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.
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 do a complete walking tour of Padua. However, let’s go on a walking tour of Padua together.
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.
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 started our walking tour of Padua slowly as 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.
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 our walking tour of Padua in earnest towards the imposing church of Saint Antonio di Padova.
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 di 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 Padua 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.
Scrovegni Chapel area
Padova, Italy – Scrovegni Chapel interior
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.
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. 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.
My best resources for planning your visit to Padova, Italy
- Make a hotel reservation. You can check out my favorite hotel in Padova, Italy (great location, free parking and breakfast included) or simply search for budget hotels in Padova, Italy.
- Find museum tickets and walking tours in Padua. During the summer months, Giotto Scrovegni Chapel is very busy, so it’s worth it purchasing tickets ahead of time.
- Rent a car in Italy. Save up to 30% on your Italy rental car by comparing all rental car companies and picking the best price for you.
- Find parking. If you are just visiting Padova for the day you can find a large parking lot with affordable price just south of Prato della Valle area. Here is the parking area address: Via Lviii Fanteria, 1, Padova PD, Italy 35123. Here are the parking area GPS coordinates: 45.3967512, 11.8762626
- Train schedules. It takes about 30 minutes to reach Padova easily by train from Venice Santa Lucia train station. You can check the train schedules and buy tickets here.
This walking tour of Padua is part of my 1 week tour of Northern Italy
- Series: 1 week in Northern Italy.
- Walking tour of Milan
- Charming walking tour of Verona
- Venice Main Island walking tour
- Walking tour of Murano Island
- A colorful walking tour of Burano Island
- In the Dolomites at Barcis
- Treviso is a surprising destination
- In-depth walking tour of Padua
- Short tour of quaint Soave
- In-depth walking tour of Sirmione
- In-depth walking tour of Genoa