On a visit to Padova it is impossible to avoid the magnificent medieval market hall, the Palazzo Della Ragioni, which is a huge building that dominates the centre of the city and separates the two sections of the daily market. At ground level there are food stall, butchers, bakers, fishmongers and purveyors of dairy produce and the assault on the senses from the competing cacophony of sights and smells was wonderful, eye-popping and a true sensory symphony.
It was here that I decided that the next time I visit Italy, or France or Spain or anywhere else for that matter, I will find some self catering accommodation so that I can enjoy shopping in places like this, selecting the ingredients for myself, cooking simple food and eating and enjoying my own interpretation of local recipes.
It was with some difficulty that we located the entrance to the upper floors but after circumnavigating the building we found the steps and paid the modest entrance fee. The two-story loggia-lined “Palace of Reason” is topped with a distinctive sloped wooden roof that resembles the upturned hull of a ship and is said to be the largest of its kind in the world. It was built in 1219 as the seat of the Parliament of Padua and was used as an assembly hall, courthouse, and administrative centre to celebrate Padua’s independence as a republican city.
The magnificent hall is eighty-one metres long and is considered to be a masterpiece of civil medieval architecture and today is a must-visit site for both its floor-to-ceiling fifteenth century frescoes that are similar in style and astrological theme to those that had been painted by Giotto in the nearby Scrovegni Chapel and a wooden sculpture of a horse attributed to Donatello which is massive but simply dwarfed by the interior scale of the building.
I stayed in Padova in preference to nearby Venice, it is a lot cheaper, not nearly so crowded and has a fast and reliable train service to its more famous neighbour.
If you are thinking of going to Venice then I recommend doing the same.
Posted in Cathedrals, Europe, Food, History, Hotels, Italy, Literature, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua, Culture, Italy Postcard, Life, Padova, Padova Postcard, Padua, Photography, Scrovegni Chapel Padova
“Brothers of Italy,
Italy has woken,
Bound Scipio’s helmet
Upon her head.
Where is Victory?”
Italy National Anthem
So we carried on into the familiar sounding Corso Garibaldi and came across the inevitable statue of the hero of Italian unification. After the creation of the Kingdom of Italy in 1861 the state worked hard at making sure Garibaldi would be remembered and the number of streets, piazzas and statues named after him makes him probably the most commemorated secular figure in history.
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Posted in Europe, History, Italy, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Giuseppe Garibaldi, giuseppe garibaldi society Milwaukee, Italy National Anthem, Life, Padova, Padua, Photography, Travel, Veneto
A narrow graffitied lane led from Piazza del Doumo to Piazza Della Erbe where to my horror there were even more market stalls but this was principally a food market with all manner of colourful items on display and I was particularly captivated by the fungi – especially coming from a country where we only eat about four different varieties of equally tasteless mushrooms and think that chestnuts are especially adventurous – because the woodland produce on display here was colourful, pungent, mysterious, dangerous, misshapen and a whole lot more interesting than our ubiquitous tasteless varieties.
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Posted in Cathedrals, Europe, Food, History, Italy, World Heritage
Tagged Culture, Life, Padova, Padua, Photography, Travel
““Do you like that?” I’ll say in surprise since it doesn’t seem like her type of thing, and she’ll look at me as if I’m mad. That!?” She’ll say, “No, it’s hideous” “Then why on earth,” I always want to say, “did you walk all the way over there to touch it?” but of course…I have learned to say nothing when shopping because no matter what you say… it doesn’t pay, so I say nothing.” Bill Bryson – ‘Notes From a Small Island’
There were some decisions to be made over breakfast today because this was our last day but it would be a full one because our Ryanair flight home wasn’t until late this evening. We could return to Venice but although there was more to see we had filled two days there already, we could go to nearby Vicenza, or we could stay in Padova. As we were lodging in Padova it seemed rude not to visit, lots of tourists bypass the city in the rush to Venice so we all agreed that we would spend the day here in the Shakespearian setting of the Taming of the Shrew.
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Posted in Cathedrals, Europe, Food, History, Hotels, Italy, World Heritage
Tagged Life, Padova, Padua, Photography, Travel, Veneto