A weekend in Padova discovering ancient painting, palaces and churches

In 2020 we will know if Padova will have made it. In fact, next year, the UNESCO commission will decide whether to declare the Venetian city a World Heritage Site, for the Scrovegni Chapel and the 14th-century pictorial cycles.

Eight unique places, united in the Padova Urbs Picta project, which tell the story of 14th century Padua starting from an undisputed masterpiece like the frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel painted by Giotto.
 
While awaiting the decision of the Unesco World Heritage Committee, we propose a weekend in the candidate city discovering the eight public and private realities that are the protagonists of the project.

The starting point can only be the Scrovegni Chapel, the leading monument of the candidacy. The visit to the room that houses the best preserved fresco work by Giotto, universally considered his masterpiece, must be booked in advance (cappelladegliscrovegni.it). After a short introductory video the visitor enters for about 15 minutes in the Chapel dedicated to Santa Maria della Carità, frescoed between 1303 and 1305 by Giotto on request of Enrico degli Scrovegni. Immersed in silence you can admire the masterfully painted walls with scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin, figures of prophets and allegories that flow under the lapis lazuli blue starry sky of the vault and accompany it to the majestic vision of the great Universal Judgment painted in the counter-façade




The second stop is located a few hundred meters from the chapel and is the Church of Saints Philip and James of the Eremitans which preserves a cycle of frescoes depicting the stories of the saints Philip; Giacomo and Agostino, commissioned in Guariento around 1361.

Moving towards the center of Padua, not without having made a stop at the famous Caffè Pedrocchi (caffepedrocchi.it), we arrive in the lively Piazza delle Erbe, our third stop: the Palazzo della Ragione. The ancient seat of the city courts, built in 1218, preserves the largest hanging hall in Europe embellished with 14th century murals that reproduce astrological subjects linked to the administration of divine and earthly justice. The Giottesque cycle was unfortunately lost during the fire of the Carraresi archive in 1420.


Padova, Palazzo della Ragione


The fouth stop is in nearby Piazza Duomo: the Baptistery of the Cathedral. Elegantly decorated by Giusto de 'Menabuoi on commission by Fina Buzzaccarini, wife of Francesco il Vecchio da Carrara, Lord of Padua in the fourteenth century, he proposes in a space of limited dimensions the most salient episodes of the Old and New Testament.

Not far away is the fifth stop: the Chapel of the Carrarese Palace in Via Accademia. Here you can admire the only part of the Carrarese Palace that has remained intact: the Loggia, built in 1343 and subsequently closed and transformed into a Chapel and frescoed between 1355 and 1360 by Guariento with scenes from the Old Testament.

A short and pleasant walk in the historic center then leads to our sixth stop: the Basilica and Convent of the Saint. A religious center frequented in all seasons by pilgrims whose construction began in 1232 to house the tomb of the Franciscan friar Antonio, who died in Padua in 1231. The Basilica is a jewel of 14th century painting with frescoes by Giotto, in the Chapel of the Madonna Mora, in the Chapel of Blessings and in the Chapter Room; by Giusto de Menabuoi, in the Chapel of Blessed Luca Belludi; by Altichiero da Zevio and Jacopo Avanzi, in the Chapel of San Giacomo.

Also worth seeing are the beautiful cloisters, such as the one in the Antoniano Museum which houses, in addition to the Lunetta del Mantenga with the saints Antonio and Bernardino da Siena, the altarpieces of Tiepolo.

On the Piazza del Santo there is also the Oratory of San Giorgio, our penultimate stop. Founded as a family funerary chapel of the Marquis Lupi di Soragna and finished in 1377, this church was painted by Altichiero da Zevio, who finished the splendid pictorial cycle in 1384.

Our tour in Urbis Picta ends in the Oratory of San Michele, a chapel built by the Paduan family de Bovi on the foundation of a sacred Lombard building destroyed by fire. Here you can admire the frescoes centered on the Marian cycle and the daily life in the city created in 1397 by Jacopo da Verona.
 

Where to stay

The Hotel Belludi 37 takes its name from the central street in which it is located. It combines contemporary design with more classic lines; the rooms are refined, cared for down to the last detail and very welcoming. Some apartments are also available.

Padova, Church of Saint Anthony