Itinerary of Padua in a Day, Italy

Padua for the curious

Most tourists visit Padua in one day, so they do not have time to see the world-famous Giotto frescoes, walk through the Botanical Gardens, taste the best boiled octopus in Italy. Many places of interest in Padua are available only at certain hours and by appointment. Do not miss!

Padova Torre dell’Orologio

When planning a trip through the Veneto region, we set aside 2 days for Padua between Venice and Verona. That was enough time to see the main sights.

There are 3 tourist information offices in Padua: at the train station and in the city center. For advice, it is better to go to Galleria Pedrocchi near Piazza Frutti. The tourist map of Padua is difficult to draw a route – there are 115 numbers without descriptions and pictures. This drawback is compensated by the fact that all materials are free, as well as wi-fi in the historic center.

Padua discount card “Padova card” for 48 (€16) or 72 (€21) hours includes travel on public transport, admission to 8 museums, discounts. We walked around Padua and visited 2 places with paid admission.

Sightseeing in Padua

Tourist’s Minimum in Padua:

  • Giotto’s frescoes in the Cappella di Scrovegna
  • St. Anthony Basilica
  • University (Palazzo Boo)
  • Central squares

Cappella degli Scrovegni

The Cappella Scrovegni or Cappella del Arena was built in 1305 for the money of a rich citizen, Enrico Scrovegni. He invited the most famous Italian artist of the time, Giotto, to paint the house church. A cycle of 36 frescoes by Giotto survived almost in its original form, and is the most significant artistic work of European painting of the XIV century.

Access to the Cappella di Scrovegna is by appointment, and tickets are sold online no earlier than 24 hours before your visit. We signed up and paid for the tickets at the Padua Tourist Office.

The day ticket from Tuesday to Sunday for €13 includes a visit to the Musei Civici degli Eremitani and Palazzo Zuckermann. On Monday these museums are closed, a separate ticket to the Cappella di Scrovegna costs €8. Part of the year the Chapel hosts evening sessions of “Giotto sotto le stelle” (Giotto under the stars) from 19:00 to 22:00, ticket €8. We caught one at 20:40.

You must arrive in advance to get tickets at the box office of the Museum of Archaeology, put your things in the luggage room and come to the chapel. The session lasts 30 minutes, half of which is a movie in Italian with English subtitles, the remaining 15 minutes – viewing the frescoes.

    – One of the most luxurious hotels of Padua at the Capella di Scrovegna. The 1540 palace has a garden with a statue of Hercules and a Renaissance arch.

St. Anthony Basilica

Construction of the church began immediately after the death of St. Anthony of Padua in 1232. The Catholic Basilica is open from early morning until 6:45-7:45 p.m., and admission is free. Inside there are booklets with a tour plan. The church is very large with several courtyards.

The altar and equestrian statue in the square in front of the entrance are by Donatello. Everyone makes a wish by touching the granite slab on the tomb of the saint, standing in line for relics. In the courtyard of St. Anthony’s Basilica are the Oratorio di San Giorgio chapels with frescoes by Altichiero (1377) and the Scuola del Santo with three frescoes by Titian (1511).

  • Hotels near the Basilica of St Anthony: Al Fagiano, Mignon

University of Padua

One of the oldest universities in Italy was founded in 1222. In 1592-1610, Professor Galileo Galilei taught there. The complex of university buildings is Palazzo Boo. You can freely enter the courtyard, consider the coats of arms on the walls, sit on the marble benches, climb the balcony.

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Entrance to the rooms with a guided tour, ticket €7 (Anatomical Theater, Soroka Hall, Aula Magna, Medicine Room). The neighboring complex of neo-Gothic buildings, the Caffe Pedrocchi (1831), is also a landmark and a favorite meeting place for students.

Central squares

In the center of Padua there are two similar squares: Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta, which have a market. They are separated by the Palazzo della Ragione with a spacious hall on the second floor, painted with frescoes, tickets at the entrance.

After 5 p.m. the corner of Piazza della Frutta is where the tent “La Folperia” arrives, selling the freshest seafood. The specialty is boiled octopus (folpo). You can sit at a table from a nearby tent and order a drink. Our dinner for two with a glass of wine cost €25. “La Folperia” has won many awards and is one of the top 10 street food spots in Italy.

Piazza dei Signory is adorned by a tower with an astronomical clock (1344). In nearby Piazza del Duomo is the Cathedral, which was designed by Michelangelo. The Padua Cathedral is closed during the day from 12:00 to 16:00. In the annexe of the Battistero you can see frescoes of the XIV century, for a fee.

Prato Della Valle

In the southern part of the city is one of the largest squares in Europe, the Prato Della Valle, 90,000 m 2 . The oval Prato Della Valle is surrounded on all sides by a canal, with statues of famous Padua residents along the perimeter and a fountain in the middle. Concerts and events are held in the square, during our visit they were preparing for a marathon.

On Prato della Valle overlooks the 6th century Basilica di Santa Giustina, the second largest after the Basilica of St. Anthony. In Santa Giustina rest the relics of the Evangelist Luke. The afternoon break is from 12 to 15 o’clock.

Hotels in Padua’s central squares:

    – Piazza dei Signory – Prato Della Valle

If you have time left, visit the Botanical Gardens and the Observatory of Padua.

Orto Botanico

The Botanical Garden of Padua is the first botanical garden in the world (1545), in 1997 it was inscribed in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. After paying €10 for the ticket we walked for two hours admiring the blooming and rare plants. In a separate greenhouse there are over 1300 species from different climatic zones of our planet.

  • Al Prato Hotel near the Botanical Garden

La Specola Astronomical Observatory

A medieval tower built in a beautiful location between two canals. Visits to the Astronomical Observatory Museum are held in one-hour group sessions. Tickets for €7 are sold at the nearby Oratorio St. Michele. Most just tour the observatory building from the outside.

On weekends, Padova Walks (Italian, English) are held in Padua, €10 per person, information on social networks.

If you don’t have much time, take the red hop-on hop-off bus, it will take you to the main sights of Padua.

Padua-Venice

Padua is 35 km from Venice. It is only 26 minutes by train for €4. Many people stay in Padua because of the price difference on hotels or go to Venice in one day. Padua Central Station is a short walk from the historic center of the city.

    in the Art Nouveau style is one of the best in the Padua station area

Padua-Venice cruises on the Brenta River run from March to October. Itinerary: Padua-Stra-Dolo-Mira-Oriago-Malcontenta-Fusina-Venice with visits to villas. Price €109. The half-day river walk to Oriago is a little cheaper. Return on your own by train or bus. If you use the cruise to travel to Venice, you must pay €20 extra for each piece of luggage. tickets online

Padua is located in the center of the Veneto region. From Padua you can go to the Euganean Hills (Colli Euganei). There are castles, villas, the home of the poet Petrarch and the popular thermal spa of Abano Terme. The distance from Padua to Vicenza is about 25 minutes, to Verona about 1 hour by train.

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Top 10 things to see in Padua in 1-2 days and information about the city

Going to Venice and looking for somewhere to stop along the way? Padua is a great option, there is a lot to see here. On this page you can find all the important information about the city, the food, the weather and the top 10 places of interest.

The city of Padua is the administrative center of the province of the same name in the Veneto region, with a population of just over 200 thousand people. It is located on the Padana Plain – between the Alps, the Apennines and the Venetian Lagoon. Basilicas and cathedrals, canals, houses with colorful shutters and green balconies, arched galleries along the ancient buildings – that’s what makes this city so beautiful.

Padua is an ancient city with a rich history, it has a large number of attractions and beautiful architecture, but it is not as popular with tourists as Venice. This is a big plus, because the queues, the endless stalls with souvenirs, noise and bustle can seriously spoil the impression of the most beautiful city. For this reason, choosing between Verona and Padua, we chose the latter and didn’t regret it.

The main surprise for us in Padua were the canals – they run through the center, connecting the two rivers, the Brenta and the Bacchiglione. Lovely promenades with benches along the canals, walls darkened by time and humidity and overgrown with greenery, house windows looking directly onto the water, bridges to residential entrances – all this makes Padua different from other cities.

The city is very lively – residents live their lives, working stores and banks, tourists and students leisurely stroll, lie on green lawns or sit on the terraces of cafes.

In the center runs a unique for Italy monorail streetcar on tires. As in many cities, the historic center is closed to cars and tourist buses, so finding a parking space and dealing with a terminal to pay for parking will take some time. By the way, parking machines do not accept plastic cards, you should take care of cash in advance.

The lack of adaptability to the tourist flow we felt for ourselves when we decided to eat during the walk. Grocery supermarkets sell prepackaged meals that look very appetizing. This is a good option if you live nearby and your hotel room or apartment has a kitchen, but they are not good for snacking on the go – there is no way to heat up food in the store. There are very few fast food outlets in the main streets. An interesting local feature is the store with different kinds of pasta to take away in cups, but on the narrow streets there are almost no benches, so you have to eat on the go.

In the main streets you can find a lot of stores with clothes and accessories, mostly by local designers, handmade souvenirs – everything looks interesting and original. The best places to shop are the outlet stores and chain supermarkets (Lidl, Ipercoop), which are located closer to the outskirts of the city, where there is a large selection and discounts on many categories of goods.

Weather in Padua at the end of September pleased us, it was dry and sunny, in the shade you could already feel the autumn chill, but in the sun it seemed that you’re back in summer. Padua has a continental climate, with hot summers and cool winters (although real frosts are rare), but the proximity of the sea brings high humidity, and between seasons it can be wet and foggy, and in winter slush and plus temperatures are not uncommon.

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Padua is well worth spending a few days here, to see all the sights and learn about its stately past. The first settlements existed there since 11-10th centuries B.C. Throughout its history Padua has been one of the most influential cities in the region. It was conquered and destroyed several times. In different periods it belonged to the Republic of Venice, Austria, and the Kingdom of Italy. Now Padua is an important industrial and economic center of the region.

All the main attractions are located in the center, it is quite large in size, in one day you can only superficially get acquainted with the city. There are different residential areas around the center – with colorful green villas or well-kept cute apartment buildings. Near the ring road there are numerous industrial areas, large shopping centers, in the western part of the city is the airport of Padua.

If you stay in this city for a few days, you have the opportunity to see other interesting cities and places in northern Italy – from this point of view Padua is very well located. The best option would be to rent a car, but also convenient to travel by public transport.

The nearest and most famous neighbor is Venice, which is over 40 kilometers away, so it takes about an hour.

North of Padua begins the Dolomite Alps with its picturesque mountain villages and beautiful lakes. Two hours away is Trento, a little longer to Bolzano. To the west, in the direction of Milan, you can reach the famous Verona in an hour. Another half an hour by the same highway and you are on the shores of Lake Garda, another Italian wonder. This is a famous resort with a lot of beautiful small towns, scattered along the shore, the closest of which is Sirmione. On the shores of the lake is the famous amusement park Gardaland. To the south of Padua is worth visiting the cities of the Emilia-Romagna region – the famous Bologna is an hour and a half drive, also Ferrara and Comacchio are certainly of interest.

What to see in Padua in 1-2 days

Prato della Valle.

Padua 24 min

Padua 299 min

Padua 25 min

This is where we started our visit to Padua: Prato della Valle, an unusual and recognizable square in the south of Padua’s historic center.

Prato della Valle is a huge oval-shaped square, one of the largest in Europe and the first in Italy (over 88,000 square meters). It is surrounded by a canal with four bridges and statues of prominent figures who lived in Padua. Inside the canal there is a green lawn, in the middle of it there is a beautiful fountain, and two alleys run through the square. People lie and sit on the lawn, and there are benches as well. The canal is not as beautiful as the square itself – the water was not very clean, there is silt at the bottom and, in some places, garbage. The beauty of this square is also that it is very picturesque around – it is surrounded by beautiful buildings, each of which deserves attention, you can see the domes of cathedrals, flowerbeds and trees pleasing to the eye. In such a beautiful place you can lose track of time, just sitting on a bench and watching the life goes on, the streetcars go by and the people go about. The nearby streets are equipped with parking lots, but you can’t drive up to the square itself. From the square it is a short walk to other famous and interesting places.

The Botanical Garden of the University of Padua (Orto Botanico)

OrtoBotanoco Padua min

OrtoBotanoco Padua 2 min

The Orto Botanico is one of the first botanical gardens in the world, and for the title of the oldest it competes with the botanical garden in Pisa

The Botanical Garden of the University of Padua was the prototype of a botanical garden and was included in the list of world heritage sites by UNESCO. It was founded as a vegetable garden to grow medicinal herbs for use at the University of Padua in 1545. The collection has since been enriched with exotic plants from all corners of the globe. The garden’s collection contains over 6 thousand species, including rare magnolias and orchids, Ginkgo biloba (the oldest plant on earth, a contemporary of the dinosaurs), Cephalote (an insect-eating plant-predator), Chamerops squat palm (the only wild palm in Europe, or European fan palm). The botanical theater, built in the 19th century, is still used by students. Admission to the botanical garden is 5 € for adults. The schedule varies depending on the season and day of the week.

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Basilica di Santa Giustina

Padua 3177 min

Padua 317 min 2

To the southeast of Prato della Valle is one of the most important churches in Italy that houses the relics of Saint Luke, the Basilica di Santa Giustina.

The majestic domes of the basilica tower over the city, creating a unique appearance of Padua. This architectural monument is a working temple, in its present form the basilica was built in the 16th and 17th centuries. Due to a construction process that lasted almost 100 years, there is a mixture of styles, which makes its appearance rather unconventional. The size of the building is also impressive – its length is 122 meters, width – 82 meters, which makes the Basilica of Santa Giustina one of the largest in Italy.

Palazzo degli Emo Capodilista

Padua 29 min

The Palace of Capodilista is a rare example of medieval residential architecture extant, and one of the largest palaces in Padua

On the way northwards from Prato della Valle in Via Umberto I we met a beautiful building with arches in the first floor, a high tower and a flowery balcony with unusual octagonal windows above it. It is one of the palazzos belonging to the powerful Capodilista family of Padua, on a typical Italian narrow street with cafés and stores. It caught my eye for its medieval spirit, and the way in which it fit gracefully between the neighboring buildings.

Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua

Padua 27 min

Padua 21 min

The Basilica Pontificia di Sant’Antonio di Padova is one of the main, most famous and revered sights of Padua and all of Italy

The basilica is located north of the Botanical Gardens. In front of it in the square stands the equestrian statue of the Paduan ruler Gattamelata, created by Donatello and becoming one of his most famous works. The cathedral itself amazes with its scale and grandeur, even the most distant from religion will not leave indifferent. This is a huge complex: in addition to the basilica of St. Anthony, it includes a convent, a museum and a library. Several courtyards with flowerbeds and huge magnolias, arched galleries and statues, though filled with tourists, but still dispose to peace, give a feeling of touching eternity. Basilica belongs not to Italy but to the Vatican, pilgrims from around the world rush here, to the relics of St. Anthony of Padua. Founded in the 13th century on the burial site of the saint, completed in the 14th century, there are statues by Donatello and the works of Titian, as well as other masterpieces of art and Christian shrines. The frescoes in the chapels are of great value – the cathedral was painted by famous artists of the era.

Canals of Padua

Padua 11 min 3

Padua 857 min

The entire city is an island surrounded by the Bacchiglione River. From it branches off a narrower canal that runs from west to east through the center right between the houses, or a promenade runs along it. It looks incredibly picturesque and romantic. At first glance, it evokes associations with Venice, but after a while you realize that Padua is a completely unique city, with its own flavor. The canal runs not far from Prato della Valle, between the Botanical Gardens and the Cathedral of St. Anthony.

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Palazzo del Bo

Padova palazzo bo1 min

Palazzo del Bo is the founding site of the famous University of Padua in 1493. It is now home to the world’s oldest anatomical theater, rector’s office and law school

In the northern part of the historic center of Padua there are no less interesting sights. The University played a very important role in the development of Padua. In 1222, the scholars who left the University of Bologna because of conflict founded the University of Padua, which later became one of the most influential universities in Europe. It was the center of development of astronomical, medical, juridical sciences during the Renaissance, thanks to the patronage of the Republic of Venice had independence from the influence of Rome. Among the teachers and students are names of outstanding personalities, such as Galileo Galilei and Nicholas Copernicus. The university now has several buildings, but it is the Palazzo del Bo that is the site of its founding.

Café Pedrocchi

Pedrocchi7

Pedrocchi753 min

“Café without doors”, as it is also called, did not happen by chance to be on the list of attractions of the city next to the monuments and cathedrals

Not far from the University, the first coffee house in the city appeared in 1772 (in Via VIII Febbraio, 15). This place was the cultural center of the city, where bohemians, students and tourists gathered, exhibitions and celebrations were held. Moreover, the cafe was the center of the national liberation movement of the Risorgimento, in honor of which there is a museum of the same name in the building. The cafe has been open for more than 200 years. After he inherited the café, the son of the founder, the merchant Pedrocchi, greatly expanded the premises and opened several rooms in different styles, transporting guests to different historical eras, open to the public even today. It’s cheaper to drink coffee at the counter, and table service doubles the price of coffee. A cup of espresso specialty costs 8,50 €, a set of 6 macarons 9 €, a small portion of gelato 3,5 €.

Palazzo della Ragione

Padua Palazzo della Ragione min

The Palazzo della Ragione is a grand medieval building. In the era of medieval urban communities, the city court of Padua sat here. The walls of the hall are painted with images of months, signs of the zodiac and planets – very beautiful

Next to the Café Pedrocchi and the Palazzo Bo are two squares, fruit and herbs, which both in the Middle Ages and now form two parts of the city market. In between is the Palace of Justice, with its roof in the shape of an inverted ship’s hull, arched galleries outside and a huge hall inside. It is said to be the largest unsupported hall in Europe (87 meters long, 27 meters wide and 24 meters high). To get to the hall, where the city court used to be held, you have to go up the external stairs, and there is also a ticket office. Ticket costs 6 €. In the hall is a wooden statue of a horse, made from drawings by Donatello, and the walls are painted with frescoes. Opening hours are from 9:00 to 19:00, with Mondays off.

Piazza dei Signori

Clock tower Padova min

Piazza dei Signori has a rectangular outline with facades of ancient buildings. The Clock Tower with its astronomical clock is the most recognizable. The square has existed since the 14th century. Nowadays it is a popular place for locals and visitors to spend their evenings in the numerous cafes. At weekends there is a large market with cheap Chinese goods.

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