Padua (/ˈpædjuə/; Italian: Padova (ˈpaːdova); Venetian: Pàdova) is a beautiful university city in the Italian province of Veneto. Padua is on the river Bacchiglione, west of Venice. It is the capital of the province of Padua.
Padua is a very pleasant city to walk around cobbled streets and porticoes, beautiful squares (Piazza dei Signori, Piazza dei Frutti, Piazza Delle Erbe, Piazza Eremitani) and this special vibe that only a students’ city can offer.
Padua is also the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua’s population is 214,000 (as of 2011). The city is sometimes included, with Venice (Italian Venezia) and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (PATREVE) which has a population of around 2,600,000.
The Roman Patavium, founded, in keeping with legend, by the Trojan hero Antenor, it had been first mentioned in 302 BCE, per the Roman historian Livy, who was born there (59 BCE). The town prospered greatly and, within the 11th–13th century, was the number one Italian commune. The poet Dante lived there, and St. Anthony of Padua is buried there. it absolutely was governed by the Carrara family from 1318 to 1405, when it passed to Venice, which held it until 1797. Under Austrian dominion from 1815 to 1866, it absolutely was active within the Risorgimento (movement for Italian independence); a rising befell there in February 1848. It had been heavily bombed in World War II, and the frescoes by Andrea Mantegna in the Church of the Eremitani were almost completely destroyed.
In the early 7th century (602 AD), after a long and bloody siege, Padua was stormed and burned by Agilulf, the Lombard king. The antiquity of Padua was annihilated: the ruins of an amphitheater and some bridge foundations are all that remain today of Roman Padua.
After a period of Frankish and Episcopal supremacy, a constitution was established by the citizens in the 11th century. It was composed of a general council or legislative assembly, and a credenza, or executive body. The great families of D’Este and Da Romano from Camposampiero, north of Padua, then became more powerful and divided up the city among themselves. The citizens, in order to protect their liberties, were obliged to elect a potestà (governor), and their first choice fell on one of the D’Este family.
The University of Padua (the second university in Italy, after Bologna) was founded in 1222, and as it flourished in the 13th century, Padua outpaced Bologna, where no effort had been made to expand the revival of classical precedents beyond the field of jurisprudence, to become a center of early humanist researches, with first-hand knowledge of Roman poets that was unrivaled in Italy or beyond the Alps.
However, the advances of Padua in the 13th century finally brought the commune into conflict with Can Grande Della Scala, lord of Verona. In 1311 Padua had to yield to the Scaligeri of Verona.
In 1405, Padua passed under the rule of the foremost Serene Republic of Venice and mainly remained so until the fall of Venice in 1797. Over the years of its rule, the Serenissima had fortified Padua with new walls, which had a series of six gates (Porte) or monumental arches, which exist to the present day.
In 1797, the Venetian Republic has swept away with the Treaty of Campoformio, and Padua was ceded to the Austrian Empire. After the fall of Napoleon in 1814, it became part of the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia. However, the Austrians were not popular in progressive circles in northern Italy: in Padua, the year of revolutions of 1848 saw a student revolt which, on February 8, turned the University and Caffè Pedrocchi into battlegrounds, on which students and ordinary Paduans fought side by side. In 1866, after the Third War of Independence, Italy was able to expel the Austrians from the old Venetian Republic, and Padua and therefore the rest of the Veneto were annexed to the recently united Kingdom of Italy.
When Italy entered World War I on 24th May 1915, Padua was chosen as the main command of the Italian Army. Following Italy’s defeat in the Second World War on 8th September 1943, Padua became part of the Italian Social Republic, a puppet state of the Nazi occupiers. During the Resistenza, Italian partisans were very active against both the new Fascist rule and the Germans, and one of the leaders was Concetto Marchesi, Rector of the University. Padua was bombed several times by Allied aircraft, and it was not until spring 1945 that the city was finally liberated by partisans and foreign troops. A small Commonwealth War Cemetery was created in the western part of the city, in memory of the sacrifice of many of these troops.
From December 1943 to the end of the war, Padua was bombed 24 times by Allied aircraft; the heaviest raids were the ones on 16 and 30 December 1943 (each of which caused 300 victims), 7 February 1944 (300 victims), 11th March 1944 (over 300 tons of bombs dropped by 111 bombers), 22nd and 23rd March 1944, 20th April 1944 (180 victims), 22nd February and 12th March 1945. The worst-hit areas were the railway station (the target of most raids) and the northern district of Arcella, where 96 % of all buildings were destroyed; overall, 950 homes were destroyed and 1,400 damaged. During one of these bombings, the Church of the Eremitani, with frescoes by Andrea Mantegna, was destroyed, considered by some art historians to be Italy’s biggest wartime cultural loss. The Cathedral and the University also suffered damage. Some 2,000 inhabitants of Padua were killed by the raids.
One of the most famous attractions in Padua is the Scrovegni Chapel with the masterpiece frescoes of Giotto the father of the Italian Renaissance. Another must-visit place is the Basilica of Saint Anthony with the tomb of St. Anthony. The Botanical Garden of Padua, created in 1545, is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Padua stands on the Bacchiglione River, 40 kilometers (25 miles) west of Venice, and 29 km (18 miles) southeast of Vicenza. The Brenta River, which once ran through the city, still touches the northern districts. Its agricultural setting is the Venetian Plain (Pianura Veneta). To the city’s southwest lies the Euganaean Hills, praised by Lucan and Martial, Petrarch, Ugo Foscolo, and Shelley.
The cathedral (rebuilt 1552) has a Romanesque baptistery. The Basilica of San Antonio (1232–1307) contains the tomb of the saint and has statues and reliefs by Donatello on the high altar. Other notable secular landmarks include the Ragione Palazzo (1218–19; rebuilt 1306); the Capitano Palazzo (1532), now the university library; and the 16th–17th-century Bo Palazzo, which forms the nucleus of the university. Founded in 1222, the university is the oldest in Italy after Bologna.
The city is the setting for most of the action in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. There is a play by the Irish writer Oscar Wilde entitled The Duchess of Padua. The civic museum has a fine art gallery as well as historical and archaeological exhibits, libraries, archives, and collections of sculpture and coins. Dating from 1545, Padua’s botanical garden is considered the oldest one in Europe. West of the botanic garden is the Prato Della Valle, a large oval piazza surrounded by a canal and bordered by a group of statues of well-known Paduans.