Navigation from Stra to Padua
The Brenta Canal, once used as a communication route between Padua and Venice, can still be travelled today and is one of the itineraries suggested by the Houseboat. You’ll have to test yourself passing locks and swing bridges, but the views of the many Venetian villas and beautiful Padua will reward your efforts.
Once you have passed the numerous Venetian Villas along the Canal, you will arrive in the culturally rich city of Padua. Let yourself be fascinated by the city’s monuments.
Here are some that you absolutely must see:
– The Scrovegni Chapel, built by Enrico degli Scrovegni and frescoed by Giotto, is a masterpiece of 14th-century Italian and European painting. It is considered the most complete cycle of frescoes created by the great Tuscan master. The pictorial cycle of the Chapel is developed in three main themes: episodes from the life of Joachim and Anne, episodes from the life of Mary and episodes from the life and death of Christ. Below these frescoes, a series of panels illustrate the allegories of the Vices and Virtues.
– The Basilica of St. Anthony is one of the main Catholic places of worship in the city of Padua. Known by Padua residents simply as the ‘Basilica del Santo’, it houses the relics of St Anthony of Padua and his tomb. In front of the Basilica, in the Piazza del Santo, is the equestrian statue of Gattamelata by Donatello, erected in honour of the leader of the Republic of Venice Erasmo da Narni, known as Gattamelata.
– Prato della Valle is one of the largest squares in Europe. The current configuration dates back to the end of the 18th century and is characterised by a central elliptical island, called “isola Memmia”, surrounded by a small canal on whose banks there is a double ring of statues. There are currently 78 statues and a precise regulation (issued by the President of the Prato in 1776) establishes the rules for the creation of the statues: no living people could be portrayed, no saints could be portrayed (the altars of the churches were reserved for them) and all the people portrayed had to have had a connection with the city. In most cases, university professors, artists, leaders or former rulers of the city are portrayed.
The city of Padua is home to one of the oldest universities in the world, founded back in 1222. Galileo Galilei taught there for some years and it is possible to visit his Chair. Padua is also home to the world’s oldest Anatomical Theatre.
Buy the “Naviglio del Brenta” waterway map to get a guide with information on moorings and locks, as well as useful information on what to visit.