Thursday, October 11, 2012

Esplorando la Città di Padua (Exploring the City of Padua)

This past weekend I spent a wonderful 3 days on a school-organized trip to Veneto, which is the region in which the cities of Padua, Venice, and Verona are located. The bus ride out there wasn't bad at all, aside from having to wake up at like 545am, because they showed the first seasons of How I Met Your Mother and Modern Family the whole way up. I was in heaven :D

Upon arrival, I noticed that the hotel that we were staying at in Padua offered free bike rentals, so my friends, Bobby and Austin, and I decided to do a self-tour of the city while we had time before our guided tour.

Needless to say, we were enjoying ourselves. As we rode around the city, we got to see some spectacular views, which we certainly did not expect. Here is one of the many awesome sights!

Riverside Tower
As we got further along towards the city center, the streets started to become cobblestone, with quaint arches along the sidewalk, emanating a very relaxed feel. It was wonderful.

Cobblestone and Arches
Suddenly, we burst out into the light of a small piazza, with a church situated at one end. This piazza was very open, so naturally we rode our bikes around it, scaring off all the pigeons.

Small piazza with church
As we continued exploring Padua, we came across a much larger piazza, which held a statue of a lion with a book. This symbol is very important for the people of Veneto, because it symbolizes peace of their republic. Remember this symbol as it will come up again later!

Artsy photos of the lion!
We eventually rode so much that we got ourselves lost and were turning random corners to try and find our way back. Around one corner off a small side street that leads to a dead-end, we found this little gem.

Love note
This is a love note next to a beautiful graffiti, which says (roughly translated):

You know love,
A time ago I knew a girl,
she was the most beautiful that I had ever seen
and she immediately had me haunted
over time I found that she was as crazy as me,
and I started to feel something strange in me,
something new and different.
But that girl was hiding something from me,
and only now I know it was her sweetness.
Many wishes! I love you!

We spent a time reading this and appreciating the deep love that it portrays, but alas we were running late and were completely lost, so we had to keep working to find our way back. As we were riding we suddenly came out into the open of this absolutely massive piazza. Little did we know, this piazza was  Piazza Prato della Vitale, which is in fact the largest piazza in Italy and the second largest in all of Europe. Here is a photo of the beautiful grassy area, surrounded by a ovular body of water.

Piazza Prato della Vitale
Fortunately, we found the way back to the hotel minutes before our guided tour was about to leave! Our tour was fairly interesting, taking us to a spectacular church, Basilica di Sant'Antonia. Here it is!

After the church, our guide took us into the heart of downtown, where there was a very Padovan event was being held. It turns out that when someone graduates from university, they undergo a ridiculous amount of public humiliation by having their friends write all the bad things that happened in their life on a massive sheet of newspaper and posting it to the wall. Then that person has to read it out loud, and for every line they read, they must drink some more alcohol. Additionally, people throw food at them, put live octopus in their pants, etc etc etc. It was quite a spectacle! Just... wow!

After our tour guide managed to pull us all away from the insanity that was presently occurring, she brought us in front of a place known as Cafe Pedrocchi, which was built in neoclassical style with Egyptian influence, and lives a double life, acting as both a cafe as well as the Risorgimento museum.

Cafe Pedrocchi
It turns out that this cafe offers a special coffee known as the Caffe Pedrocchi, which is a mixture of mint, cocoa, and coffee, with a special heart-shaped cookie on the side. It was soooooooo worth it!

We took several photos on the lions in front of Cafe Pedrocchi, here is one of all the guys!

And here is one of the members of JAB (Jason Alex Bobby), and we are even in the correct order of the letters!
JAB (Jason Alex Bobby, from left to right)
At dinner, I had my own personal server of food. He made my life very convenient!

And after dinner, we all we out to the Piazza Prato della Vitale, where we were pleasantly surprised to find that a wanna-be Elvis was singing Italian songs and otherwise generally rocking out. The locals were digging it, and so were we.

Elvis is the one with the ugly wig
We decided to turn in a bit early this night as the next day was going to be spent in Venice!

1 comment:

  1. Loved your post. really loved Piazza Prato della Vitale, i bet it so much better in person but the photo was great! Talk to you skype Saturday!