Roman Times there was a vast theatre: the "Zairo" (some of the remnants of which are still present to this day under the water of the surrounding canal). This area also played host to horse and chariot races. In the Middle Ages it was the scene of fairs, jousts, tournaments, competitions, public assemblies and a site for trading animals. The current configuration of the square dates back to the end of the 18th century and it is the work of Andrea Memmo, a prominent curator of the Venetian Republic. He decided to build a central elliptical island (called “Memmia island” in his honour) which was divided by four walkways and surrounded by a canal, along which run a double ring of statues devoted to renowned people of the town (78 in total). A third ring was planned but never realized. The term “Pratum” was used in Medieval Times to refer to a wide area for commercial use that could also be covered by grass. The term “Valle” means “marshy place” and derives from the formation of the area which was subject to flooding till the end of the 18th century.

 

 

 Caffè Pedrocchi
Commissioned by Antonio Pedrocchi and realized, in neo-classical style, by the Venetian architect Giuseppe Jappelli, the historical Café was inaugurated in 1831. The building has two floors and a piano-shaped layout. The ground floor is the real café. Each room is named after the colour of the tapestry with which it is adorned. The “White Room” is particularly famous because it bears the mark of a bullet fired during riots in 1848.
The upper floor, also called “Piano Nobile” houses a series of rooms decorated and furnished in various styles, with stucco, curtains and chandeliers typical of the 19th century. At present, these rooms host cultural events, shows and temporary exhibitions. The Pedrocchi has represented a glimpse of ordinary life of the last two centuries. Even at the very beginning, the café became the hub of city life because of its central location near the University. It was called “The Café without doors” because it was always open, day and night, until the First World War. Attended by professors, students, artists, writers and patriots, it was the scene of the 1848 student uprisings of the Risorgimento. Since 1891, the Café has been the property of the Municipality of Padua by the will of its heirs. At the Cafè Pedrocchi you can also visit the “Museum of the Risorgimento and Contemporary Age” 

 

Learn Italian under the Italian sun! We offer intensive Italian courses and a variety of excursions all year round. For more information just send us an e-mail. info@ispeakschool.it