How could I start a travel blog without dedicating my first post to the amazing city in which I get to call home — Padova. Situated in the heart of northern Italy and only a stone’s throw away from Venice, Padova is not nearly as celebrated as it should be but definitely deserves recognition.
Upon moving here three years ago, I too had never heard of Padova but quickly fell in love with its charm and character. Like most Italian cities it’s both rich in culture and history, and is a bustling mix of university students, well dressed professionals and surprisingly, quite a few expats as well.
It is also home to one of the oldest and most prominent universities in Italy. In fact, Galileo was a professor here! For this reason, Padova has a very youthful vibe and on any given day you’ll find it busy with students either making their way to class, socialising at a local cafe over a Spritz or relaxing in the sun in Prato della Valle (see photo below).
So as not to spoil all the good bits now, as I plan on posting a detailed city guide later, here are my top three favourite things about living in Padova.
1 – The city itself. It is incredibly beautiful and charming. But one of the things I love most about Padova is that the city centre is made up of several beautiful squares, or piazze as they are called in Italian (singular: piazza, plural: piazze). Each day said piazze are home to a wide variety of market stalls ranging from fresh fruit and veggies from local farmers, to clothes and fresh flowers. Getting lost in the rows of vegetables and flowers, or finding a seat in the sun at one of the many café’s that line the piazze and people watching are two of my favourite things to do in Padova.
Piazza della Erbe
2 – Lazing around Prato della Valle on a beautiful spring day when the days are longer, warmer and the city comes to life with cherry blossoms. All you need is a good book, a gelato and a picnic blanket. Prato della Valle is one of Padova’s many squares I was talking about above. In fact, it is the largest piazza in Italy and also one of the largest in Europe.
Prato della Valle
3 – The almost perfect location in which Padova resides in Italy. Drive three hours in any direction and you’ll either find yourself in another country like Austria, Germany and Croatia to name a few. Or another amazing Italian city like Florence, Milan or Verona. Did I mention it’s only half an hour from Venice? It still blows my mind that I live 30 minutes from Venice!
Note worthy mentions: Sant Antonio’s Basilica, Abano Terme (Europe’s largest thermal water region), Scrovengi’s chapel, Euganean Hill region and the Botanical Gardens. All of which I’ll touch on at a later date, so watch this space.