Arriving into Marco Polo airport in Venice allowed us a great bird’s eye view of the Venetian lagoon and all of its islands! It was spectacular seeing it from this vantage point.
We rented our VW Golf from Europcar and because the car wasn’t quite ready when we got there, the staff made us some espressos while we waited! Only in Italy!
A quick drive later, we arrived at our B & B in Padova: Il Cantelino Relais! The receptionist gave us a choice of 3 rooms and we took the one in a private apartment away from the main villa.It’s an adorable room with a bathroom and a shared kitchen (even though we don’t currently have anyone to share it!) The villa was actually a soap factory at one time so there is a big brick furnace as part of the garden. While we were there, a professional photographer was taking promotional pictures for the B & B’s website. We were asked to be models for their website! Even though I told them they should hire professional and beautiful models, they insisted that we were perfect!
From the B & B, it is a quick 10 minute walk to many of the historical parts of Padova. Our first destination was the Prato della Valle. We didn’t get to really experience it’s grandeur because today was mercato day and the stands were obstucting the view. But we will return to take it all in. Instead, we enjoyed seeing all the wares at the mercato!
A short walk from the Prato is the magnificent Basilica of S. Antonio.
The interior is completely covered in frescoes and very beautiful!
We visited the tomb of S. Antonio and said a little prayer as we touched our hands on his marble tomb. We also visited the reliquary room where we saw his vestments and wooden coffin…not to mention his tongue, vocal cords and lower jaw (complete with teeth!) I know it sounds gruesome, but it was actually very interesting. They were all housed in gloriously ornate receptacles worthy of their priceless treasures. Also housed in another ornate vase was a piece of Christ’s cross.
Across from the Church was the Bar Ristorante Sant’Antonio where we had some great Italian pizza and some Prosecco…all while seeing the gorgeous basilica across the street. We did notice the soldiers with their machine guns standing guard across the street from the Basilica and in front of the restaurant – it seems like security has been greatly heightened around these more famous public buildings and churches.
Fortified from our pizza, we walked to the Piazza dei Eremiti to try to see if we could visit the Scrovegni Chapel. Too late and already booked up for the day, we made plans to visit it later in the week. The chapel, though, sits inside a park which was once a Roman amphitheater. Crumbling walls still stand encircling the park.
Taking the pedestrian only walkway, we passed by stands filled with chocolate eggs and other chocolate delicacies. These were temporary stands so I’m not sure if they were only there for the day or more permanently. We’ll have to investigate later this week!
We finished off our first day in Padova with an Aperol Spritz before heading back to our little B & B!