Padova is a wonderful place to explore Italian culture without hoards of tourists. Start the day with a cappuccino and brioche in one of the many cafes, then take a trip to the Scrovegni Chapel to see the beautiful frescos by Giotto. You can only spend 15 minutes inside but will appreciate their beauty. You must book ahead online. Walk to Prato della Valle, the largest square in Italy, sampling an ice cream from the many gelaterias on Via Roma on the way. Visit the Basilica di Sant' Antonio, known as 'Il Santo', where among the artistry and statues you can see St Anthony's relics. Round off the day with the local drink, Spritz, a bitter drink of Aperol, prosecco and sparkling water. Bellissimo!
It’s worth going to Padua just to see Giotto’s masterpiece in this chapel. The fresco cycle has been brilliantly and painstakingly restored; to prevent further damage you have to spend 15 minutes in an air-conditioned chamber before you can go in. Once in, it’s breathtaking, every surface bursting with colour and life. Giotto was the first artist to portray Christ as a real person and the story of his life covers the walls of the chapel while the entire wall above the chapel entrance is covered by his terrifying depiction of the Last Judgement. Just remember to book your tickets in advance online.
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