I am in Padova, one of Italy’s underrated cities. Padova is almost devoid of tourists, which is ridiculous. It is a fabulous city. It reminds me a bit of Bologna, also bypassed by tourists. It has kilometres of porticoes, not quite as grand as those of Bologna, but just as useful in bad weather.
It also has a spectacular square, Prato della Valle. It has been an important part of life in Roman, medieval and modern Padova. Excavations have revealed evidence of a semicircular Roman orchestra pit with graduated seating supported by semicircular walls.
Centuries on the Prato fell into a state of decay, and by the end of the 18th century was an abandoned, unhealthy marsh. In 1767 the Senate declared it to be public property and the Venetian Procurator Andrea Memmo undertook to reclaim it.
Architect Domenico Cerato created a modern square in the shape of an 18th century table centrepiece. The “Isola Memmia” is surrounded by a canal with stone balustrades and 4 little bridges.
87 white stone statues border the canal on either side making it look very flash indeed.
While they are not sculptural masterpieces, they do look grand, especially with the city and the Basilica of Santa Giustina in the background.
Prato della Valle is a wonderful green space in the city for residents and visitors to enjoy.
There will be more to come on the delights of Padova.