|The beauty of Padova
Goethe described this city as being 'almost German', others allowed themselves to be captured by the fascination which surrounds it during the long winter days. Stendhal loved the city with a passion. Garibaldi and Galileo Galilei, Gaspare Gozzi and Ugo Foscolo passed through and were inspired by what they saw.
Padova is a chameleon-like, contradictory city, and is able to meet the
needs of both residents and visitors alike. Although the people of Padova
may not be the most sociable, underneath this surly exterior beats a great
heart and treat guests with kid gloves.
The 'city of S.Antonio' is the destination of the many pilgrims from all over the world, the ancient Patavium is one of the major Italian cities as far as art is concerned. One needs only take a stroll around Padova to understand this: it looks after the remains of the Anfiteatro Romano, the Cappella degli Scrovegni with its marvelous frescoes of Giotto, the Botanical Gardens, the University, among some of the most glorious antiques in Europe, which coexist in perfect harmony with the Caffè Pedrocchi, the suggestive colours of the market in the Piazze and the luxury shopping in the Borromeo Gallery, in places such as Versace or Armani, or in the ultra-chic Via S. Fermo, in the glorious Hermés store.
It is best to leave your car in the one of the numerous parking spots on the outskirts of the city. Padova is a city that needs to be visited by foot, taking advantage of the free detailed guides that are given away by Apt or by making use of the network of buses run by Acap which stop at places that are sure to be of interest for tourists. There is only one rule if you visit the city: Get involved! - with the frenetic happiness that exists around the university, culminating in the student celebrations of the newly graduated (the password: don't be shocked!); with lazy walks along the 'Liston', window shopping; involve yourself in the discussions on the prices of everything in the market; take part in the ritual of an aperitif in the Piazzas; delight in the monuments that unlock 3000 years of history; or with the parties and that liven up the neighbouring Veneto villages and the nightspots.
The province also has a great deal of heritage in terms of art, culture and nature; this often remains undetected by visitors - the Euganei hills for example, are one of the most breathtaking, flourishing attractions surrounding the city. They are immortalized in verses praising their beauty and fertility, verses by the Roman poets Properzio, Lucano and Martial, they were also particularly favoured by Petrarch who spent his last years here, and Ugo Foscolo, which can be read in his last letters to Jacopo Ortis. They contain splendid countryside and unforgettable especially in spring, glowing with almond blossom, and at the start of the autumn, when the hills are reddish in colour and the harvest time begins.
At the foot of the hills are the spa towns of Abano and Montegrotto that have been famous for a long time due to the therapeutic properties of the mud and the volcanic waters, which gush out at 87°. These areas are now known throughout the world for the high standards of their hotels and their health spas.
A journey outside the city will lead you towards innumerable castles and villas (especially Villa Contarini di Piazzola sul Brenta) spread throughout the territory, they are treasure chests filled with magnificent works of art. There are many monasteries such as the Abbazia di Praglia, and churches built for monastic orders. The whole province is there to be discovered perhaps riding a bike up the slopes of the hills, or towards the walled Medieval cities (Monselice Este, Montagnana, Citadella) or maybe crossing the countryside and heading towards the Valle Millecampi. The itinerario per le vie d'acqua is fascinating, it takes you along the rivers of Brenta and Bacchiglione and other small canals, which actually lead straight on to Venice.