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Things to do in Padua

    Scrovegni Chapel Scrovegni Chapel Padua, Italy
    The Scrovegni Chapel or Cappella degli Scrovegni or even the Arena Chapel, is a marvelous church in Padua, Veneto, Italy, with a magnificent fresco cycle by Giotto that was created in 1305, and one of the most significant masterpieces of the Western art. It would be dedicated to Santa Maria della Carita during the Feast of the Annunciation in 1305 and the fabulous frescoes concentrate on the life of the Virgin Mary and continues to celebrate her role in the salvation of man. It is known as the Arena Chapel since it had been constructed on land that was bought by Enrico Scrovegni, and had been the site of a Roman arena. This sacred area is the location where an open-air procession and sacred presentation of the Annunciation to the Virgin had been showcased for a generation before the unique chapel was ever constructed. Marchetto da Padova would compose a motet for that dedication on March 25, 1305. The chapel would be commissioned by Scrovegni, whose family had made their fortune through the practice of usury, that at time was charging interest when they loaned money to people and was as sin so grave that it would end up in the exclusion of the person or persons from the Christian sacraments. The church would be constructed on his family's estate and many believe that Scrovegni was building the chapel in penitence for his father's sins and some absolution for his own. Actually, his father, Reginaldo degli Scrovegni was the usurer that Dante had met in the Seventh Circle of Hell, and a study of the period has also shown that Enrico himself had been involved in the practice. His tomb resides in the apse, and he is also portrayed in the Last Judgment that gives a model of the chapel to the Virgin. Giotto had been an architect as well as being a great artist, although no one knows for sure if he was the designer of the chapel. Besides his outstanding paintings, the chapel is not adorned, but does feature a barrel vault roof, and Giotto's Last Judgment spans an entire wall above the entrance and includes the devotional portrait of Enrico. Each of the remaining walls is arrayed in three tiers of fresco groups, each of them with four one foot square scenes, and facing the altar, the sequence starts at the top of the right hand wall containing scenes from the life of the Virgin, including the annunciation of her mother and presentation of the temple. The series then continues to the nativity, the passion of Christ, the resurrection and the Pentecost. These beautiful fresco panels are famous for their sculptural figures, natural spaces and very emotional intensity.

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Local Restaurants in Padua

    Ristorante Belle Parti
    Entrees; grilled mackerel & sardines fried; scampi; prawn curry with pineapple & wild rice Canadian red; octopus Carpaccio, roasted, fried; boiled or unboiled veal, tuna, capers; beef tenderloin asparagus, egg & parmesan cheese sails; buffalo bill; tiradoti Viking smoked salt duck, Norwegian pepper & veggies.

    Per Bacco Ristorante
    Entrees; sliced tuna; supreme of turbot with potatoes nostrano; croaker fillet with artichokes; scottona filled crusted with parmesan & red wine sauce; Florentine & sorana rump; braised beef with barolo.

Grilled Mackerel Ristorante Belle Parti Padua, Italy

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    Basilica of St. Anthony Basilica of St. Anthony Padua, Italy
    The Pontifical Basilica of St. Anthony of Padua, Italy is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica that is visited by people from around the world, and known locally as Il Santo. The construction of this church started sometime around 1232, a year after the death of St. Anthony, and finished in 1301, but some structural modifications would be needed later on. These would happen between the end of the 14th and mid 15th centuries, which included the falling of the ambulatory and building of a new choir screen. The saint, according to his last testament, wanted to be buried in the small church of Santa Maria Mater Domini, sometime in the late 12th century and close to a convent that he had founded in 1229. The church would later be incorporated into the basilica as the Chapel of the Dark Madonna. The church is a huge edifice, but without any particular architectural style, beginning as a single nave church, with an apsidal chancel, two square nave bays roofed with hemispherical domes, more related to a Romanesque style and broad transepts. In the 13th century, it would add aisles in the gothic style, the length of each nave bay separated into two aisle bays with pointed arches and quadripartite vaults. The interior houses many funerary monuments, with a few of outstanding artistic value, while the Chapel of the Holy Sacrament located in the right aisle, would contain the tomb of the famous condottiero Gattamelata and his son, Giannantonio. The chapel has broad bands of polychrome and carved gothic details, with numerous stages of decorations, and the last one would be the creation of an atmospheric mosaic in the high rear niche that represents the Holy Spirit that has rays of sunlight coming down with rays of golden light and descending to a background of magnificent blue sky. It would be created by Lodovico Pogliaghi between 1927 and 1936. The artifacts of St. Anthony would be placed in the elaborate baroque treasury chapel that had been started in 1691, and the body of the saint, that lies in the Madonna Mora chapel, has, from 1350, lain in a separate transept chapel, whose interior had been decorated by Tullio Lombardo that would also paint many of the high-reliefs. The statues, from the late 16th century were created by Tiziano Aspetti. The church contains numerous images of the Madonna, like the Madonna Mora statue of the Madonna holding the Christ child that was created by the French sculptor, Rainaldino di Puy-l'Eveque that he would create in 1396.

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    BaptisteryBaptistery Padua, Italy
    The Baptistery is sitting next to the Padua Cathedral, where the baptismal font would be located, that can either be included in the church or separately, as in this case, and it encompasses the font, where the sacrament of baptism would be administered. The octagonal plan of the Lateran Baptistery, the first such structure ever built, would offer a widely followed model, that can be twelve sides or round like the tower of Pisa. In a room called the narthex or anteroom, the catechumens would be instructed in the reason for the baptism and after making their confession of faith, they would be baptized. The main area inside the baptistery, is centered on the font, where the people being baptized would be immersed three times, and there are three steps that lead down to the font, where a gold or silver dove would be hanging. The iconography of the frescoes or mosaics that decorated the walls would usually be scenes of the life of Saint John the Baptist, and the font would always be made of stone, although metals have been used occasionally. This font is fed by a natural spring, and when it had been the site of a palatial residence, before Constantine would give it to Bishop Miltiades, the spring would be the main water source for the people living there. As the Christian baptisteries would grow, the Christianization of the sacred pagan springs would give the best natural resources for the font.

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    Fondazione Bano Palazzo ZabarellaZabarella Palace Padua, Italy
    The Zabrella Palace is a historic structure in Padua, Italy and had been constructed by the Zabarella family, around the historic heart of the city, and built on top of old Roman foundations, although by the Middle Ages, it would look as it does today. The last Zabrarella, James, during the 19th century, would enhance the interior with magnificent works from Francesco Hayez, Giuseppe Borsato and Giovanni Carlo Bevilacqua. James would pass on in 1846, without having left any heirs, the residence would be inhabited by his wife and descendants, and later sold and still used as a private residence until 1920, when the Credito Veneto would purchase it and make the magnificent palace, the location of its headquarters. When WWII ended, the structure would be used as the headquarters of the Society of Casino Pedrocchi, where the educated people of the city would meet. In 1988, it would leave the marvelous building, which would mark the beginning of the decade of rejuvenation and archaeological excavations, and would be opened in 1996, with many forgotten features from the Middle Ages, and other marvelous antiquities. Today, the palace is home to the Foundation Bano, a private business that strives to promote and improve the historic and artistic heritage of many of the city's structures, as well as promoting art exhibitions of international notoriety.

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    Castello del CatajoCastello del Catajo Padua, Italy
    The Castello del Catajo is considered to be a patrician house, although it looks more like a mansion, is sitting on a marvelous piece of land near Padua, Italy that had originally been constructed as a simple villa that would later be reconstructed and then fabulously enlarged like an old feudal castle, from 1570 and ensuring years, by Marchese Pio Enea I degli Obizzi, one of the prominent Italian families of French origin. It houses a huge cycle of historical battle scenes frescoed in 1571 and 1572 by Giambattista Zelotti, who had been a student of Paolo Veronese; starting with the Roman period and ending in the military victories of Pio Enea degli Obizzi, that would be created in the gardens using spectacles and tourneys. His nephew, Pio Enea II would further increase the size of the castle with a grand entry courtyard, that would be showcased by sculptures placed on high drum pedestals that would all be dominated by the baroque Elephant fountain. During the 19th century, the estate would become the property of Francis V, the Duke of Modena, who would later leave it to the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. While the world was involved in the struggles and battles of WWI, the castle would then be inherited by Charles I of Austria, who would become the last emperor of Austro-Hungary; although it would be sequestered by the Italian state for war reparations. They would turn around and sell it in 1926 to the Dalla Francesca family, that now have opened it to the public.

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July 27, 2011