Posted by: Debra Kolkka | September 22, 2015

A very big piazza

I am in Padova, one of Italy’s underrated cities. Padova is almost devoid of tourists, which is ridiculous. It is a fabulous city. It reminds me a bit of Bologna, also bypassed by tourists. It has kilometres of porticoes, not quite as grand as those of Bologna, but just as useful in bad weather.

It also has a spectacular square, Prato della Valle. It has been an important part of life in Roman, medieval and modern Padova. Excavations have revealed evidence of a semicircular Roman orchestra pit with graduated seating supported by semicircular walls.

Centuries on the Prato fell into a state of decay, and by the end of the 18th century was an abandoned, unhealthy marsh. In 1767 the Senate declared it to be public property and the Venetian Procurator Andrea Memmo undertook to reclaim it.

Architect Domenico Cerato created a modern square in the shape of  an 18th century table centrepiece. The “Isola Memmia” is surrounded by a canal with stone balustrades and 4 little bridges.

Prato della Valle

Prato della Valle

Prato della Valle

Prato della Valle

Prato della Valle


87 white stone statues border the canal on either side making it look very flash indeed.

Prato della Valle

While they are not sculptural masterpieces, they do look grand, especially with the city and the Basilica of Santa Giustina in the background.

Prato della Valle

Prato della Valle

Prato della Valle


Prato della Valle

Prato della Valle

Prato della Valle

Prato della Valle

Prato della Valle is a wonderful green space in the city for residents and visitors to enjoy.

Prato della Valle

There will be more to come on the delights of Padova.





  1. what a lovely Italian city.

    • It is a wonderful city. I think it may become a regular place to visit.

  2. How beautiful this city is! I have yet to visit Padova, but next time I’m in Venice I must take a day trip. As always Iove your photos, Debra

    • You really must come to Padova. It is the best combination of old and new.

  3. We love Padova, its a beautiful city and the St Anthony Basilica is a magical place to visit!!! Definitely worth a visit 🙂

    • I am staying opposite the church and have already been twice. Those high reliefs are incredible. It is a pity photos are not allowed in most of the churches here.

  4. Such a stunningly beautiful clean city. It looks so peaceful. Lovely photos

    • It is a sophisticated, modern city in an ancient setting. I love it.

  5. What a beautiful city Deb.
    how is the coffee ??

    • The coffee is great, particularly at the Pedrocchi Caffe.

  6. Shh. Don’t tell people, let’s keep it crowd free, please.

    • People seem set on going to the well known places when there is so much on offer in Italy.

  7. Those images have been beautifully framed, the one at the bottom seems a signature shot. Thank you for taking me to Padova and the promise of more.

    • I smiled as I took the last one. Those girls had no idea what a lovely photo they made. Padova is a great place to be.

  8. The next time I am there, I must visit…! Padova’s caffe Pedrocchi is what I have heard about so much!

    • I went there and there will be a post on their special coffee.

      • Yay!

  9. Debra – lovely to see those photos of ‘our beloved’ Padova. Every Italy visit (nearly yearly) starts with this beautiful peaceful place. It is so easy to fly from India into Venice with EMIRATES and then this short busride into the centre of P. There is so much to see. We cannot wait to go back and then on to Rome etc.

    • We came here 12 years ago and had a bad experience. I thought I should give it another chance and I am so glad it did. It will now be on our ever growing list of places to visit regularly. You could come for the frescoes alone.

  10. Lovely photos – the last one is a gem isn’t it. Does the architecture in Padova seem somewhat different from the other Italian cities you’ve been to?

    • Padova reminds me a bit of Venice (very close), a bit of Bologna, but each place in Italy has a quality all its own and Padova is very special.

  11. Wonderful!

    • I didn’t know what to expect of Padova and was very pleasantly surprised.

  12. Lovely piece on Padova, Debra! It is completely underrated, which is good for us “locals” who like to visit. Your second-to-last photo with the statue “waving” to the angel was fabulous. Keep that one for a contest!

    • Padova is going to become a place to visit often. I really like it. The atmosphere is lively and fun, apart from the strict “No photos!” in many places, which annoys me a lot.

  13. Rather than ridiculous, I would find it a joy to have Padova all to myself without other tourists

    • I enjoy being in a place not swarming with tourists too. I was merely pointing out that it is a beautiful place, and I don’t understand why it is not more popular with visitors.

  14. I’d love to lie in the park with those surroundings on a gorgeous summer day!

  15. […] took myself off to Padova to the the Giotto frescoes and fell in love with this underrated […]

  16. […] Prato delle Valle was once the site of a Roman theatre. Excavations revealed a semicircular orchestra pit with a radius of 15.52 metres. Now it is a huge green space. Isola Memmia, the centrepiece, is surrounded by a circular canal with stone balustrades and four quaint bridges. 87 white stone statues border the canal on either side. See more here. […]

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