Padua is one of the most-visited cities in northern Italy. It is also an important religious and pilgrimage center associated with the cult of Saint Anthony. The Old Town is packed with historic buildings, among which the local churches come to the fore.
Padua was founded by the Venedes in the 4th century BC. However, nothing remained of the settlement at that time due to the powerful invasion of the Lombards, which destroyed it in the 7th century. Another flourishing of the city was the Middle Ages. One of the oldest universities in the world was founded here in the 12th century. At that time, students from all over Europe came to Padua. They included, among others Nicolaus Copernicus or Jan Kochanowski. One of the most important preachers of the Middle Ages, Saint Antonia, lived and worked in Padua in the 13th century.
The most important monument of Padua is the Basilica of Saint Anthony built in the 13th century. It is a Gothic-Romanesque building with Byzantine elements. Inside there is the tomb of Saint Anthony with his relics and a Polish chapel founded by Poles studying here in the 16th century. In front of the cathedral there is a equestrian statue of Gattamelata by Donatell.
An outstanding work of art is the Scrovegnich Chapel, covered inside with frescoes by Giotto. It is not inferior to its Romanesque cathedral with its adjoining round presbytery decorated with magnificent frescoes depicting the Glory of Christ and scenes from the Book of Genesis and the basilica of Saint Justyna. Within the Old Town you can also see the buildings of the university, with the main building called Palazzo del Bo. The most important square of the city is Prato della Valle with a lawn and an island surrounded by a canal and sculptures of 78 figures distinguished for the city.