Padua – by the sound of your name – promising, almost mythical. The town situated between Verona and Venice on the brink of the Padan Plain is so old, that its founding by the legendary Trojan prince Antenor is indeed legend. Historically proven is a settlement of fishers at Cacchiglione river at around 400 BC. What can I expect to find in Padua? Who shaped this town? From 3rd to 6th March I visit Padua as participant of #EduPadua blogtour.
Padua the erudite
One characteristic I find is the title of the tour already. Padua has an excellent and very early reputation as one of the first university towns – its university has been found in 1222. During the 15th and 16th centuries the university of Padua was the leading school in Europe in the field of medicine attracting numerous students from all over the continent. At the end of the 16th century Galileo Galilei taught mathematics in Padua. During his tenure in Padua he discovered Jupiter’s moons (he was one of the first to use a telescope for skywatching) and published a drawing of the moon’s surface that made him famous.
A perfect combination for body and mind
A look at the map reveals a hilly territory nearby in which almost every town is carrying Terme in its name! Padua seems to be the ideal combination of tradition (an old settlement), culture and education (the university) and wellness! Where else do I find these advantages in one place? I assume these features will be outshined by nearby tourism hot spots Venice and Verona thus making Padua a less crowded insider tip.
The superlatives of Padua
Padua is the town of Fresco paintings, thermal springs and century old wellness traditions, Venetian villas and tantalisingly beautiful basilicas. Frescoes, gold and incense. Unique in plenty and abundance. But what is there that one can find only in Padua? The botanical garden, which had been found at the University of Padua in 1545, is the oldest botanical garden in the world today and since 1997 part of the UNESCO world heritage. A palm tree that already served German literature heavyweight and politician Johann Wolfgang Goethe for his studies still exists today.
Padua affords itself a huge representative square in the middle of town, the third-largest after Moscow’s Red Square and Paris’ Place de la Concorde (Wikipedia tells me, and I cautiously limit its scope to European squares). On town squares elsewhere horse races are held, battles with oranges fought, military parades held and watched, doves fed or urban traffic guided. What purpose has the Prato della Valle in Padua?
How Padua moves
Since my visit in Mantua I appreciate the modern style of Padan Plain towns. They pair Italian beauty with relaxed modernity when it comes to transportation – reminding me of Copenhagen J People use bicycles to move around town – a pleasant contrast to overcrowded Italian town centres short of parking and sideways. In 2006 Padua introduced a guided tramway, a hybrid of tram and bus – simpatico!
Dear Padua! I look forward to get to know you. You seem to be a treasure chest. And I enjoy to be treated to new discoveries! Especially when they are by foot, bicycle, by boat and hot tub! Readers will learn more during April in my stories from #EduPadua Blogtour.
Disclosure: I have been invited to Padua during #EduPadua blogtour by the town of Padua – many thanks for this chance to visit. Thank you, Gian, from Italia Blogtour for organizing my participation.