Basilica di Sant'Antonio
Basilica in Padova
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 the city, a title belonging to the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Mary of Padua. The basilica is known locally as “il Santo”. It is one of the national shrines recognized by the Holy See.
Although born in Lisbon, Portugal, the 13th-century preacher, St. Antony, lived and worked in Padua, which claims him as its own. The saint is buried here, at the Basilica di Sant’Antonio, which lead it to becoming a popular pilgrimage destination. Construction of the Basilica probably began around 1232, just one year after the death of St. Anthony.
The pillared basilica shows a fantastic mingling of Romanesque, Gothic, and Byzantine features, and is highly picturesque, with its two slender towers; the conical dome over the crossing; and seven other round domes, which were heightened in 1424.
The interior is equally interesting and filled with notable artworks. In the north aisle is the 16th-century Cappella di Sant’Antonio, with nine high reliefs of the same period, scenes from the life of St. Antony by Jacopo Sansovino, Antonio, Tullio Lombardi, and others. The chapel also contains beautiful marble inlay. Inside the altar, which is hung with ex-votos, are the saint’s remains.
The high altar by Donatello (1443-50), restored in 1895, has the original sculpture, also by Donatello. His bronze panels are hard to see, but you can get a good view of the stone bas reliefs. On the left of the altar is a magnificent bronze candelabrum.
Beyond the ambulatory (with several frescoed chapels), in the Cappella del Tesoro or Cappella delle Reliquie (1690), are fine examples of gold work. On the south side of the church are four beautiful cloisters, built from the 13th to 16th centuries.
Visiting Basilica di Sant'Antonio
6.20am-6.45pm Mon-Sat, to 7.45pm Sun