#DutchieInItaly: First weeks in Padova

By Sherilynn van der Schoor - 19:25:00

Hi everyone!

Today I am writing my first post in Italy! I am almost a month in Padova now and I am loving it so much. For those who do not know, I am studying a semester at the University of Padova in Italy. Padova is a big old city in the area Veneto and it has the second oldest university of Italy (Bologna is the oldest), so I'm not complaining at all! In this post, I will tell you about my first weeks here in Padova and show some pictures of this beautiful old city. If you're curious about my adventures, continue reading! Oh, and if you don't want to miss any post about my study abroad in Italy, go submit your e-mail on the right side and you will get notified when there is a new post online!

After flying from Brussels Charleroi to Venice Treviso and taking the bus to Padova, I  arrived in Padova on Sunday, February 25. It was already late and I was pretty tired from the long and emotional day, so I went straight to my cute AirBnB to get some sleep.

The Duomo of Padova
Since the Welcome days would start on Tuesday, I was free on Monday. I  had to arrange some stuff for uni, which I combined with wandering through the city. My first impression? I don't mind living here for the upcoming months! The architecture in this city is so pretty, so many old buildings and colourful houses, love it!
At first, when I stood at the back of this church, I thought it was the San Antonio (more about this church later), but I was wrong. I was confused because this church also has a blue dome like the San Antonio, but apparently, that is just a typical thing of the churches in Padova. I actually am still a bit surprised that this is the cathedral of Padova. Normally, the biggest and most impressive church in a city is the cathedral, but this one is small compared to other churches in Padova. It is still very pretty though and worth a visit, but I expected more of it.

Piazza dei Signori
Piazza dei Signori is the place to have a drink at night. It is a square near the Duomo with a lot of bars and restaurants. In the summer, according to the tour guide, a lot of students are hanging out here. I really love the big clock at this square which shows all the Zodiac signs, except for one, the sign of Libra. The popular story is that the artist of the clock did this on purpose since he did not get the amount of money he wanted.

Palazzo della Ragione
This huge building can be found in the centre of Padova. It separates the two squares Piazza della Frutta (Square of Fruits) and Piazza delle Erbe (Square of herbs). The squares look quite similar and it may be hard to distinguish them, but Piazza delle Erbe has a fountain and Piazza della Frutta not! On the ground floor of Palazzo della Ragione, different food shops can be found. The upper level is a sight you have to see in Padova. The walls are covered with beautiful frescoes by servers of the famous fresco painter Giotto. One of the most famous works of Giotto can also be found in Padova, in the Scrovegni Chapel, but I will tell about this chapel another time.

Look how cute the streets are here in Padova! I love the fact that a lot of houses have these arches. It just looks so Italian and it is very useful when it is raining and you don't have an umbrella haha.

Basilica di Sant'Antonio di Padova
Now, let's talk about the church that is one of the main sights in Padova, the Basilica of Sant'Antonio. Well, actually, it is not a property of Padova, but it is a non-extraterritorial property of the Vatican. I definitely understand why people travel to Padova specifically for this church. It is so impressive. Another reason why a lot of people visit this church are the relics of Saint Anthony. In the basilica, you can find the tongue, vocal chords and mandible of this saint, so be prepared haha.
I have visited the church once now, but I will definitely visit it again in the upcoming months!

Prato della Valle
Last but not least, I want to talk about this huge square in Padova, which is also one of the main sights here, Prato della Valle. It is the biggest square in Italy and also one of the biggest squares in Europe. I think it is one of the prettiest squares I have seen in my life. The square has the shape of an ellipse and 78 (!) statues can be found here, including a statue of Galileo Galilei (Fun fact: Galilei has been a teacher at the University of Padova) and the Roman historian Titus Livius (Fun fact for my Latin buddies: Livius was born and raised in Padova). In the past, there were 88 statues, but Napoleon has destroyed some statues. These statues are now replaced by obelisks.  
Prato della Valle is also a popular social spot, so I can't wait for better weather and hanging out here with some friends!

That's it for my first post about my semester abroad! I hope you liked it!
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