Wow, it has been far too long since I’ve posted. Especially since a lot has been going on!
The family that I am au pairing for live permanently in Padova (also known as Padua to us English speakers/readers), Italy. Padova is the capital of the province of Padua, is primarily an industrial region, and is home to the renowned University of Padova (where Galileo once lectured). The population is a little over 200,000 people, and, when walking around downtown, it seems like a lot of them are students!
After spending the morning with the kids, I was dropped off downtown to have a look around. In general, the vibe of downtown Padova is very hip, young, and relaxed. There is a ton of shopping (I’ve restrained myself from purchasing clothes thus far, but I might not be able to any longer…), and there are many inexpensive cafes and restaurants to sit, have a drink, and people-watch. The first thing I did, was explore the ruins of a Roman amphitheater. Not too much was left, but it was some nice scenery, nonetheless.
The idea had been to stick to the main street, since I didn’t have a map with me. My curiosity overtook me soon enough, and I headed down a side street. Of course, the street I headed down first was in the Ghetto! Apparently my JewPS was working that day! I found a picturesque cafe and promptly ordered a “vino bianco e seco” (dry white wine). As a side note, many of the wines offered in restaurants are regional, so I don’t order a specific type like chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, etc., when I sit down. I just ask for whatever flavor profile I’m in the mood for and trust that the server will give me what I’m looking for!
After a leisurely drink, I started walking again. I came across many churches, expansive palazzos, and, of course, clothing stores. In particular, a ceiling at the University stood out to me. As you might be able to see in the picture, the ceiling is painted with coats of arms of local aristocracy, prominent community figures, and students, and the walls are decorated with stone-carved coats of arms of more important people. Next time I’m downtown, I’m definitely going to go back to the University for some tours. They have one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, as well as the Palazzo Bo (where you can tour an anatomical theatre and the Aula Magna, where Galileo lectured)!
I continued my walk in the hopes of finding food and eventually came upon this gorgeous, oval-shaped park. There was a large green area with a moat. Statues of important men (but what about the women???) surrounded both sides of the moat, and inside was green space with a fountain and LOTS of people sucking face. Later on, I found out that this place was called the Prato della Valle.
Finally, I decided that food was absolutely necessary. On a side street, I came across a small cafe and sat down for an insalata mista. I’d definitely go back to that place again because it was super casual and cheap!
Downtown Padova is an excellent place to walk around and explore, even if you don’t have a set plan in mind. I’m excited to go back there and do some real touristy things to learn more about one of the places I’m staying in!