Before Christmas I visited the lovely city of Padova (or “Padua” if you want to be boring and anglicise it) which is possibly the oldest city in Northern Italy as it dates back to 1183 BC. It is full of beautiful little piazzas and quaint streets all of which are encircled by the Bacchiglione river, making it an extremely photogenic spot and great for visiting by foot.
Here are my top 5 tips for a trip to Padova:
1. Stay at the Youth Hostel
The youth hostel in Padova is located on Via Aleardo Aleardi which is just around the corner from this beautiful view of the river from the bridge on Via S. Gregorio Barbarigo. It only costs 19 euro a night in a six bed dorm with breakfast included. Being tongue-twisted by the street names will cause only minimal annoyance when you can grab a croissant and wake up to this view!
2. Go to the Piazza dei Signori at night
By night Padova is just as charming as it is in the light of day. In the Piazza dei signori there are a few nice bars but it is also a great reference point to depart from if you’d like to explore the bars and cafes along the side streets. Otherwise it’s just a great place to gaze thoughtfully at the moon and the dimly lit facade of St. Clemente church. Well that’s what I did anyway.
3. Go for a walk along the river
The river Bacchiglione surrounds Padova like a moat and meanders through its narrow streets and ancient buildings. I couldn’t help but stop at every little bridge and admire the view. For the best bridge snaps I recommend going for a stroll along the Eastern edge of the city where the old roman walls used to be. Otherwise just go with the flow.
4. Have a coffee in Caffè Pedrocchi
A visit to Padova wouldn’t be complete without sampling a coffee in the famous Caffè Pedrocchi which was established in 1831. Their speciality coffee which is the cafe’s namesake is an espresso with mint liquor and cocoa powder. Don’t let the upmarket furnishings scare you off. It may look like the Ritz (there is even a white grand piano) but just a coffee won’t leave a bitter taste in your mouth…or your pocket.
5. Discover the city’s parks
It’s always good to get some fresh air in a nice green space and Padova has some lovely little parks dotted around its edges. This is the Giardini dell’arena to the north of the city where you can also visit the remains of the old Roman theatre. It’s the perfect place for a morning stroll.