A word about Padua:
Padua, (Padova) is made up of about 212,000 people (have this info on hand as Italians will always enquire how many inhabitants live in your home region. For example, my ‘town’ has about 200 people which always invites questions and frowns eg, is anywhere that small?)
Padova is a gleaming 18 miles and 25 minutes from glittering Venice, and is the oldest city in the vast and varied region of Veneto in Northern Italy.
It is home to one of the most ancient universtities in the world where Dante and Petrarch attended (founded in 1222.) Here the father of science, physics and astronomy – Gallileo Galilei was a lectorer. (Like many fine men, he almost became a priest before being inspired into physics by the sight of a swinging chandelier. He casually confirmed the existence of the four moons surrounding Jupiter, the phases of Venus and invented a compass all whilst managing the egos of rowdy Italian students. Should you feel the need, one can visit his middle finger at the Museo Galileo in Florence.)
Padova was second to Rome in wealth, home to the Scrovegni chapel which houses a series of masterpiece frescoes. These are painted by the ‘celebrity artist’ Giotto de Bondone (1267 – 1337) who – seven centuries ago – was famous for being famous! A real rag to riches tale, he went from a humble farmer counting sheep to a the first every CELEB.
In a nutshell Giotto reinvented colour, space and volume in art, ‘immortalising’ his subjects directly from reality for the first time. He singlehandedly ‘ferried’ art from medieval representation to a humanist perspective.
(Apparently, he was critiqued for painting beautiful figures yet fathering ugly children. Rude!)
Why do I care?
I moved to Padua in the middle of last year – and its the home of the delightful Spritz cocktail. Need I say more?
This article has been featured in Visit Veneto, a beautiful online Italian magazine featuring stories and experiences of this rich and wild region of Italy.