TOWER WITH MANY NAMES!
The bell tower of the City Hall has many names. Although it is currently known as Torre degli Anziani (Tower of the Elders), it is also referred to as Tower of the Commune, Old Tower, High Tower or Tower of all Saints (since its bell used to ring in the major festivals). Like as if those names were not enough, it was also named the White Tower because once it was covered with plaster to contrast with the old Red Tower. An earthquake partially destroyed the brick tower, and only a brick base remains today. Both the red and the white towers represent the two colours of the local flag.
Towering over the Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall) in Piazza Della Frutta, the Torre degli Anziani rises 47 meters high. It is the tallest building in the historic centre of Padua from where you can see the entire city.
The tower, made of brick and stone, stands on an eight-metre spur that is largely buried. As was the custom in ancient times, these building materials dating back to Roman times were reused to build this tower.
When the municipality acquired the tower, two interventions were carried out: straightening it since it leaned to one side and making it higher by adding a new bell tower.
Formerly the tower housed two bells, which warned the population of possible catastrophes. The bell named"di Terza" was withdrawn in 1750, while the large bell was used practically until the beginning of the 20th century. This larger one, brought to Padua at the end of the third century, suffered several incidents. In August 1749, while it was ringing during the San Rocco procession, it fell. It was remade, this time a little lighter so that it can fit better, but again it broke. Bad luck? Or just a rushed-up lousy job?
Finally, it was decided to melt down the bell to create a new and more solid one, similar to the original, weighing 3336 kg. and a diameter of 175 cm.
The new bell was fixed in an octagonal lantern decorated with marble balustrades. With this new top, the tower reached56 meters high. Subsequently, a plenary session of the council decided to remove the baroque lantern (due to overweight problems) and leave the tower with a simple battlement decoration, similar to medieval castles.
In 2004, the tower was opened to the public thanks to a concession to an astronomical association. It was described as "the tower to gaze at the stars".
A " controversial " metal cover was recently installed to hold back the tiles that were falling off.
Guglielmo Oberdan, 18
Open every day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
GELATO, PER PIACERE!
Being in an Italian city and not trying their ice cream is a sin. Moreover, the ones who think that ice-creams are only for summer are thoroughly mistaken. Any time of the year and day is perfect to taste its infinite flavours and freshness.
Gelato derived from the Latin word "gelatus", which means frozen. It is an artisan product, elaborated with great care, and, without a doubt, one of the main elements of Italian gastronomy.
In Classical Rome, it was kept underground, covered in ice and snow brought from the top of the mountains. Natural products such as milk and fruit juice were mixed with sugar or honey and served chilled.
The recipe was refined and reached its peak during the Renaissance. It first appeared at Medici banquets, and the social elite became fond of it when the Florentine cook Bernardo Buontalenti added some cream and egg. And that´s how modern gelato was born in 1565.
In Sicily, the fisherman Francesco Procopio Dei Coltelli developed the first ice cream machine in 1686.
The gelato arrived from the Florentine ice cream parlours to the court of France through its queen, the Florentine Catherine de Medici. Its success quickly spread through the European courts.
However, it only reached the public in the first third of the 20th century, when the ice cream cart was invented in the city of Varese.
One of the secrets of its success is its artisan production with high-quality fresh products, with no additives, aromas or preservatives. The tradition has been passed down through generations, and today it is deep within the Italian gene. There is not a single town in the whole of Italy that does not have some gelateria.
By reducing the fat (between 4 and 8%) and getting less air into the production process, you get creamier ice cream, low in sugar (between 16 and 22%) and with such an intense flavour, you won´t be able to resist.
The only tricky thing is choosing the flavour! There are so many aromas and combinations that it may take you a longtime to decide.
It is very light and healthy. You can have it in a cup or a cone, covered or not with chocolate.
What is your favourite flavour?
SWEET OF THE SAINT!
The item that we want to highlight when shopping locally is a typical pastry from Padua and the surrounding area, Il Dolce del Santo.
It was created to praise Saint Anthony and is especially consumed on the day of his festivity, every June 13.
Everyone knows the infinite love of Saint Anthony towards the poor and the beggars, who used to come to the Saint to ask for bread. Charity is one of the oldest precepts of the Catholic Church. "Feed the hungry": Ecclesiastes 11: 1
The monks used to give bread to the needy. Nevertheless, it got better over time, adding butter, egg, and sugar. This sweet is the evolution of bread, to which they kept adding more and more passion and devotion.
It is so easy to prepare that you can do it at home. Please feel free to try out the following recipe:
60 gr. of butter
1 roll of puff pastry
2-3 tablespoons apricot jam
50 gr. raisins
candied orange at will
30 gr. crushed almonds
90 gr. sugar
1 vanilla bean
75 gr. flour
25 gr. cornstarch
Melt the butter in a saucepan and then let it cool.
Spread the puff pastry on its wrapping, forming a 19 cm square mould. Unfold the edges to the outside so that they can be wrapped later.
Fill with the jam, then the crushed almonds, the raisins and the candied orange. Turn the oven to 175 degrees.
Beat the eggs with sugar and a pinch of salt until the mixture is clear and puffy.
Add the seeds of the vanilla bean. Then add the butter.
Sift the flour with the cornstarch and add it to the egg without disassembling it
Finally, add it to the other ingredients of the puff pastry.
Fold the puff pastry mould sheets inwards to close them and place them in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Check the cooking and observe how the bread browns and puffs up. Its shape will remind the dome of the Basilica del Santo, doesn´t it?
Once you take it out of the oven, let it cool before cutting.
MONUMENTAL SQUARE… OR A SQUARE MONUMENT!
Can you picture yourself in the middle of the largest square in Italy, both elegant and monumental and surrounded by nature?
Well, this square can be found in Padua. Il Prato Della Valle has an elliptical shape with 90,000 m2. In the middle, there is L´Isola Memmia, a green "island" covered with grass and rows of trees crossing in the centre.
A water canal with 78 monumental statues surrounds the islet. Initially, there were 88 of them representing influential personalities born in the Republic of Venice, such as Popes, politicians, painters, Doges of Venice, procurators, and ecclesiastics. Forty of these statues can be found in the outer ring and thirty-eight in the inner circle. This ring is a great place to sit and admire the magnitude of this square. There are so many angles from which you can take great photos that it can become challenging to decide.
Until the first third of the 17th century, Il Prato Della Valle was a marshy area. Starting from that time, a group of prominent citizens financed the construction of a theatre where horse battles were performed. The opening music at the beginning of each performance developed into the first operas in 1637.
After whom the islet is named and whose statue is part of the 40 statues in the outer ring, the politician Andrea Memmo is the architect of the present-day square. The city´s benefactor lived in the Palazzo Angeli, where the Cinema Museum is located today, adjacent to the Umberto I avenue. This 15th-century Palace is just one of the many built between the 14th and 18th centuries that embellish the square.
On the other side of the square stands the huge Abbey of Santa Giustina, 118.5 m. long by 82 meters wide. The remains of its patron saint, Santa Giustina and the evangelists Saint Matthews and Saint Luke rest inside.
Today, the square is a popular social gathering place. Many of Its inhabitants, mostly students, roam around here frequently, and countless tourists come to enjoy its monumentality. Due to its large dimensions, markets, fairs and festivals are often held here.
KNOWLEDGE DOES NOT TAKE PLACE!
The University of Padua, founded in 1222 by professors and students from the University of Bologna, is the second oldest University in Italy. It is also one of the most important in the country as it taught science, which was banned in medieval Europe. The Inquisition persecuted scientists who were defined as " lecturers ", convicting them as heretics.
In addition to the usual subjects such as law, theology and medicine, Art and Science were established here. It covered letters, philosophy, dialectics, grammar and astronomy.
The Bo Palace is the main building of the University of Padua. Built-in the s. XVI, in Renaissance style, is located in the heart of the city via 8 Febbraio 1848 nº 2.
Inside the Palace, several elements stand out:
The inner courtyard, one of the best examples of Renaissance architecture, with a double loggia with Doric columns on the lower floor and Ionic columns on the upper floor.
The anatomical theatre, which was attended to see autopsies, is the oldest in the world. Built in 1594, it was used for teaching until 1872.
Galileo´s Chair, made of walnut wood, in the Aula Magna. Galileo Galilei taught astronomy for 18 years between 1592 and 1610 and is considered the father of modern astronomy. He perfected the telescope and even lost the vision in one eye from so much use.
The University had several distinguished professors and students. Nicolaus Copernicus taught at the University between 1501 and 1506. He formulated the heliocentric theory of the solar system, considered the most important theory in the history of science.
John of Nepomuk, Patron Saint of Prague, studied here between 1340 and 1343 until he graduated in canon law. He would end up becoming the confessor of Sofia of Bavaria, queen consort of Bohemia. Her refusal to break the secret of confession provoked the ire of her husband, King Wenceslas IV, who had him sacrificed, ripped out his tongue and thrown into the Vltava River.
Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia was the world´s first woman to graduate, with a degree in philosophy, in 1678.
It currently has 13 faculties and some 65,000 students. Given its international prestige, it is one of the favourites for international students.
Human beings have always felt the need to express their thoughts and ideas in a graphic, free and very subjective way. One of the multiple means is graffiti, which expresses that popular feature, as old as humanity, turned into street art.
Prehistoric people already made their graffiti inside the caves they inhabited, and, over time, they have been considered works of art.
So are the graffiti by local artist Kenny Random. His real name is Andrea Coppo, born in Padua in 1971, and his works have crossed borders. Nowadays, because of Wikipedia, it is almost impossible for him to remain anonymous. He is uncomfortable around people and prefers to draw at night. He never appears in photos, not even during his exhibitions.
His works began to colour the city in the 80s. They are easily recognizable by the black silhouettes of a cat and an elf dressed in a smock and top hat, which appear in many of his graffiti. Other standard features are elongated faces and cartoon or comic characters.
The city adores him. His drawings have been respected and maintained even in many home renovation works. However, some of his murals have suffered vandalism, and he has been criticized for lack of originality, although no one has ever accused him of plagiarism.
In 2012 there was a very authentic experience known as " El Regalo " (the gift). Heart-shaped balloons were released with a photo of their graffiti attached; whoever found the balloon had to locate the depicted graffiti in the city. Now, every time a photo with a new one of his graffiti is tagged, the search begins again.
Imagine a treasure hunt where the reward is seeing the original Kenny Random graffiti in situ. It´s up to you to find out where they are.
If you cannot find the location, there is a detailed map at the following link
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA!
Padua is a monumental city, but without a doubt, it is mainly known for its Patron Saint, Saint Anthony of Padua.
The Basilica of San Antonio, whose magnitude represents the greatness of his labour in life, was built to guard the remains of one of the most beloved and venerated Saints of the Catholic Church.
All the city roads converge at this place, a true Mecca for the 6.5 million pilgrims who come to venerate his tomb and his relics. The beautiful Chapel of the Relics keeps and exhibits different objects like the Saint´s robe and his intact tongue, which embodies his passionate and emotional preaching.
San Antonio was a saint much admired and prayed to around the world. Miracles attributed to him include the visit of the Child Jesus while he was praying in his cell when he was still a friar. This is the reason why he is traditionally represented with the Child in his arms. Let us tell you some other famous miracles:
When Tomasito´s mother found her son drowned in a well, she prayed to Saint Anthony. She promised him that if he brought him back to life, she would give the Child´s weight in bread to the poor. The Child revived, and, therefore, many parents seek Saint´s protection for their children.
Once a pupil stole the book of psalms from him when St. Anthony was teaching. Rather than accuse anyone, the Saint prayed for his book to be found until the repentant pupil returned the book. For this reason, he is prayed to in order to find lost objects.
Young Leonardo self-amputates his leg after kicking his mother. Saint Anthony, who scolded him for his action, reattached it to the severed limb to Leonardo´s body so that he could walk again.
A large crowd of faithful attended his mass, which he had to give in the courtyard since it was impossible to accommodate all of them inside the church. Despite the storm that raged, none of the attendees got wet.
It is well known that single women pray to San Antonio to find a boyfriend!
Piazza del Santo, 11
Open every day from 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Padua has many stunning squares scattered throughout its historic centre, making it one of the most beautiful in Italy. A tour of the squares of Padua and its most characteristic buildings will allow you to discover how fascinating it is.
Piazza Delle Erbe is known for being one of the two market squares in the city. The stalls sold mainly leather, fabrics, wrought iron and cereals. It was also the scene of capital executions during the Middle Ages.
The main building is the imposing Palazzo Della Raggione, a medieval masterpiece completed in 1218, with 82 m. long by 27 m. wide, was the seat of the Public Courts.
The most precious assets of the Palace include 333 frescoes, painted in 1525 and represent astronomical cycles, allegories and fantastic animals. There is also the Pietra del Vituperio or Stone of Shame (the place where defaulters were forced to sit in cotton hose) or the ligneous horse (a medieval wooden horse of 5, 75 m).
Piazza delle Frutta, the other great market in the city, where horticultural products were sold.
Its most impressive building is the Pallazzo Comunale, the seat of the city council since 1285. It is an amazing architectural complex made up of buildings of different styles.
Still in the square, under the loggia of the Palazzo del Consiglio, you can find some of the oldest shops in the city, such as Ai due catine d ´oro, an 18th-century spice shop, and the Graziati patisserie, founded in 1919.
Piazza Dei Signori was born in the 14th century to become, for centuries, the scene for all kinds of civic celebrations: tournaments, battles, duels, performances and concerts.
Among its most interesting buildings is Torre dell´ Orologio (Clock Tower), built between the first half of the 13th century and the beginning of the 14th century. The Triumphal Arc at its base was added to highlight the monumentality of the square. Its astronomical clock is the oldest in the world, dating back to 1344.
There is nothing as relaxing as being surrounded by lush greenery. A shelter of peace where silence reigns. Suddenly, most of the pressing needs that seem essential disappear from this world.
The University Botanical Garden of Padua (Orto Botanico Università di Padova) has no less than 7000 species of plants.
It is the oldest in Italy and the world´s first botanical garden, dating back to 1545.
This pioneering condition makes the city a forerunner in the relationship between Botany and Science, contributing to the development of other closely related disciplines such as medicine, chemistry, ecology, pharmacy or herbalism.
Its primary function is the conservation and research of biodiversity. Only about 10% of the world´s plants have been identified, which is why any studies relating to them are so important. Its dedication and involvement in the interaction between science, culture, and nature made it enter the Unesco World Heritage List of 1997, being declared a "cultural asset".
The Senate of the Republic of Venice originally conceived the garden as Hortus Simplicium, which means a garden to grow medicinal plants. It was essential to identify plants to apply them to medicine and avoid mistakes that could be fatal in treating diseases.
The initiative for the garden was undertaken by the humanist Daniele Barbaro, who entrusted the project to the architect of the famous abbey of Santa Justina.
The result was a circular area of ??2.78 hectares, divided by a central axis formed by two intersecting avenues. They divide the total area into four squares that enclose circular rings arranged parallel and crossed by their central axis.
There are also three sundials: cubic, spherical, and cylindrical.
We can find poisonous, medicinal, insectivorous, native, foreign and endangered plants within its collection.
In the biodiversity garden, there are 1,300 species typical of environments with extreme climatic conditions. This space shows the role of plants in human evolution.
Vía Horto Botánico 15
Timetable: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from November to March
9 a.m. to 7 p.m. April
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. from May to September
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. October
Closed on Mondays
Price: € 10 entry, € 8 reduced.
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