On the Road

An Afternoon in Padua

Join me as I spend an afternoon exploring Padua, Italy!

So, Reader, as you might be able to surmise from the title of this post, I have no recipe for you today.  Nothing about food, even.  As I mentioned last week, I’m now on Easter break and doing some traveling–I’m writing this from a Renaissance palazzo turned hostel in Venice with the highest ceilings ever.  I will be completely shameless in saying that my goal in going to Padua for an afternoon was to see pretty art, and other than that I had no expectations.

After being in Venice since Sunday, going to a city with solid ground underfoot and actual vehicles was a bit of a shock.  Padua (Padova, in Italian)  is a small university city, and very clearly so.  The majority of the people I saw were in their early- to mid-twenties, and there were not many tourists.  The tourists I saw were mostly older couples, and I never saw/heard any other Americans.  It’s a bit off the beaten track, but if you’re into early Italian Renaissance art, it’s definitely a must, just for an afternoon.  Come join me for an afternoon in Padua!

11:12 Board train in Venice, loaded with book, snack, journal, waterbottle, camera, and jacket, all the tourist essentials.

11:42 Arrive in Padua.  Look around the train station for a map, see no obvious maps, so leave the station and head south (the direction of the old city center and pretty things).

12:10 Wander in circles looking for the civic museum’s information center, where you are supposed to pick up your ticket for the Scrovegni Chapel and Civic Museums that you booked online last week.

12:25 Realize you walked past the information center twice but didn’t notice it because of some construction going on.  Pick up ticket, and decide it is lunchtime.

12:45ish Stumble across a market hall in a gorgeous building and an open air fruit and veggie market.

1:00 Decide to buy what is essentially a grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich because the price is right and nothing else is jumping out at you.  Compensate for boring sandwich choice by buying a small carton of fragoline–wild strawberries.

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1:20ish After following brown signs since you don’t have a map or a plan, arrive at the cathedral and baptistery.  Discover that the cathedral is only open mornings and evenings but decide to visit the baptistery.

1:21ish Are very glad you decided to spend a few Euros on the baptistery because the frescoes inside are fantastic.

1:45 Leave the baptistery and wander around eating your strawberries.  Realize you’ve eaten all but the most squished ones and figure it might be time to check out one of the museums included in the ticket you picked up earlier.

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2:25 Visit the Decorative Arts Museum in the Palazzo Zuckermann.  Eavesdrop on the conversations of the German-speaking tourists who entered the museum just before you.

4:00 Leave the Palazzo Zuckermann and buy a cookie as a snack to eat while you sit in the sun, giving your eyes a break from studying things.

5:00 Enter the waiting room of the Scrovegni Chapel.

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5:15 Enter the Scrovegni Chapel.  Don’t know where to look.  Try to remember things about Giotto from AP Art History in 2008-2009.

5:35 Leave the chapel, hit the bathroom and gift shop, and then visit the church next door.

6:00 Head away from the town center to St. Anthony’s, where you are hoping to see a Donatello altarpiece.

6:25 Arrive at St. Anthony’s.  Again, don’t know where to look.  Look at just about everything except the Donatello altarpiece because that’s hard to see since the nave is mostly blocked off for people to pray, which plenty of people (monks, nuns, and laypeople alike) are doing.  Make a mental note to look up St. Anthony of Padua when you get back to the hostel, since apparently he was a big deal and you just walked by his fancy tomb.

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7:00ish Feet sore from being walked on all day, make your way back to the train station.

8:00 Hop on the regional express back to Venice!

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