In depth walking tour of Padua, Italy

Padova (or Padua) was one of the tourist attractions that we were not prepared for. Being impressed and tired after visiting Venice for two days, we did not research Padova very well, so we came ill prepared for what the city had to offer. Padova, Italy is a large city with beautiful tourist attractions which makes for a great day trip from Venice if you have an extra day. Padova, has three large areas with attractions, each within 15 minutes walking distance from each other. Read on about my walking tour of Padova, Italy.

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What to expect when visiting Padova, Italy

Padova (or Padua) is a very large city which boasts the largest city square in Europe (Prado della Valle). As it is the case with many large European cities, it is a bit more difficult to walk everywhere in Padova.

There are three main areas of Padova’s center where the main tourist attractions are: Prato della Valle area, Piazza dei Signori with the Il Duomo complex and the famous Giotto decorated Scrovegni Chapel. Each of the three areas of Padova has its own share of historical tourist attractions that are worth your time.

Padova, Italy – Water fountain in Prato della Valle square with a beautiful building in Padova.
Padova, Italy - Water fountain in Prato della Valle square with a beautiful building in Padova.
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Prato della Valle is an impressively large square

We found ample parking to the south of Prato della Valle in a very large parking lot that proved to be also inexpensive (see resources at the end for address). Make sure you have small change with you as the machine takes only coins. Only by the benevolence of the Italian parking attendant we were able to pay our parking bill as we only had paper money with us.

Coming out of the parking area we found ourselves right in the middle of this impressive large square. We strolled leisurely and admired the beautiful statues and brought does that go all the way around the large oval shaped water canal. Towards the north end of the square there is a section of beautifully ornate and colorful buildings with ornate arches and windows. They’re simply beautiful to look at.

Padova, Italy – Beautiful view of the main square in Padova with colorful buildings, statues and bridges.
In depth walking tour of Padova, Italy - Beautiful view of the main square in Padova with colorful buildings, statues and bridges.
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After buying some ripe fruit and refreshing ourselves and the kids with some peaches and grapes from a small fruit stand with a talkative attendant, we started walking towards the imposing church of Saint Antonio di Padova.

Padova, Italy – Walking tour map of the Prato della Valle area
Padova, Italy - Walking tour map of the Valle delle Prato area
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Piazza dei Signori and the Il Duomo di Padova area

About 15 minutes walking distance from Prato della Valle you find the City Hall area with Piazza della Erbe which is minutes from Il Duomo area.

The area around Il Duomo did Padova (the Dome of Padova) is another beautiful area to visit. It is made from three smaller squares that are close to each other: Piazza dei Signori, Piazza dei Frutti and Piazza delle Erbe. This entire area is also connected to the imposing City Hall building and contains many very old buildings.

Padova, Italy – Palazzo della Ragione Padua

photo credit: wikipedia, CC License.

Il Duomo di Padova is an impressive building situated about five minutes walking distance from Piazza dei Signori.

Padova, Italy – Walking tour map of the Duomo area
In depth walking tour of Padova, Italy - Walking tour map of the Duomo area
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Scrovegni Chapel area

After another 15 minutes walking from Il Duomo you will find the beautiful Scrovegni Chapel. The Scrovegni Chapel is the main artistic and historical attraction in Padova, Italy.

Padova, Italy – Scrovegni Chapel interior

Photo credit: wikipedia – public domain

This small Chapel has been decorated by Giotto in the 17th century. The Scrovegni Chapel is such a popular tourist attraction that tickets are sold out weeks in advance especially in the summer months.

Is it worth visiting Padova (or Padua), Italy?

Unfortunately we only had about three hours to spend in Padova as we were driving back to Milan. As a consequence we confined ourselves to visiting the large Prato Della Valle area as we realized quickly that we won’t be able to see everything we wanted to see. In addition, since we visited at the beginning of August, it was very very hot even for someone from Southern California. We knew our kids would be unable to withstand the heat and large walking distances, so we minimized our walking and expectations at the same time.
Coming from Venice, nothing seems comparable. However, Padova is a beautiful city with amazing history and many beautiful things to see. Padova is one of the places we have seen that makes us think that we should have planned our time differently in Northern Italy. We would like to return to Padova one day and be able to spend more time in this beautiful city.

Tourist resources for planning your visit to Padova, Italy



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