9 must-do things to do in Padua

Visiting Padua: what are the best things to see and do in this fascinating little Veneto town?

A small town in the Veneto region, some 40 km from Venice, Padua(Padova in Italian) has a rich history and has been an important city since the Middle Ages. It was during this period and during the Renaissance that the city became increasingly important, with its university recognized throughout Italy, where Galileo taught.

Crossed by the pretty little Bacchiglione river, Padua is known for its beauty, charming architecture, magnificent canals and bridges, and vibrant local culture. If you’re wondering what to do in Padua, here’s our list of must-sees:

Read also about the Padua guide :

1. Basilica di Sant’Antonio

Basilique Saint-Antoine de Padoue

Located in the heart of the historic center, this domed basilica is the most sumptuous and emblematic building to see in Padua. It was built in the 13th century to house the holy relics of the Portuguese priest Saint Anthony of Padua, who lived and died in Padua.

The Basilica is composed of a myriad of different architectural styles. Its exterior features a Romanesque façade, eight Byzantine domes and Gothic bell towers. It’s a sumptuous and impressive whole. The interior is just as magnificent, with colorful frescoes, marble sculptures and gilded works of art.

After visiting the Basilica, you can also visit several Renaissance-style cloisters and chapels, as well as a museum dedicated to the saint.

2. Piazza dei Signori

Piazza dei Signori, Padoue

This is one of the main squares in historic Padua. The Piazza dei Signori was created in the 14th century around Padua’s famous clock tower, the Torre Dell’Orologio. Across the square is the Chiesa di San Clemente – a magnificent little church.

Around the square are numerous restaurants, boutiques and cafés, where you can relax and shop. The square hosts numerous events and markets, allowing you to discover local life and authentic Italian culture.

3. Padua Cathedral

Dôme de Padoue

Photo credit: Flickr – Thomas Lok

The Padua Duomo is the city’s main church. It boasts a sublime interior that’s a must-see! Inside the Duomo, the white walls create a powerful contrast with the blue and red marble patterns on the floor. The many arches and columns add to the beauty of the place, as does the magnificent and highly detailed fresco, painted by Giusto de Menabuoi.

4. Prato della Valle

Prato della Valle, Padoue

The Patro Della Valle is the largest square in Italy and Europe, measuring 90,000 square meters! The square is a favorite with locals, who appreciate its design and the spaciousness of the city center.

A circular canal runs through the square, surrounded by dozens of statues of illustrious figures: philosophers, writers, scientists and doctors. At night, the colossal statues are reflected in the water of the canal – a magnificent scene!

5. Giardini dell’Arena

Giardini dell'Arena, Padoue

Photo credit: Flickr – Erin Johnson

In the northern part of Padua’s old town lies the Giardini dell’Arena park, a pleasant garden in which to relax and explore new monuments. Surrounding the park are the Capella degli Scrovegni and the Musei Civici, which we recommend you visit. Take the opportunity to stroll and relax in the shade of the trees: a great way to take a break before resuming your sightseeing!

6. Cappella degli Scrovegni

Located in the pleasant Giardini dell’Arena park, the Cappella degli Scrovegni is a monumental church renowned for its sublime interior frescoes – in stark contrast to its plain exterior. Don’t stop there, you’ll miss Giotto’s fabulous paintings: the frescoes depict stories from the Bible, the life of Christ, and the vices and virtues of man.

It’s considered a true masterpiece, so fantastic are the details and colors: to visit Padua and miss this work is inconceivable.

7. Musei Civici

Musei Civici, Padoue

Photo credit: Wikimedia – Semolo75

Close to the Giardini dell’Arena park, you’ll find this museum and its historic buildings. Here you can discover sublime paintings and masterpieces by Renaissance artists such as Titia, Giotto, Bellini and Veronese, as well as a collection of pre-Roman historical objects.

8. Canals and rivers of Padua

Padua has many canals and rivers, such as the Brenta Canal: strolling along the canals is a must in Padua, as it’s a great way to discover the city and its charm.

From Via Goito, follow the path along the river to the Museo dell’Astronomico. From here, you can continue along the Riviera Tiso da Camposampiero to the city center, or head north to the Giardini dell’Arena. Your walk will allow you to see magnificent, ancient buildings, as well as the natural landscapes created by the river: a wonderful way to visit Padua in a different light.

9. Cittadella, medieval jewel of the Veneto region

Cittadella, Padoue

Photo credit: Wikimedia – Kromatika

If you’re visiting Padua, the « città murata » is not far away. Cittadella. Cittadella, which acted as an outpost for the defense of the city of Padua against attacks from the north, is an exception in Europe, with its eight-century-old but virtually intact walls and 32 turrets defending the town. The ramparts surrounding Cittadella take the form of an irregular ellipse and are of genuine historical interest, not only for studies on castle architecture but also on town planning. A must-see in the Padua area.

How to get to Padua

To visit Padua, you have to get there. The best way to do this is from Venice. We recommend taking the train: from the Santa Lucia station, trains leave every hour. Tickets cost between €4.10 and €15 (peak times). Journey time is between 25 and 50 minutes. The most convenient way to get to Venice is by plane: you can do your research on the website of our partner Ulysses.

Where to stay in Padua

Padua is a small town, so it’s easy to get around without public transport. Staying in the historic city center is more comfortable and pleasant, but not necessary to visit Padua. You can find a cheap hotel in Padua by searching on this hotel comparator.

Map of hotels and accommodation – Padua,it