Padova: The Complete Guide

Padova, Italy

Padova or in English Padua is a city in North Eastern Italy, and the capital of the province of the same name. It is located centrally in the Veneto region, between Venice on one side and Verona on the other.

Famous as the backdrop for Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” Padua is particularly distinguished for its 14th-century Scrovegni Chapel adorned with emotionally resonant frescoes by Giotto. Another notable feature is the expansive Prato della Valle, Italy’s largest square. Established in 1222, Padua University stands as one of the world’s oldest and holds a revered status among scholars as the birthplace of modern medicine.

TIP: If you are visiting Padua for just a day and want to make the most of your visit, you may want to consider taking a walking tour with a local guide. This is one of the most complete and best-rated city tours that covers the main, must-see attractions in about 3 hours. If you prefer exploring at your own pace read our Self-Guided Walking Tour of Padua (with Maps!)

History of Padova

Legend has it that Padua, one of the oldest cities in Northern Italy, was founded in the 12th century BC by Antenor, a Trojan hero and advisor. In the 11th century, the citizens of Padua crafted a constitution and elected their own governor. The city experienced a period of relative peace and prosperity until the 13th century when notable landmarks such as the Basilica di San Antonio and one of the world’s oldest universities were established.

Throughout its history, Padua has been associated with distinguished individuals, including the renowned poet Dante in the 14th century and Galileo Galilei, who served as a professor at the university from 1592 to 1610. Governance shifted to the Carrara family from 1318 to 1405, after which Padua became a part of the Venetian Republic. Under Venetian rule, the city underwent fortification with new walls and the construction of six monumental gateways that still stand today. The university, during this time, emerged as the primary educational hub of the Republic, reflecting its commitment to promoting a renowned institution of science and medicine.

Padua’s trajectory from a prominent Italian Commune in the 12th and 13th centuries to its current status as a leading economic centre has shaped its rich cultural heritage. Today, Padua stands as a lively and well-lived-in city, embodying a testament to its enduring historical and cultural significance.

Visiting Padova for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Padova on the first visit. To help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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21 Best places to See in Padova

This complete guide to Padova not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Padova and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Palazzo della Ragione, Padua

Exterior Of Palazzo Della Ragione (Padua)
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Didier Descouens
The Palazzo della Ragione is a medieval market hall, town hall and palace of justice building in Padua, in the Veneto region of Italy. The upper floor was dedicated to the town and justice administration; while the ground floor still hosts the historical covered market of the city. The palace separates the two market squares […]
Location: Palazzo della Ragione, Piazza delle Erbe, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Hours: 9am-7pm Tue-Sun Feb-Oct, to 6pm Nov-Jan | Price: adult/reduced €6/4 | Distance: 0.10km
Visiting Palazzo della Ragione, Padua

We recommend to rent a car in Italy through Discover Cars, they compare prices and review multiple car rental agencies. Book your rental car here.

Palazzo Bo

Palazzo Bo,Padua
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Marco Chemello (Wikimedia Italia)
The Palazzo del Bo or Bo Palace, is the historical seat of University of Padua since 1493, it is still home to the Rectorate and the School of Law. It is also home to the oldest anatomical theatre in the world. The University of Padua which is the second oldest University in Italy and the […]
Location: Palazzo Bo, Via VIII Febbraio, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Hours: Main courtyard Free See website for 45-minute guided tour | Price: adult/reduced €7/4 | Website | Distance: 0.10km
Visiting Palazzo Bo

Explore Padova yourself with our self-guided walking tour!

Cafe Pedrocchi

Caffe Pedrocchi
Public Domain / Kalibos~commonswiki
Caffè Pedrocchi or Pedrocchi Café is a café founded in the 18th century in central Padua, Italy. It has architectural prominence because its rooms were decorated in diverse styles, arranged in an eclectic ensemble by the architect Giuseppe Jappelli. The café has historical prominence because of its role in the 1848 riots against the Habsburg […]
Location: Caffè Pedrocchi, Via VIII Febbraio, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Hours: 8.00am to Middnight | Website | Distance: 0.20km
Visiting Cafe Pedrocchi

Piazza dei Signori

Piazza Dei Signori
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Leandro Neumann Ciuffo
Piazza dei Signori is a city square in Padua, region of Veneto, Italy. This piazza for centuries hosted official civic and government celebrations. The historic square was once the living and working headquarters of the rulers (signori) of Padua. They were assigned by the Republic of Venice to which Padua belonged for close to four […]
Location: Piazza dei Signori, Piazza dei Signori, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Hours: 24 House | Price: Free | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Piazza dei Signori

Torre dell'Orologio, Padua

Torre Dell Orologio Di Padova
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Andrea Papaccio Napoletano
Torre dell’Orologio, is a clock tower located in the Piazza (Plaza) Dei Signori and positioned between the Palazzo (Palace) del Capitanio and the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi in Padua, or Padova, Italy. It is also referred to as the astronomical clock of Padua. The tower’s construction began in 1426 and finished around 1430. The tower was […]
Location: Torre dell'Orologio, Piazza dei Signori, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Hours: VISIT IN ENGLISH Mondays at 11.00 and 14.00 Tuesdays and Wednesday at 12.00 and 14.00 Thursdays at 12.00 Fridays at 11.00, 14.00 and 16.00 Saturdays at 14.00 and 16.00 Sundays at 11.00| Price: Adult 14,00€ | Website | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting Torre dell'Orologio, Padua

MUSME - Museum of the History of Medicine

MUSME Museum Of The History Of Medicine
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Alessandro Ruzzier
The Museum of the History of Medicine of Padua ( MUSME ) is a museum open to the public since 2015 and located inside the ancient Hospital of San Francesco , next to the church of San Francesco Grande in Padua . The museum, through its interactive tools and its collections, illustrates to the public […]
Location: MUSME, Via San Francesco, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Hours: 2.30-7pm Tue-Fri, 9.30am-7pm Sat & Sun | Price: adult/reduced/child €10/8/6 | Website | Distance: 0.30km
Visiting MUSME - Museum of the History of Medicine

Duomo di Padova

Duomo (Padua) Facade
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Didier Descouens
Duomo di Padova or Padua Cathedral, also known as Basilica Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, is a Catholic church and minor basilica located on the east end of Piazza Duomo, adjacent to the bishop’s palace in Padua, Veneto, Italy. The cathedral, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, is the seat of the […]
Location: Padua Cathedral, Piazza Duomo, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Hours: 7am-noon & 4-7.30pm Mon-Fri, 7am-7pm Sat, 8.30am-8pm Sun, baptistry 10am-6pm | Price: baptistry €3 | Distance: 0.40km
Visiting Duomo di Padova

Chiesa degli Eremitani

Padua Chiesa Degli Eremitani
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Didier Descouens
The Church of the Eremitani (Chiesa degli Eremitani) is a 13th-century Gothic-style church in Padua, situated in the Veneto region of Italy. Originally, it was affiliated with the Augustinian hermit friars, who were the precursors of the present Order of Saint Augustine. These hermit friars arrived in Padua in 1237 and, with the support of […]
Location: Chiesa degli Eremitani, Piazza Eremitani, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Distance: 0.50km
Visiting Chiesa degli Eremitani

Cappella degli Scrovegni

Padova Cappella Degli Scrovegni Innen Langhaus West
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Zairon
The Scrovegni Chapel or Cappella degli Scrovegni, also known as the Arena Chapel, is a small church, adjacent to the Augustinian monastery, the Monastero degli Eremitani in Padua, region of Veneto, Italy. The chapel and monastery are now part of the complex of the Museo Civico of Padua. The chapel contains a fresco cycle by […]
Location: Cappella degli Scrovegni, Piazza Eremitani, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Hours: 9am-7pm, night ticket 7-10pm | Price: adult/reduced €13/8, night ticket €8/6 | Distance: 0.60km
Visiting Cappella degli Scrovegni

Basilica di Sant'Antonio

Basilica Di Sant Antonio
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Chris Light
The Basilica Pontificia di Sant’Antonio di Padova or Pontifical Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua is a Catholic church and minor basilica in Padua, Veneto, Northern Italy, dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua. Although the basilica is visited as a place of pilgrimage by people from all over the world, it is not the cathedral of […]
Location: Basilica di Sant'Antonio di Padova, Piazza del Santo, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Hours: 6.20am-6.45pm Mon-Sat, to 7.45pm Sun | Website | Distance: 0.60km
Visiting Basilica di Sant'Antonio

Musei Civici di Padova

Musei Civici Di Padova
CC BY-SA 4.0 / ERRERigo
The Musei Civici di Padova or degli Eremitani is a complex of museums and historic sites, centered on the former convent of the Eremitani (Augustinian order), and its famous Cappella degli Scrovegni with its Giotto fresco masterpieces. The complex is located on Piazza Eremitani, at the edge of the historic center of Padua, region of […]
Location: Musei Civici Eremitani, Piazza Eremitani, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Hours: 9am-7pm Tue-Sun | Price: adult/reduced €10/8 | Distance: 0.60km
Visiting Musei Civici di Padova

Piazza del Santo

Piazza Del Santo Padova
CC BY-SA 3.0 / joergens.mi
The Piazza del Santo is a large square in Padua located in front of the Basilica di Sant’Antonio.  With a number of cafes and restaurants to choose from all overlooking the Basilica of St Antonio, a nice area to watch the world go by. Alongside the church stands the equestrian statue of Venetian army commander […]
Location: Piazza del Santo, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 0.60km
Visiting Piazza del Santo

Palazzo Zuckermann, Padua

Palazzo Zuckermann
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Mister No
The Palazzo Zuckermann is a palace located on corso Garibaldi in Padua, Italy. The building now houses the collections of the Museo di arti applicate e decorative (Museum of applied and decorative arts) on the first floor and the Museo Bottacin on the second floor; these collections form part of the Civic Museum of Padua. […]
Location: Palazzo Zuckermann, Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Hours: 10am-7pm Tue-Sun | Price: adult/reduced €10/8 | Distance: 0.60km
Visiting Palazzo Zuckermann, Padua

Roman Arena of Padua

Roman Arena Of Padua
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Chris Light
The Roman Arena of Padua stands as one of the few remaining structures from the ancient Roman city of Patavium. Today, only a handful of ruins remain, including parts of the supporting walls and a series of arches. Recent efforts have seen the Arena’s remains subjected to a cleaning and restoration process. Simultaneously, an excavation […]
Location: Arena Romana di Padova, Piazza Eremitani, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Distance: 0.60km
Visiting Roman Arena of Padua

Ponte Molino

Ponte Molino, Padua, Italy
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Gun Powder Ma
The Ponte Molino is a Roman bridge with five arches built across the Bacchiglione in Padua, Italy. It was originally built between 30 and 40 AD and restored in the Middle Ages and in the 19th century. It is one of few surviving Roman bridges in Padua and one of the very few ancient bridges […]
Location: Ponte Molino, Via Dante Alighieri, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 0.60km
Visiting Ponte Molino

Giardini dell’Arena

Giardini Dell Arena
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Mister No
The historic  Giardini dell’Arena is a lovely and well-manicured park located in the centre of Padua, next to the Capella degli Scrovegni. Walking paths, flowers, trees, bushes, artistically placed and pruned, provide for a lovely walk or a moment of quiet reflection. At one end is the Scrovegni Chapel, wit the greatest repository of Giotto […]
Location: Giardini dell'Arena, Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Hours: 7:00 am - 6:00 pm | Price: Free | Distance: 0.70km
Visiting Giardini dell’Arena

Orto Botanico

Orto Botanico
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Diego.Buggin
Padua’s Botanical Garden holds the distinction of being the world’s oldest University Botanical Garden that remains in its original location. Established in 1545 under the patronage of the Venetian Republic, its primary purpose was to assist students at Padua University in their studies of pharmacology and medicinal plants. Today, this garden is a UNESCO World […]
Location: Orto botanico dell'Università degli Studi di Padova, Via Orto Botanico, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Hours: 9am-7pm Tue-Sun Apr-Sep, to 6pm Oct, to 5pm Nov-Mar | Price: adult/reduced €10/8, with PadovaCard €5 | Website | Distance: 0.80km
Visiting Orto Botanico

La Specola, Padua

Padova Specola
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Ivanfurlanis
La Specola is a 14th-century tower, formerly part of a medieval castle, and converted in 1767 into an astronomical observatory (specula) in Padua, region of Veneto, Italy. The 13th-century ruler of Padua, Ezzelino III da Romano, had built a castle at the site; this tower had served as a dungeon. In the 14th-century during a […]
Location: Museo La Specola, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Hours: Saturday & Sunday 4:00 – 5:00 PM | Price: Adults €7.00 | Website | Distance: 0.80km
Visiting La Specola, Padua

Prato della Valle

Prato Della Valle In Padua
CC BY-SA 4.0 / AnatolyPm
Prato della Valle is a 90,000-square-meter elliptical square in Padova, Italy. Prato della Valle is Italy’s largest square and one of Padua’s main sights. Today, the square is a large space with a green island at the center, l’Isola Memmia, surrounded by a small canal bordered by two rings of statues. Prato della Valle is […]
Location: Prato della Valle, Prato della Valle, Padua, Province of Padua, Italy | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 0.90km
Visiting Prato della Valle

Riviera del Brenta

Brenta Canal
CC BY-SA 3.0 / ildirettore
The Riviera del Brenta is an area of the Metropolitan City of Venice of particular tourist-cultural interest due to the great architectural heritage of the Venetian villas built between the 15th and 18th centuries by the nobles of the Venetian Republic along the river Brenta (now Naviglio del Brenta). The Brenta Canal stretches for many […]
Location: Lungargine del Piovego, 3, 35131 Padova PD, Italy | Distance: 1.40km
Visiting Riviera del Brenta

Villa Pisani, Stra

Città Di Stra Villa Pisani La Facciata Posteriore, Vista Del Parco
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Didier Descouens
Villa Pisani at Stra refers to the monumental, late-Baroque rural palace located along the Brenta Canal (Riviera del Brenta) at Via Doge Pisani 7 near the town of Stra, on the mainland of the Veneto, northern Italy. This villa is one of the largest examples of Villa Veneta located in the Riviera del Brenta, the […]
Location: Villa Pisani, Via Doge Pisani, Stra, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy | Hours: FROM THE 17TH TO THE 31ST OF MARCH From 9am to 6pm (from 5pm to 6pm exit only)FROM APRIL TO SEPTEMBER From 9am to 8pm (from 7pm to 8pm exit only)OCTOBER From 9am to 6pm (from 5pm to 6pm exit only)FROM NOVEMBER TO MARCH From 9am to 5pm (from 4pm to 5pm exit only)Open daily except on Mondays, May 1st , Christmas Day and January 1st . | Price: Adult - Visit to the Park and the Villa € 10,00 - Visit to the Park only € 4,50 | Website | Distance: 10.60km
Visiting Villa Pisani, Stra

Best Time to Visit Padova

Visiting Padua (Padova) offers a delightful experience throughout the year, but certain times might enhance your visit depending on your interests, especially in terms of weather and local events:

Spring (March to May): Spring is one of the best times to visit Padua. The weather is mild, making it ideal for walking tours of the city’s historic sites and enjoying the lush greenery of the world’s oldest botanical garden, the Orto Botanico. The city is less crowded, allowing for a more relaxed exploration of its museums and galleries.

Fall (September to November): Autumn is another excellent time to visit Padua. The temperatures are comfortable, perfect for exploring outdoor attractions and participating in local cultural events. The city also celebrates various festivals in the fall, which can provide a deeper insight into the local culture.

Summer (June to August): Summer in Padua can be quite warm, with temperatures occasionally rising significantly. While this is the peak tourist season, it also offers extended daylight hours to explore the city. Summer hosts several festivals, including the Feast of Saint Anthony on June 13, one of the city’s most important events, attracting many visitors.

Winter (December to February): Winters are typically cold and damp, but the city is quieter, which might appeal to those looking to avoid crowds. Winter is a good time to enjoy the indoor attractions such as the Palazzo della Ragione, the museums, and the warm cafés of Padua. The Christmas season also sees festive decorations and markets that add to the city’s charm.

For those interested in pleasant weather and cultural experiences without the crowds, spring and fall are the best times to visit Padua. These seasons offer the added benefit of witnessing the city in bloom and in vibrant autumnal colors, respectively.

 

Average Temperatures in Padova

  • January 10°C 7
  • February 13°C 11
  • March 18°C 9
  • April 21°C 10
  • May 25°C 15
  • June 31°C 11
  • July 34°C 10
  • August 32°C 11
  • September 28°C 12
  • October 24°C 11
  • November 15°C 17
  • December 10°C 9

How to get to Padova

Getting to Padua (Padova) in Italy is quite straightforward due to its well-connected transport network. Whether you’re coming from within Italy or from international locations, here are the best ways to reach Padua:

By Air

  • Nearest Airports: The nearest major airport is Venice Marco Polo Airport, which is about 40 kilometers away. Treviso Airport, mainly served by low-cost airlines, is also relatively close, about 50 kilometers from Padua.
  • Airport Transfers: From Venice Marco Polo Airport, you can take a direct bus or a combination of a bus and a train to reach Padua. The journey typically takes about an hour. From Treviso Airport, you can take a bus to Treviso train station and then a train to Padua.

By Train

  • From Major Cities: Padua is well-served by Italy’s extensive train network. High-speed trains (Frecciarossa and Italo) and regional trains connect Padua to major cities like Venice (about 25 minutes), Milan (about 2 hours), Florence (about 2 hours), and Rome (about 3-4 hours). The train station in Padua is centrally located and connects you to various parts of the city.
  • International Connections: There are also direct international trains from cities like Munich, Germany.

By Bus

  • Domestic and International Buses: Numerous bus companies operate services to Padua from various Italian cities as well as from other European countries. This can be a cost-effective option, especially for those traveling from nearby countries.

By Car

  • Driving: If you prefer to drive, Padua is accessible via the A4 motorway, which is one of the main motorways in northern Italy, connecting Turin, Milan, Verona, Venice, and Trieste. Padua has several exits off the A4, making it easy to get into the city.

By Boat

  • Canal Navigation: Though less common, Padua is connected by canals to the Venetian Lagoon, and it’s possible to reach the city by boat from Venice. This makes for a scenic but less conventional route.

Once in Padua, the city’s compact historical center makes it easy to explore on foot, or you can use local buses and trams to get around. The city is pedestrian-friendly, with many of the main sights located within walking distance from the train station.

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