Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Italy Day 13--Padua

Today we took our daytrip out of Venice, and were surprisingly successful, which made us feel very accomplished.  We started the day with free breakfast in the same restaurant as lunch the previous day.

We were a bit nervous about our day trip plans because the dominate form of transportation here in Venice is by boat, but it all worked out okay!  We caught a boat to the train station (and got a bit of an impromptu cruise up the Grand Canal), 

and then a train to Padova (Padua). We started in Padua by taking a tram to the furthest point from the train station, so we could walk back in the direction of the station the rest of the day.  From the stop, we walked a little bit to the Basilica of St. Anthony.  

The church was really pretty and was (come to find out) a pilgrimage site to pray to St. Anthony of Padua, who was buried there (with his lower jaw, tongue, and vocal cords on display elsewhere).  I actually felt a little bad here, people make pilgrimages to this church and were lined up to touch his tomb and offer prayers.  

 We also walked through the church's cloisters, which had a huge magnolia tree (which was very exotic in 1800s Padua).

From here, we wandered down to a pretty park called Prato della Valle, with statutes of important Paduans all around.  

After sitting and people watching for a bit, we started our gamboling towards the next stop, the Padua university. 

Along the way we stopped at a gourmet gelato place Rick Steve's recommended.  It was a very good first dessert (pre lunch this time!). 

Once we reached the university (roughly a 10 minute walk without the gelato),

we wandered into the two courtyards that were open to the public.  One courtyard was as it was in the 16th century,

and the other is from the Fasict era (1938) and celebrates heroic students from WWI.

Vaguely across from the University was the Palazzo della Ragione, which was built in the 13th century.

A beautiful frescoed loggia lead us to the entry.

 It has frescos dating from the 15th century with signs of the zodiac.  It was really interesting to try and find the picture  for each zodiac sign, as they were based on 15th century ideals. 

The Palazzo was surrounded by two piazzas, one had a fruit market that was just closing up when we got there,

while the other had clothes, jewelry and other goods. 

I might have bought myself some silver earring made in india at one of the stalls.  This was especially interesting because the Palazzo's later life has been as a market.

 From here we wandered through another piazza Piazza dei Signori,

(So many lions of St. Mark)

then up the town's Duomo.  the Duomo was closed for lunch and would not reopen until 4, so we just went inside the Basilica, which is all Rick recommended anyways. 

By this point we were a bit hungry, so we stopped at a quick place for pizza (Katherine) and a sandwich (me).  We sat here for awhile, just looking out into the road.  We had wanted to eat at Caffe Pedrocchi, but it was closed when we went by for a private event.  Literary figures and revolutionaries all met at this 19th century cafe, also known for the architectural styles of its rooms.   

(stepped inside to take a quick picture later in the day)

Our last stop (which was actually until until 6:45 because we had originally planned to do 2 day trips, which  I think would have been possible, but would have made the day more stressful) was the Scrovegni Chapel.  We still had a bit of time, but started to wander back towards the train station (and cooincidentially where the Chapel is located).

While we were waiting for our timed entrance, we went in another nearby church, the Church of the Eremitani (church of the hermits), a 13th century Franciscan church. 

 Scrovegni built this chapel for the church to save his father's soul (his dad was a usurer (lender)).  The chapel was painted from 1303-1305 with scenes of Mary's Parents, her life, and then Jesus (the the virtues and vices allong the bottom). It was very pretty--I was sad we couldn't take pictures.  Definitely think it was worth seeing.

From here we caught a train back to Venice, then a boat. 

We then went back to the restaurant in our hotel.  I was having a hard time choosing, and our waiter said he would just bring me an assortment of pastas (a tasting plate).  All three small portions were great, so win!.

I've had great experiences the couple of times I've gone with chef's choice in Italy. 

So ended the day with wine and tiramasu (second dessert).