Veneto - Places to visit - Padua (Padova)
Situated twelve metres above sea level in the lower Venetian plain between the Brenta and the Bacchiglione rivers, about twenty kilometres from the lagoon of Venice, Pauda was, according to legend, founded by Antenore, mythical Trojan prince; an important Roman municipium in 452, it was destroyed by Attila.
After the period of the free cities (comuni) (11th century), it was the property of Ezzelino da Romano (1237), followed by the Scaligeris and the Carraras, who dominated it until 1405, the year in which it became part of the Republic of Venice; it then shared Venetian vicissitudes until 1797.
After the Napoleonic and Lombard-Venetian periods, it became part of the kingdom of Italy in 1866.
Principal Monuments: The Basilica di Sant'Antonio (13th-14th century), Romanesque-Gothic with Venetian and Byzantine elements: in the interior, sculptures by Donatello and Sansovino, paintings by Titian; Palazzo della Ragione (13th-15th century), Cappella degli Scrovegni (early 14th century chapel with frescoes by Giotto), Chiesa degli Eremitani (13th century church with frescoes by Mantegna), Chiesa di Santa Sophia (9th century church), Chiesa di Santa Giustina (16th century church, paintings by Veronese), Duomo (rebuilt in the 16th century) with Battistero (13th century Romanesque baptistry), equestrian statue of Gattamelata, a masterpiece by Donatello.
The Paduan economy is based on a well-articulated industrial sector, particularly active in the engineering, chemical and textile sectors; commerce and agriculture are important as well as activities related to tourism, religion (pilgrimages to the Basilica di Sant'Antonio) and to the ancient and well-attended University.
Events: Biennale della Piccola Scultura (biennial sculpture exhibition), Spring festival, Feast day of Sant'Antonio, International Trades Fair (from May to June) and numerous individual fairs (footwear, transport, tourism, floriculture, etc.), Giuseppe Tartini violin festival.
Famous People: Tito Livio (Latin historian, 59 BC.-17 AD.), Marsilio (philosopher, 1275-1342), Angelo Beolco known as "il Ruzante" (playwright, 1502-1542), Andrea Palladio (architect, 1508-1580), Gaspara Stampa (poetess, 1523-1554), Bartolomeo Cristofori (inventor of the piano, 1655-1732), Ippolito Nievo (writer and patriot, 1831-1861) and Arrigo Boito (poet and musician, 1842-1918).
Cultural Institutions: The university, founded in 1222 (the oldest in Italy after Bologna), Museo Civico (civic museum with paintings of the Venetian school, from 1300 to 1700), Orto Botanico (botanical garden), Biblioteca Capitolare (library) and the Biblioteca e Museo Antoniani (library and museum).
In the Province: Abano Terme (thermal spa), Monselice (city of art), Este (city of art, Museo Nazionale Atestino), Montagnana (civic museum), Arqu Petrarca (tomb and home-museum of the poet Francesco Petrarca), Cittadella (Pinacoteca del Duomo, art gallery), Borgoricco (Museo della Centuriazione Romana), Piazzola sul Brenta (Galleria di Villa Contarini).