Day 3: History of Padua, Baptistry Frescoes, Università

Karen and I began the day with a 7:00 walk toward Prato della Valle and managed to get lost on our return up the via Rudena. I ducked into a coffee bar and asked "Dov' è il santo?" and was pointed in the right direction. When we returned we had a huge breakfast from tables laid out for Elderhostel: salami, cheese, boiled eggs, maybe ten kinds of bread/rolls, yogurt, cereal, coffee, baskets of various fruits. This room, with its huge breakfast, was in a separate building from our hotel. Other meals were in a private restaurant room at the end of hotel's regular dining room.

Univ. of Padua
After breakfast we had an orientation session in our meeting room with an excellent lecture on the history of Padova and its University by Professore Francesco Giacobelli. The guy had quirks I would have loved imitating back in grad school: rubbing his nose and head (never messing his hair), wiping the board with a nearby table cloth.

After that we walked along via Francesco looking at shops. Stopped on a bridge (ponte corvo - see yesterday's map) over a canal where we saw fish swimming; a man played Italian love songs on his accordion on the other side of the bridge.

Following lunch we walked into town with our local Paduan guide Donatella Gaddo. We walked the via del Santo down to the Piazza di Antenore, where we saw the Tomba di Antenore (Virgil's Trojan refugee, mythical founder of Patavium - Padova - Padua). From there we walked past the Palazzo della Ragione in the Piazza del Erbe to the Duomo and Baptistry. There we saw, and learned about, the frescoes by Giusto de' Menabuoi at the Baptistry.

Re-tracing our way, we went to the Palazzo Bo (University of Padua). There we saw Galileo's lecture hall, the teatro anatomico where the first dissections were performed (we stood below the corpse area and looked up into it), and the beautiful room where they still conduct oral exams for the MD degree. This contains paintings of famous anatomy teachers who taught there -- Andreas Vesalius, Bartolomeo Eustachio, Gabriele Fallopio, William Harvey. That room also contained a shelf full of the skulls of early faculty; they had donated their bodies for their students to dissect. I wonder why my students and professors never thought of that.


Palazzo della Ragione

Duomo & Baptistry

Wedding Feast at Cana

Baptistry dome

Palazzo del Bo


lecture hall

Anatomy theater

Caffè Pedrocchi
A few of my pictures from today, Università di Padova

Karen in Piazza delle Erbe

Courtyard of Palazzo Bò

Family Crests, 2nd floor

Donatella in front of Theodora