Padua Italy, the definitive itinerary
(what to see in 1 day)
Padua Italy (an underestimated city by tourist due to its closeness to the majestic Venice), the city of the Saint and chief town of Veneto, is a basket full of treasures to discover. Art, culture, history and gastronomy, impressive squares, alleys, and shops.
Padua can be visited with any atmospheric weather and at any season because it boasts twelve kilometers of arches, third place in Italy after Bologna and Turin.
What to do and see in Padua in one day?
Here the itinerary that I propose to visit the historical center of Padua afoot if you only have one day available. Obviously, this city has a lot of other things to see but time would not be enough, therefore I list here the attractions that according to me that most deserve a visit for your first time.
Our tour starts from the Cappella degli Scrovegni (Scrovegni Chapel): if you arrive by train then you'll just have to cross Corso del Popolo for about 700 meters and you will find the chapel to your left.
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Padua: Scrovegni Chapel
The Cappella degli Scrovegni is one of the most precious jewels in Padua because it hosts very famous frescos of Giotto. It has been built in the area of the ancient Roman arena, purchased in the XIV century by a rich family of bankers, the Scrovegni.
In the early '300 they had the building build and between 1303 and 1305 they committed the Florentine painter Giotto to paint its walls.
I recommend you to visit early in the morning this monument because is less crowded. The visit last in total 30/40 minutes: in the first 15/20 minutes you access in the room of compensation to stabilize the micro-climate of the inside and a look video on the monument and on the frescos that you are about to see.
In the following 15/20 minutes, you can finally enter into the spectacular Chapel of the Scrovegnis, and admire the frescos of Giotto in all their shine.
Time literally flies, I have been with the nose turned up for the entire visit, trying to capture the whole beauty of those works.
When you'll hear the sound of a bell it means that the time is expired.
The Chapel of the Scrovegni is located in Piazza Eremitani 8, it is visitable every day from 9.00 am to 07.00 pm and the visits start every 20 minutes.
The ticket from Tuesday to Sunday cost € 13, € 8 for groups of more than 10 people, € 6 for boys between 6 and 18 years old, € 1 for children up to 5 years and disabled people.
This ticket gives you also the right to access the Museum agli Eremitani e a Palazzo Zuckermann.
The Monday ticket costs € 8, € 6 for groups and € 1 for children up to 5 years, this because on Monday the other two museums are closed.
At the same price of the Monday ticket, exists the evening ticket (only in summer from Tuesday to Sunday) that allows visiting the Chapel in the timeframe between 07.00 pm and 09.00 pm.
Photos are permitted but without flash.
Padua: Museum Civici agli Eremitani
The Civic Museums to the Eremitani is located in the same complex of the Chapel of the Scrovegni and they are divided in Archaeological (plain earth) Museum and Museum of Medieval and Modern art (first floor).
The Archaeological Museum hosts findings of the Paleolithic, pre-Roman and Roman epoch. Two rooms, instead, are devoted to Egypt, thanks to the contribution of the explorer Belzoni.
The Museum of Medieval and Modern art is rich of works realized between '300 and the '800 and boasts great names, among which we find Canova, Tintoretto, Veronese, Tiepolo and many others.
Visit this place takes a lot of time, the Pinacoteca is immense, I have seen it moving fast (I jumped some room that interested me less) and stay there more than an hour.
The Civic Museums to the Eremitani is located in Piazza Eremitani 8 and is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 09.00 am to 07.00 pm (closed on Monday).
The ticket is the same as the Chapel of the Scrovegnis, therefore I invite you to read the previous paragraph for further information. It is possible to take pictures.
Padua: The Eremitani Church
The Church of Saint Filippo and Giacomo (named of the Eremitani) has been built in 1276 and unfortunately, it has suffered quite a lot damages during the second world war.
The frescos on the inside are very interesting, I recommend you to just swing it by.
The Church of the Eremitanis is located in Piazza Eremitani 9 and it is entry free.
Now continue along Corso Garibaldi until you arrive in Piazza Garibaldi, then take Via Cavour and Via VIII Febbraio: on your left, you'll see Palazzo Bo.
Padua: Palazzo Bo
Palazzo Bo is the center of the University of the Studies in Padua since 1943: here is located the more ancient Anatomical Theater of the world.
The Padua 's University born as the center of juridical studies and only after it had widened to other disciplines such as medicine, philosophy, theology, and astronomy.
Building Bo is exclusively visible with a driven visit of the duration of about 45 minutes. Starting from the Great classroom, that from '500 to '700 it holds the "School of the great lawyers" and where also Galileo Galilei taught. Today it is used for the most important ceremonies.
After that you'll enter the Sala dei Quaranta (the Room of Forty), that takes the name from the number of portraits to the walls, representing some illustrious students of the University. Here there is also (according to the tradition) the desk of Galileo Galilei.
Then the Anatomical Theater built in 1594, unfortunately, it is not possible to access the theater, you can only see it through a little hole.
Interesting the statue of Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, the first graduated woman in the world, that got here in Padua the degree in philosophy in 1678.
Building Bo is located at Via VIII Febbraio 2 and is closed on Sundays. The visits are available on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the afternoon and on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday in the morning.
The price of the ticket is € 7 for adults, € 4 for groups from 10 to 35 people, € 2 for the students up to 26 years, free for children under 6 years, and for the students of the university in Padua.
I warmly recommend you this visit, unfortunately, photos cannot be made.
Always continuing on the same road, first through Via Roma and then Via Umberto I, you'll reach the imposing Prato della Valle.
Padua: Prato della Valle
Prato della Valle is the greatest square in Padua and Italy, as well as the greatest second in Europe, it boasts a surface of well 88.620 square meters.
Inside there is a green island, that takes the name of Island Memmia (from the mayor that commissioned the jobs) and it is surrounded by a channel adorned with statues that represent famous characters of the past.
On the background, you can see the Basilica of Saint Giustina.
Now take Via Belludi, you will find yourself before the extraordinary Basilica of the Saint.
Padua: Basilica del Santo
The Basilica of Saint Antonio, called "of the Saint", is a must-see in Padua. Every year arrived million of pilgrims to visit it. It was built at the beginning of 1232 to guard the body of the Franciscan monk.
The external facade is beautiful and majestic, with a mix of Romanesque, Gothic, Byzantine, and Moorish styles melt together to create a perfect harmony.
The inside is also really spectacular, breathtaking. Photos are not allowed.
Before going out of the complex it is possible to also visit the cloister.
The Basilica of Sant'Antonio is located in Piazza del Santo and is open from Monday to Friday from 06.20 am to 06.45 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 06.20 am to the 07.45 pm, the entry is free.
From Piazza del Santo take the street on the left ( Via Orto Botanico) and continue to its end.
Padua: Orto Botanico
The Botanical garden in Padua is World Patrimony of the UNESCO since 1997. It is the most ancient university botanical garden of the world, founded in 1545 to help the students to recognize the medicinal plants.
The plants are orderly in flower bed well defined, according to thematic collections such as poisonous plants, rare plants and on the brink of extinction, medicinal plants and a lot more.
Inside the Garden of the Biodiversity, founded in 2014, have been reproduced the climatic zones of the Earth (tropical forest, moderate areas, Mediterranean areas and arid zones). It is very beautiful to admire all the kinds of plants from the lower ones to the tall one, then going down and climbing again, looking at the colors and feeling the perfumes that nature gives us.
The Botanical garden is located at Via Orto Botanico 15 and on Mondays (with the exception of the months of April and May) are closed.
From April to September it is open from the 9 am to 7 pm, in October from 9 am to 6 pm and from November to March from 9 am to 5 pm. The last entry is allowed 45 minutes before the closing.
The ticket costs € 10, € 8 people over 65 years, € 5 for boys from 6 to 18 years, for the students up to 26 years and for the holders of Padua Card and for children up to 5 years, the disabled persons and the students of the university in Padua it is free. In the Botanical garden, it is possible to take photos.
Now you can return toward the center of the city, take Via Donatello (until you will reach again Prato della Valle), then take back Via Umberto and continue to Via Roma. Reached once again Palazzo Bo, turn to the left through Via Canziano and you will find yourself in the beautiful Piazza delle Erbe.
Padua: Piazza delle Erbe
Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta have been for centuries the commercial center of the city, and today they are still the centers of the market (one of the greatest in Italy).
The two squares are separated by the magnificent Palazzo della Ragione. This building was built between 1218 and 1219 as the center of the administration of the justice.
Today it is possible to visit its vast Hall, long 81 meters, wide 27 meters and tall as many, with well 217 meters of frescos (divided in twelve sections representing the months, the zodiac, the planets, the constellations, the arts and the works) and the Ligneus Horse (used during a medieval tournament in Prato della Valle).
The Palazzo della Ragione is located in Piazza delle Erbe and is closed on Mondays, open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm from November to January and from 9 am to 7 pm from February to October (entry allowed up to 30 minutes before the closing).
The cost is € 4, and it is free for children up to 5 years. The entry is also free for the holders of Padua Card. Photos can be taken inside the Hall, obviously, without flash.
Now continue for Via Fiume, and shortly after you will arrive in the elegant Piazza dei Signori.
Padua: Piazza dei Signori and the Clock Tower
Piazza dei Signori is called to the Carraresi because here their palace rose from 1318 to 1405. Today it is the living room of the city, a place rich of restaurants and locals to take an appetizer.
In the center, there is the Torre dell'Orologio (the Clock Tower), one of the most ancient of Europe.
Turns now to the left on Via Monte Pietà and you will see Piazza Duomo.
Padua: The Cathedral
The Cathedral of Saint Maria Assunta was designed by Michelangelo in 1551. It is very simple in comparison to other religious buildings in the city but I have found it very elegant and fascinating.
The Cathedral of Saint Maria Assunta is located in Piazza del Duomo. It is open in the work days from 7.30 am to 12 o'clock and from 3.45 pm to 7.00, the entry is free.
Padua: Museum Diocesano
The Diocesano Museum is set up inside the Episcopalian Building and it picks up works of different nature, from paintings, and jewels.
My preferred part is, without doubt, the Hall of the Bishops, which almost entertains 900 square meters of frescos.
The Diocesan Museum is located in Piazza del Duomo 12 and it is open from the Thursday to Saturday from 02.00 pm to 06.00 pm and the Sunday from 10 am to 06.00 pm (the box-office closes 30 minutes before).
The ticket costs € 5 and € 4 for groups (students up to 26 years, over 65) and it is free up to 6 years. Photos are admitted.
How to reach Padua, Where to park
and other useful info
- The most comfortable mean of transport to reach Padua, according to me, is the train. The city is well served both from the regional (and regional fast) trains and from high-speed trains (Red Arrow Venice-Salerno, Arrow Silver, Arrow Bianca and Italo Treno).
- A valid alternative to the train is the Flixbus, I have used him really to go to Padua and I have been very well (in that occasion you/he/she has been economic and punctual).
The stop of Flixbus to Padua is Piazzale Boschetti, more comfortable in comparison to the railway station to follow the itinerary that I have proposed.
- If you are with your car, then you can park in Piazza Rabin (€ 1 an hour) and start the itinerary from Prato della Valle.
- My tip is to buy the Padua Card to get discounts in many of the attractions described in this itinerary.
- The length of the itinerary (with starting point the Chapel of the Scrovegni and ending point the Diocesan Museum) is of around 4 kilometers.
The best restaurants in Padua where Italians eat
(not the tourist menu)
After the long walk of my itinerary, you'll probably starve. My tip, don't choose one of those tourist-made restaurants but go where the Italians eat if you want to taste our famous cuisine.
Trattoria da Pippo
Trattoria da Pippo has a very simple atmosphere where you can feel yourself at home. The type of cuisine is purely homemade, and at lunch, the fixed menù is of only € 11,00! The portions are copious, and among the specialties, stands out the Vicentina dried cod. I Recommend to booking in advance.
Al Vecchio Falconiere
A cult place for the citizens, where the meat is prepared under the eyes of the clients. Among the dishes not to be lost I suggest the Canadian buffalo and the bison.
Antica Trattoria dei Paccagnella
A simple kitchen with wines and grappa of high-level. The top dishes are "Ravioloni Montasio, Sfilacci di Cavallo, Fegato alla Veneziana, Bigoli con Sugo di Gallina Imbriaca, numerous are the dishes among which to choose. Excellent also the cakes.