Experience England with 5 Unique Activities

Experience England with 5 Unique Activities

England, Britain, or the United Kingdom, what’s in a name?  Whichever way you call it the country will be just as lovely.  I’m sure it’s also a country that’s on most folks’ bucket list.  And it should be!  England has many things to offer; history, museums, rivers, ancient sites, quaint villages, and of course the Royals who seem to fascinate many people.

Everyone has their own vision of what England means to them.  From ancient henges to modern buildings, traditional high tea to international cuisine, palaces to cottages, and ancient art to modern art England has it all and more.  If your idea of a vacation in England is a whirlwind trip to London to see Big Ben and wander thru the British museum that’s great!  You can pretty much see most of London in two or three days, maybe even less.  But if you’re looking for a truly memorable English vacation read on!  Here are 5 unique activities to really experience England, I’m sure doing just one of them will make your vacation special!

EnglandTraditional High Tea

One simply can’t go to England without going to a fancy traditional high tea.  This centuries old tradition has been served at many of England’s fine hotels and tea shops forever.  I’m not really sure what the difference is between Afternoon Tea and High Tea; I’ve heard that high tea is served more formally at the table with high backed dining chairs whilst afternoon tea is served in a more cozy atmosphere in a parlor where one sits in comfy sofas and chairs.

There’s always a debate as to which hotel, restaurant, or shop serves the best high tea.  My favorite is High Tea at Claridge’s in London where tea is served in their art deco foyer and is simply wonderful.  Other favorites in London are the Ritz, Fortnum & Mason, the Savoy, and Prêt-à-Portea at the Berkeley has an amazing tea for fashionistas!

For a simpler tea you can find a table at most any tea  or coffee shop around the country and have a nice cup of tea with a scone or two.  We love this little coffee house in Cornwall, they serve delicious pasties and pastries!

Need help booking High Tea in England?  Contact Savvy Nana for help in planning your England activities!

EnglandMarkets

Markets have been part of British life for centuries.  Markets are generally a cornerstone of a community and a place where for centuries people shopped, socialized, and got their news.

Today you’ll find Market Days in just about every town across England and London of course has it’s fair share of famous markets.

Borough Market is the city’s arguably the  largest and oldest  open air market in the city with a market on the site since the 12th. century.  Here you can wander aisles of wholesale and retail vendors of meats, fruits, veggies, and baked goods.  And you can grab lunch at many of the food stalls set up around the market.

London also is home to the Portobello Road market that is known for vendors selling antiques and collectables; Camden Market, Greenwich Market, and the Old Spitalfields Market just to name a few.

englandWest End Shows

One of my favorite activities in London is catching a show at one of the West End theaters.  Just like a visit to the Big Apple wouldn’t be complete without going to a Broadway show a trip to London in my opinion requires taking in a show at the West End.

There are many theaters in the West End, any of them play Broadway shows like Mama Mia, Miserable, Wicked, and others.  You could definitely catch one of those shows they’re all pretty fantastic, or if you’re looking for a British production check out Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap playing at the St. Martin Theater.  It’s a murder mystery written by the queen of the whodunit herself.  It opened in the West End in 1952 and is still showing today, making it the longest running stage show in the world.

Contact Savvy Nana to plan your British adventure today!

Get Out of Town!

Sure you probably flew into London’s Heathrow or Gatwick airports and London is where you’re staying.  Don’t get me wrong I love London and all its sites and things to do, but to really experience England one must simply get out of time.

Take a tour to visit one of England’s Neolithic sites the most famous of which is Stonehenge in Wiltshire as are other henges such as Avebury, Woodhenge, and Durrington Walls.  There are other henges and pre-historic sites around the country you can explore.

Or take a trip to Scotland!  Edinburgh is a lovely city with it’s own history, quaint streets, and castles.  If you’re a Roman history buff check out the Roman built baths in the city of Bath.  Fans of the Bard can checkout his family homes in his native Stratford Upon Avon  in Warwickshire then continue on to Cotswold to stroll along the lanes between picturesque cottages.

If you’re in the country during the warmer months take advantage of the British Garden tours, you’ll see many superb gardens around the country!

englandHaunted England Tours

I think every town or city in England is home to at least a ghost or two and it’s no wonder with the abundance of drafty castles and the country’s bloody history ghosts can’t resist haunting the place.

Of course you’ll find tours of haunted castles, mansions, and towns like the Haunted Tour of Bath or Scotland.  I always find ghost tours to be fun and informative as the guides are usually awesome story tellers and can send chills up your spine with their ghostly tales!

Ready to book a memorable vacation in England?  Call Savvy Nana!  We’ll help you plan a trip of a lifetime!

5 Unique Activities  to Really Experience France

5 Unique Activities to Really Experience France

France

So you’re heading to France, yay!  That’s one more place to cross off the bucket list right?

But is that all a trip to France is all about?  Is all you want are a few selfies in front of the Eiffel Tower, a mind numbing tour of the Louvre and the D’Orsay, and perhaps a glass of wine and a crepe?  If it is then travel on and good luck!  But if you’re looking for ways to really experience France then read on.

Of course you should visit the Louvre and the D’Orsay and any of the many museums you want in Paris and believe me Paris is not lacking in museums!  And by all means take your photo in front of the Eiffel Tower and do all the touristy things one expects to do in Paris.  But for a truly unique experience in France try at least one of these activities; I promise you won’t regret it; and it will be memorable!

 

Eiffel Tower Dining

Don’t just climb up the Eiffel Tower, take the time to dine at one of the restaurants located in the tower.

There are several restaurants, bars, and shops in the tower that should suit everyone’s taste and budget.  Treat yourself to seasonal french cuisine at The 58 Eiffel Tower located on the first floor.  This is where you can have an upscale picnic lunch or chic bistro dining.  Or indulge yourself at The Jules Verne located on the second floor Michelin starred chefs offer mouth watering gourmet cuisine.  For smaller budgets check out the buffets for fine quality snacks they are located on the esplanade and the first and second floors.  Or you can have a drink or two at the Champagne Bar located on the top where you can enjoy unparalleled views of the city.

The restaurants require reservations or tours.  Contact Savvy Nana to help you plan your Eiffel Tower dining experience.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Up, Up, and Away! For a truly memorable experience float above the French countryside in a hot air balloon,  Enjoy a bird’s eye view of palaces, gardens, farms, villages, and chateaux as you gently glide over Fountainbleu or the Loire Valley in a colorful balloon.

Sunrise and Sunset rides are offered and depart from various locations around the country.

Contact Savvy Nana to help you plan your hot air balloon ride in France!

 

Historic Champagne Cave Tour & Tastings

Many champagne houses located in the Champagne region of France offer cellar or cave tours and champagne tastings; in fact some offer their tours free of charge.  But there are only a handful of Champagne houses that store their bubbly in historic chalk caves that date back to the 4th. Century and even fewer still that rests on the property of a 13th. Century abbey as well.  (There’s only one that fits both descriptions, Tattinger!)

Rest assured that these historic champagne caves now designated historic monuments and UNESCO heritage sites are worth the visit.  Not only will you learn the history of the sparkling drink and how it’s made, at the end of the tour you  get to sample this lofty beverage too!

Even if you’re not a champagne drinker one sip of this glorious drink straight from the caves will turn you into a big fan.  Like Dom Perignon, the 17th. century monk whose contributions are important to the production and quality of the bubbly, supposedly said when he took his first sip “I am tasting the stars!”  Fine French champagnes is really like tasting stars!

Contact Savvy Nana to plan your historic champagne cave tour and tasting!

French Pastry Making Class

France is known for its delicious french pastries, specially macaroons and puff pastry.  So indulge your sweet tooth and learn how to make delicious french pastries from master pastry chefs in and around Paris.  Take a macaroon or pastry making class taught by a master chef or at one of the famous patisseries in town like Laduree.

Of course the best part of the class is tasting your creations!  Contact Savvy Nana to plan your pastry making adventure in France!

Market Days

As in most of Europe Market Days in France are a way of life.  Most of the locals use the open air markets to shop for much of their daily needs like fresh fruits and veggies, fresh meat and poultry, and so much more.

Most markets are held in the town’s main squares where all sorts of vendors set up stalls to display their wares.  In many towns vendors have schedules and set up specific days for instance Mondays could be for food vendors, Wednesdays for general merchandise, and Saturdays for antiques, books, and other collectables.   Check with your hotel or on line for the market schedules in the towns you’ll be visiting.

If you’re lucky enough to be in France during the Christmas season be sure to wander around the Christmas Markets, many of the larger ones are in the Northern region not far from the German border.  These markets are huge events that have rides, shows, food kiosks, and of course handicrafts for sale.

Ready to plan your vacation in France?  Call Savvy Nana for custom itineraries!

 

 

 

 

5 Unique Activities to Really Experience Italy

5 Unique Activities to Really Experience Italy

Italy!  It’s a country that’s on just about everyone’s “bucket list”.  Sure you want to go to Italy to see the sights, visit museums, and of course eat, eat, eat!  But is taking selfies in front of the Vatican or the Colosseum, or grabbing a slice of pizza and a cup of gelato on the run really your idea of an Italian vacation?  If it is then go for it!  But if you want to really experience Italy read on!  Here are 5 unique activities to really experience Italy!

Some of these activities are seasonal, but hey, you haven’t booked yet right?  So plan your Italy vacation to be able to take part in at least one of these 5 Unique Activities to Really Experience Italy!

5 unique activities to really experience italyVendemmia 

Think Lucy and Ethel stomping grapes in one of the “I Love Lucy” shows and plan your Italian vacation between late August and very early October.  That’s the Grape Harvest season or Vendemmia in most of Italy.

The exact dates vary from year to year and from place to place, depending on the weather.  But it’s safe to say that by September the grape harvest is taking place in most of the countries vineyards.

Many towns and vineyards throughout the country host grape harvest festivals.  Vineyards open their gates and fields to the public for some fun, food, and of course drink.  For the price of an admission ticket you can wander thru rows of grape vines, pick grapes, stomp them in huge wooden vats, then enjoy locally prepared food from antipasti to dolci, and of course taste the various wines the vineyard or winery offers.  Several glasses of wine are usually included in the ticket price but you can buy bottles to take home or drink during the event at the vineyard.  Trust me there will be more than enough wine to go around!

Click here to learn more about Grape Harvest in Italy!

 

5 Unique Activities to Really Experience ItalyOlive Groves & Olive Oil Factory

If you find yourself in Italy sometime between mid-October to early-December you can take part in the olive harvest.  The craze may have been jump started by the popular book Under the Tuscan Sun, but there is something to be said about spending the day in the olive groves specially during harvest season.

My husband and his relatives have many fond childhood memories of warm fall days spent picking olives in olive groves where they grew up.  Of course picking olives is outdoor work that builds up an appetite so a hearty picnic lunch is definitely a must have.

If you’re not the outdoorsy type then take a tour of the olive oil factory.  It’s pretty interesting.  You’ll learn how they take those olives and cold press them into incredible olive oil.  Did you know that  mills are communal mills called Frantoio where most of the local growers take their olives to be pressed?  And did you know that olives are pressed only during the harvest season and the oil is stored to be bottled during the year?

You’ll learn all about the pressing and bottling process if you take the short factory tour which of course ends with an olive oil tasting and some time to wander around the gift shop!

5 Unique Activities to Really Experience Italy

5 Unique Activities to Really Experience Italy5 Unique Activities to Really Experience Italy

Tour and tasting at the Bonamini Frantoio in Northern Italy.

Click here for more information!

 

5 Unique Activities to Really Experience ItalyPizza & Wine Pairings

So you’ve been to a wine tasting and maybe even a pizza tasting, there are all sorts of tours around Italy that offer them.  But have you been to a Pizza & Wine Pairing at the farm and vineyards that grow the food you’re tasting?

Pizza & Wine Pairings in a beautiful hillside setting on a farm built on top of a 17th. century Benedictine convent is truly a memorable event!  You can do this at the Fattoria dell’Eremo outside of Padua in northern Italy.  The hosts are friendly and the food and wine are amazing!  They will cater to your dietary needs just let them know your preferences.

5 Unique Activities to Really Experience Italy

 Amazing setting!

Delicious pizzas!

Outstanding wines!

Click here for more info!

 

 

 

Italian Cooking Class

Yes there are pizza making classes and pasta making classes, they’re all great; but for a truly unique experience take an Italian cooking class at a local residence!

You’ll make everything from antipasti to dessert!  Best of all you get to eat what you cooked!

Email me for more information about this cooking class in Northern Italy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Market Day

Every Italian town or city has at least one market day.  For a truly unique local experience wander a local market or two.

Markets are usually held at the town’s main square or in the larger cities like Rome the markets spring up along side streets around town.   You’ll find everything from fruits and vegetables to household goods, and clothing and shoes at these outdoor markets.

Some towns have specific days for specific vendors.  Like in Vicenza food vendors are open in the main square and around town on Tuesdays; Thursdays are for clothing and household goods with a few food vendors around; and the last Sunday of the month is for the antique market.  So find out what days are market days in the area you’ll be visiting.

Markets are a great place to find an inexpensive lunch.  You can grab a loaf of bread from the bakery stall then meat and cheese from the deli vendor.  Top it all off with some fruit and a bottle of wine and you’ve go the makings of a picnic lunch!

 

 

Let Savvy Nana Travel help you plan your Italy vacation!

Visiting Vicenza

Visiting Vicenza

Vicenza

City of Vicenza as seen from the Monte Berico viewpoint

Vicenza is a city in Northern Italy’s Veneto region.  It is located 43 miles from Venice (a 45 minute train ride away), 38 miles from Verona, and 22 miles from Padua; making it an easy day trip from any of these other famous Veneto cities.

Vicenza is one of the oldest cities in the Veneto.  It is known for its natural beauty and the beautiful villas in and around the city.  The villas were designed by Andrea Palladio a humble stonecutter born in nearby Padua.  Palladio fled an oppressive employer in Padua and ended up in Vicenza where he went on to become a noted 16th. Century architect. Palladio left a legacy of villas, churches, and other building in and around the city.  Because of his contributions the city has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994.  It is listed as “The City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas of the Veneto” thus emcompassing all the building within the city center and those around the province of Vicenza.

VicenzaNot only did Palladio design beautiful villas in and around his adoptive city, he transformed European architecture.  Among his admires was Thomas Jefferson who considered Palladio the greatest architect of all time.  Jefferson studied the works of Palladio and considered the architectural book written by him to be the Architectural Bible.  Montecello, Jefferson’s home in Virginia was modeled after Palladio’s “La Rotonda” villa located outside Vicenza’s historic city center.  Many British country homes are also designed in the Palladian style of architecture.

So a visit to Vicenza is really a walk thru Palladio’s City.  Many of his works are in the city’s centro storico.

If you’re not a big fan of Palladian Architecture or architecture in general you don’t have to enter any of the villas or the Palladio Museum, but you can certainly stroll thru town and admire the classical styled building built by the great man.

Here are a few things to see and do in Vicenza:

vicenzaTeatro Olimpico

Inspired by Roman amphitheaters Palladio started this Renaissance marvel in 1580, after his death it was completed by Vincenzo Scamozzi.  Beyond the walled garden lies an elliptical theater with a stage set modeled after the ancient Greek city of Thebes.

vicenza

vicenzaYou can buy an entrance ticket at the box office located on the right side of the arched stone entrance to have a tour of the building and the stage.  Tickets are €11.

Or you can admire the statues of actors scattered around the garden.  The garden is free to enter.

vicenzavicenzaOn hot summer days the garden is a nice place to cool off and rest after walking around Vicenza.  I like to grab a cold drink, like a granita, from one of the bars just outside the gate and sit quietly on a stone bench in the garden.

The theater is still used for operas and classical and jazz  performances.  Italian performers vie for a chance to perform on the amazing stage.

 

vicenzaPalazzo Thiene 

Today the headquarters of Banca Popolare di Vicenza Palazzo Thiene was purchased by the bank from the Thiene family in 1872.

This palazzo is now home to fine paintings and statues.  It also houses the world’s largest collections of oselle.  Oselle are silver and gold coins once minted by the Venetian Doges to gift to all the noble families of Venice at Christmas.

A visit to this palazzo is by appointment only.

Click here for their website!

 

VicenzaBasilica Palladiano

This Basilica located in Piazza dei Signori the town’s main square is now a venue for world class temporary exhibits and is the home to the Museo del Gioiello which houses a dazzling collection of historic and contemporary jewelry.

The building is modeled after a Roman basilica.  It once housed the courts and Council of Four Hundred. Palladio was commissioned to restyle the old palazzo in 1549.  It is capped by a huge copper dome that looks like an upturned ship hull.

During spring and summer you can climb up to the roof  and walk around.  The roof has a commanding view of Vicenza’s centro storico.

vicenzaPalazzo Chiericati

Designed in 1550 this palazzo is one of Palladio’s finest buildings.  Located diagonally across from the Teatro Olimpico the palazzo is home to Vicenza’s Civic Art Museum.

On the ground floor which is used for temporary exhibits you’ll find the amazing ceiling fresco of Diana and Helios by Domenico Brusasorci.

The upstairs galleries include works by Anthony Van Dyke and Alessandro Maganza as well as the private collection of Guiseppe Roi with drawings by Tiepolo and Picasso.

Admission to the museum is €7.

vicenzaDuomo

Dominating the Piazza del Duomo is Vicenza’s Cathedral.  Designed by Lorenzo di Bologna construction began in the late 15th. century.  Palladio added his own touches to the unfinished building in the 16th. century, notably the dome that was inspired by the

Pantheon in Rome.

The building was heavily damaged during the bombing in WWII so the building seen today is a 20th. century reconstruction.

The square also hosts vendors on Market Days usually Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Actually you’ll find that the town pretty much turns into a huge open market on those days with vendors and food trucks setting up along the streets and the piazzas.

vicenza

Chiesa di San Lorenzo

This 13th. century Gothic church was built by the Franciscans.  It’s best feature is the marble entrance.  It’s pretty spartan inside.

vicenza

vicenza

But it has a splash fountain nearby for kids to play in during hot summer months and on Tuesdays and Thursdays the square hosts an open market where you can buy fruits and veggies as well as dairy products and fried seafood.

vicenzaMarket Days

Market days in Vicenza are normally Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Food vendors set up stalls in front of the Chiesa di San Lorenzo and in the Piazza del Duomo.

Clothing and household goods are sold in stalls in and around Piazza dei Signoria and Piazza dei Erbe.  Just walk around the town and you can’t miss one of the markets.

vicenzaIf you’re there during the summer months try some Pesche Saturnine.  These saucer shaped peaches are delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

vicenzaGelato & Prosecco

When you’ve had your fill of the Markets or have seen your share of Palladian buildings treat yourself to a cup or cone of Gelato.  You’ll find a gelateria on just about every street, but my favorite is Venchi just down the street from the Coin Department Store.

vicenzaGelato not your thing?  Then head over to a Wine Bar or Porseccheria, they’re on every street too!  Try a refreshing Hugo Cocktail, one of my favorites!

Better yet have both!  Well maybe not at the same time, but believe me both are well worth it!

 

 

 

vicenzaMonte Berico

Check out Monte Berico and the Basilica di Santa Maria di Monte Berico.  The Marian church is a minor Basilica in Vicenza and sits atop the hill of Monte Berico.

It’s about a 10 minute ride up the hill from the city or you can walk up from Vicenza in about half and hour.  The walk takes you thru a tall staircase and thru a beautiful arcaded walkway.  Free parking can be found in Piazzelle della Vittoria across from the church’s main entrance.

That’s where you’ll find the viewpoint for some awesome views of Vicenza and the surrounding countryside.

vicenza

Try going up during the day and again at night, it’s two totally different experiences!

 

 

These are just a few things to see and do in and around Vicenza.  Believe me if you’re a real Palladio buff there are more villas to see and a Palladio Museum to visit.  But to do all that would require much more than a day.  I’ve been to Vicenza at least 3 times and have stayed for a month at a time and I still haven’t seen everything!

Of course we’ve wandered the other nearby towns like Quinto Vincention, Torre de Quatresolo, Camisanno, and more.  Believe me there is so much to do in and around the area.  So if you have friends and family stationed at the Casserma Ederly Army Base in Vicenza be sure to visit them and plan to stay for a while!

Ready to plan your trip to Northern Italy?  Call Savvy Nana Travel 808-372-7734, we’ll help you plan your dream vacay!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GROUND TURKEY AND BEAN STEW WITH CUMIN, GREEN CHILES, AND CILANTRO

GROUND TURKEY AND BEAN STEW WITH CUMIN, GREEN CHILES, AND CILANTRO

This Ground Turkey and Bean Stew with Cumin, inexperienced Chiles, and Cilantro has pinto beans and it’s thickened with refried beans, and this tasty stew is low-glycemic, gluten-free, dairy-free, and South Beach Diet friendly! Use the Recipes-by-Diet-Type Index to seek out a lot of recipes like this one.

I used ground turkey rather than chicken thighs, and Rancho Gordo Yellow Indian lady Beans rather than pink beans, however I unbroken the generous quantity of garlic, cumin, and diced inexperienced chilies from the first formula. I conjointly superimposed a will of frijoles refits to thicken the stew, and though it all over up being not excessively attractive, this clothed to be the type of comforting ground turkey bean stew I’d like to have within the electric refrigerator for a fast dinner. Don’t skip the lime wedges for serving this; they’re the right of entirety.

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Click here for ground turkey and  bean stew with cumin,green chiles,and cilantro recipe!

Ingredients:

2 T + 1 tsp. olive oil
2 lbs. ground turkey (use turkey with less than 10% fat for the South Beach Diet)
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste, to season ground turkey
1 large onion, diced in 1/2 inch pieces
1 T minced garlic
2 tsp. ground cumin
3 cups cooked pink beans or pinto beans
(3 cups = 2 cans. I cooked beans in the slow cooker, then used some for this recipe.)
2 cans (4 oz.) diced green Anaheim chiles
3 cups chicken stock (or use 2 cans chicken broth)
1 can (16 oz.) refried pinto beans
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or more)
sliced lime wedges, for serving

Instructions:

Heat the 2 T olive oil in a heavy frying pan with high sides, add ground turkey, season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and cook over medium heat until the turkey is well browned. This will take 12-15 minutes; don’t rush the browning step.
While turkey browns, peel a large onion and chop into 1/2 inch pieces. When turkey is well browned, push it over to the side of the pan, add 1 tsp. more olive oil, add onion pieces and cook about 5 minutes, until onion is lightly browned. Stir in minced garlic and ground cumin and cook the mixture about 3 minutes more, stirring a few times.
Add 3 cups cooked beans, 2 cans diced green Anaheim chiles, and 3 cups chicken stock. Stir to combine, then reduce heat and let the mixture simmer about 30 minutes.

Combine 1 can refried pinto beans with 1/4 cup water to thin the beans, then stir refried beans into the turkey and bean mixture. Simmer about 25 minutes more.

While mixture simmers, chop 1/4 cup (or more) cilantro. When the stew is as thick as you’d like it to be (about 25 minutes for me), stir in chopped cilantro and simmer 5 minutes more. Serve hot, with lime wedges to squeeze lime into the stew when you eat it.

GROUND TURKEY AND BEAN STEW WITH CUMIN, GREEN CHILES, AND CILANTRO
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Half Day in Padua

Half Day in Padua

PaduaPadua, or Padova in Italian, is a quiet little city in the Veneto area of northern Italy.  Unlike its illustrious neighbors Venice and Verona, Padua sees much less tourist traffic making it an ideal place to spend a few hours wandering its dense network of arcaded  streets where you’ll find lazy piazzas, artwork by famous Renaissance artists including Donatello and Giotto, a university, bridges, and several churches including a Duomo and a Basilica.

Padua is the setting for Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew.  Although it’s not really certain whether the Bard actually spent time in the area it was clearly a region he liked.  He set several plays in the Veneto including The Merchant of Venice, Two Gentlemen From Verona, and of course the tragic romance Romeo and Juliet which was set in Verona.

Padua is situated on the Bacchiglione River 25 miles west of Venice.  The Brenta River once ran thru the city and still touches its northern part.  In fact the Brenta Riviera Cruise from Padua to Venice departs daily from the historic Burchiello’s Stairway at Portello the city’s ancient river port.  This slow boat takes tourists down the Brenta River, thru its canals, and stops at historic villas once home to the Venetian elite.  That’s a day long excursion from Padua and ends in Venice in the late afternoon.

Other than the river the city is home to the University of Padua one of Europe’s oldest universities founded in 1222.  Galileo Galilei lectured at this same university between 1592 and 1610.  It is still a bustling university today!

PaduaIn Padua one can visit “Il Santo” as the locals call the Basilica di Sant’ Antonio da Padova  the most celebrated Paduan church.  It houses the bones of the saint in the chapel richly decorated with carved marble and the works of great artists including Sansovino and Falconetto.  The church is dedicated to St. Antonio of Padua aka St. Antonio of Libon, the Portuguese Franciscan who spent part of his life and died in the city.

This Basilica is one of the eight international shrines recognized by the Holy See in Rome.

 

PaduaAlthough Il Santo is the city’s beloved church it is not the titular cathedral of the city.  That honor belongs to the Basilica Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta a church dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary.  It is the seat of Padua’s Bishop.  The current structure dates from the 16th. century and its construction involved Michelangelo.

 

PaduaA must see for art lovers is the Cappella degli Scrovegni.  The chapel situated in a small church next to the Augustinian monastery contains a fresco by Giotto that is considered to be a masterpiece of western art.

 

 

 

PaduaAnother Basilica with beautiful chapels and artwork is the one adjoining the Benedictine Abbey of Santa Giustina.

The abbey and its adjoining Basilica faces the Prato della Valle.  The church was built in the 520s to house the remains of St. Justina of Padua and other Christian martyrs of the city.  The interior is home to chapels dedicated to various saints and is decorated with ornate multi colored marble from quarries in France, Genoa, Padua, and Carrara.

Statues and paintings throughout the church were done by various artists.

 

 

paduaMy favorite place in the city is the Prato della Valle.  It’s 90,000 sq. meter elliptical “square” in the city.

It’s border is defined by a moat that is ringed by 2 rows of statues depicting Padua’s elite citizens of old.  There are 4 bridges that span the moat and allows you to enter the huge green space where you’ll find the fountain in the center.

padua

paduaThe Prato della Valle is a great place to let the kiddies burn off all that pent up energy while the adults relax on one of the low walls or on the grass.

At certain times of the year the square hosts concerts, markets, fairs, and other events.

The square is surrounded by shops, restaurants, and cafes.  It really is a great space to relax after wandering this charming city!

padua

Ready for your Italian getaway?  Let Savvy Nana Travel help you plan!