Tag Archives: scrovegni chapel

Padova Finale

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During our trip, we split up our exploration of Padova over several days. Padova is actually very small and you can visit the same places several times over – but the beauty is that you can explore these places at different times of the day and have a completely new experience. During our final saunter into Padova, during daylight hours, we revisited Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta (along with the “food court” located between the two underneath the Palazzo della Raggione.) The food court is actually a marketplace for meats, cheeses, pasta, and fish.

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 Everything looked delicious and fresh, and you can be sure if I lived there, this is where I would do all my shopping! In either piazza, you could also pick up your fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers! Supermarkets are great, but I don’t think anything can replace the quality of food that can be found in these establishments – some of them in existence for centuries. I heard a rumor that these kinds of shops were dying…let’s hope not! This slow food movement (at least, that’s what I’m calling it) has to persist and I feel has a very important place in society – not only for our physical health but also our mental one! Neighbors and friends find each other here, and even take a break from their shopping to share an espresso or glass of prosecco! Relaxing and socializing with each other is good for us…we are social creatures who need interactions with others! You can’t get that at the supermarket!

After wandering and lusting over all the food we saw, our appetite was getting the best of us – as well as the desire to sit in an Italian piazza sipping on a glass of wine while eating a delicious panino sandwich! In the Piazza delle Erbe, tucked into a corner, is a gorgeous outdoor restaurant, Bar Nazionale, which specializes in panino’s and tramezzino’s (small sandwiches grilled on thinly sliced bread and filled with all sorts of goodies!)

You can people watch, drink an aperitivo, and eat simple fare while surrounded by stunning architecture.

Right above us was the old Palazzo della Raggione which deserved a quick look see. We had purchased a 48 hour Padova Card for our time in Padova – many of the buildings are free with this card. The buses are free, too, so it’s a pretty good deal. The Palazzo della Raggione was included in the Padova Card and so we thought we’d take advantage of the card and have a look. You need to walk up some stairs, but once up, you have a great view of the piazza below as well as a chance to walk under some heavily frescoed arched ceilings. Anytime I see painted ceilings, I fall in love!

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From here, you enter into a huge hall, which once again, is completely frescoed. The decorations are always so stunning and it’s unbelievable how many places have such rich wall and ceiling decorations! There sure were a lot of artists being kept employed in all this decoration!

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Near these piazzas and definitely within walking distance is the Palazzo del Bo. It is actually one of the University of Padova’s many campuses and, surprisingly, one we had walked through the evening before. Little did we know at that time that this was one of Padova’s main attractions! Within this campus is the Anatomy Theater where the inside of the human body was originally explored. We took a tour to see this interesting theater – it includes 6 or 7 tiers of balconies where the students could look down on the cadaver and observe the interior of the body.

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The cadavers were those of dead convicts and it was believed that by allowing their bodies to be used for science, they would be forgiven their sins and find an easier way into purgatory. The scholars had to find ways to appease the Church in order to perform these scientific experiments and this arrangement seemed to make everyone happy. This campus was also where Galileo Gallilei taught mathematics for many years, before he was excommunicated from the Church for his astrological beliefs.

From here, we walked to the Piazza dei Eremiti to explore the church there. This old church, built in the 13th century, was heavily bombed during WWII so many of the frescoes were damaged.

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An orchestra was setting up on the altar and we got to hear a bit of their practicing – the acoustics were incredible and the sound unbelievably beautiful. Too bad we couldn’t stay for the concert, but we had tickets to see the Scrovegni Chapel decorated by Giotto. This was the private chapel of a nobleman name Scrovegni, who had a gorgeous palace built for him and his family on the grounds of an ancient Roman arena. Sadly, the palace is gone, but fortunately the chapel has remained.

The wall frescoes tell the story of Mary and Jesus, and you can “read” the stories from the Bible within the panels. The Scrovegni Chapel is included in the Padova Card with free admission.

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Dinner tonight was at Gourmeteria – an excellent restaurant and shop! Everything we ate was delicious and very fresh. I had gnocchi with a butter/sage sauce – so good!

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An Introduction to the City of St. Anthony – Padova

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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!

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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.

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The interior is completely covered in frescoes and very beautiful!

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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.

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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!

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