Padua and the Venetian villas

A city permeated by history, culture and religious devotion able to enchant you with thousands of stories that spring from its buildings, monuments, corners and streets.

Padua: “The city of the three without”

Padua, the fascinating city where history, culture and religious devotion indissolubly intertwine with its ancient University, artistic jewels such as Giotto’s frescoes and the shrines of Saints calling pilgrims from all over the world, is curiously known as “The city of the three without”, that is to say: “The Saint without a name”, “The Café without doors” and the “The Meadow without grass”, a local name that reflects the affection and pride of the Paduans for their city.

The Basilica of St. Anthony

“The Saint without a name” is Saint Anthony of Padua, so much present in the life of the city that not only overthrew the original patron but it is not even necessary to say his name. If a Paduan tells you: “Let’s go to the Saint” he means: “Let’s go to the Basilica of St. Anthony”, the monumental religious artwork that houses the tomb and the relics of the saint, as well as absolute masterpieces such as the bronze statues of Donatello.

The Pedrocchi Café

It is called “The Café without doors” because once it remained open day and night. This elegant neoclassical building represents the heart of the city both for its location and because it was historically the meeting place for all the citizens, nobles and middle-class, literates and commoners. Crossroads of students and scholars, it is from here that the revolutionary movements of the Risorgimento began.

Prato della Valle

“The Meadow without grass” is Prato della Valle, one of the largest squares in Europe, second only to Red Square in Moscow. It has an elliptical form, a watercourse around an island in the centre, which is covered with grass. The bizarre saying is nothing more than a playful pun between the name of the square and the ancient meaning of the Latin word for “meadow”: in the Middle Ages, in fact, “pratum” indicated a wide open space where events such us the markets took place and which, not being paved, could be covered by grass.

The Venetian Villas along the Brenta River

Along the Brenta river, the ancient link between Venice and Padua, you can admire a series of wonderful villas built between the XV and XVIII centuries by the Venetian noble families as Summer houses. The most famous is undoubtedly the Malcontenta, which was designed by Palladio and has been nominated “Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO. There are not many villas open to visitors, but going along the river you can admire many of them, especially in the area of Stra, Dolo and Mira.

Venice Casanova B&B is about 22 miles away from Padua, which can be reached via different routes.

How to get to Padua from Venice Casanova

The fastest route (about 40 minutes depending on traffic) is through the Tangenziale di Mestre and the A4/E70.
However, choosing the longest route along the S11, you can enjoy the scenery along the river Brenta and its magnificent villas.