Along the Corso Garibaldi,
you come to Piazza Cavour where you can find the Caffè
Pedrocchi, an architectural neo-classic masterpiece of 1831,
by the architect Jappelli: at the time it was always open,
and was characteristic by themed rooms, also by the first
organisation of Renaissance meetings.
Shortly after, you’ll see the historical seat, since
1493, of the University, nicknamed “The Bo” after
the old hotel originally situated there, The Locanda al Bove.
The old “stadium” dating back to 1222, was instantly
characterized by students of law and the notary profession,
as well as those of medicine, philosophy and grammar.
From the University you can reach Palazzo della Ragione a
bulky building, sharing space with Piazza delle Erbe and the
Piazza della Frutta – and this last embellishment scantily
restored Loggia della Gran Guardia, dal Palazzo del Capitanio
e dalla Torre dell’Orologio – obviously, the two
market squares of Padova. The main body of the Palazzo della
Ragione dates back to 1218, the large dome and external loggias
were added in 1306. The main hall – embellished with
frescoes from astrological month cycles and wooden horse figures
from Gattamelata by Donatello – with its 79 metres in
depth, is the largest vaulted room of old architectural history:
a true masterpiece of engineering.
From the Piazza delle Erbe, we come to the area of the Duomo
(Cathedral) and the old (Battistero (Baptistery): the first
construction of the Cathedral dates back to the 12th Century,
what you see today, is the reconstruction of 1552 and of the
neo-classic period; on the other hand, the Battistero, maintains
its Roman characteristics of 1260 and internally still has
frescoes from 1378 by Giusto dè Menabuoi, depicting
the life of Maria, S. Giovanni (John) and Jesus, and the frescoed
dome representing Paradise.
Following the old Roman road, you come to Prato della Valle,
88,620 square metres in dimension, making it the largest square
in Europe: completed in 1775 following the reclamation of
the land it’s situated on and reflecting perfect illuminist
urbanization. It has always been the scene for great events:
the first, in August 1808, hosting the first flight of an
Italian hot air balloon.
Between the Piazza (square) and the Basilica del Santo (Saints
Cathedral) you can find the l’Orto Botanico (Botanical
Gardens), one of the most important gardens in the world,
which even caught the attention, praise and curiosity of Leonardo
From Prato della Valle, across via Belludi (Belludi road)
you can reach the Basilica del Santo, a world Christian centre.
Constructed between 1232 and 1394, and then adding successive
phases for its completion. It has a Roman/Gothic style, not
forgetting the Islamic and Byzantine touches. The relics of
St. Anthony are contained therein, making it a Meta of continual
pilgrimage, as well as a place of preservation for masterpieces
by the artists Donatello, Altichiero and Giusto Dè
An equestrian monument, by Donatello, has been erected in
the Cathedral’s churchyard. Completed in 1453 and dedicated
to the army leader Erasmo da Narni, nicknamed the Gattamelata:
one of the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance.
Going back through via del Santo, you encounter the restored
Palazzo Zabarella, luxurious private accommodation, now the
main seat for prestigious temporary exhibitions.