It was one chilly Sunday while we were sightseeing Padua. I personally like those cold, sunny winter days. There is no better light to take really good pictures. Padua is a city of art and education with an overwhelming number of splendid churches.
Basilica di Sant Antonio, crowned with eight Byzantine domes and identical minaret towers is a true Asian-inspired beauty. The opulent interiors and numerous relics were slightly too oppressive for my taste. But from the outside the building is a real gem.
Next to the Basilica is the most precious sight of Padua. The Scrovegni Chapel with a cycle of Giotto frescoes illustrating the lives of Mary and Jesus. Giotto was a founding figure of the Renaissance movement. The realism and the first blue sky in Western painting were revolutionary.
A few steps away the most characteristic square in the town hides itself in the shadow of the Basilica de Giustina. Prato della Valle. Once a Roman theatre. Today a traditional place for fairs and amusement. The huge, elliptical, green island is surrounded by a canal and divided by four bridges along with 78 statues of famous men.
We are lucky. There is a huge, colourful festival taking place on the square. We find out it is the Philippines Festival. Which is the grandest celebration in Cebu City in honour of Senor Sto Nino. Sinulog is a very unique dance-prayer expressing devotion to the Holy Child.
And here in cold Italy Philippino dancers in regional outfits dance on the streets in front of a Basilica full of people preparing for the a main Mass. This put a smile on my face. Although I would prefer to celebrate in a warm City of Cebu.
Padua is a lovely place to stroll around. The fascinating Palazzo della Ragione is occupied by a food market selling all kinds of cheeses and hams. All looking delicious.
The charming Piazza del Signori would be perfect for a coffee if not for the cold. So we head off to Cafe Pedrocchi to get mentally ready for the Botanical Gardens (which I’m sure are amazing in the summer time) and the University of Padua. The second oldest university in Italy. Founded in 1222. For centuries attracted intellectuals, artists and students from all over the world.
Padua is a captivating city in comparison with other Italian cities. Surely without any chances of getting into the 10 Best of the country, but still lovely. If you have a day to spare on your way between Verona and Venice.