Padua – Italy
Home to the world’s first botanical gardens
On our second part of this day, after visiting the city of Vicenza, we complete it with Padua, really next door. It’s only 40 kilometres to the east of the former, just 17 minutes by train, a bit more by car or bus, but easy to manage without any rush in the same day. Vicenza is too small, and while Padua has a bigger historic town, it is also very compact and easy to navigate through in a nice sightseeing pace. Include here there is a sight that is not architecture nor monument; it’s a botanical garden. To be precise, the world’s first of its kind, and so beautiful and historic that it made its way to be listed an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Padua is home to the second oldest university in Italy, founded in 1222, where Galileo Galilei was a lecturer in the 16th century. It’s also setting for most of Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew. And to complete with a further fact where this city has been showcased, there is the play by writer Oscar Wilde, The Duchess Of Padua. Much earlier in its history, the importance, development and power was such that during the 1st century BC it was the wealthiest city in the Italian peninsula only after Rome. Yet since the fall of the Roman Empire, the city succumbed to numerous invasions and rulings,periods of war, destruction and recovery. By when in 1866 it was annexed to Italy, it was the poorest region, only to be hit once again during WWI, WWII and through the fascist era.
So while you might expect from what was one of the important cities in Roman times some nice archaeological remains, scattered through the city, it’s not the case. A lot of of the classical and medieval fabric disappeared, however most of it has been rebuilt, together with the new fascist style buildings from the era; still, it’s an incredible beautiful and pleasant city to visit, and a strong tourist pole. After the fall of the fascist era, the city has boomed in every sense becoming once again one of the wealthiest in Italy. (more…)