Nicola Kopij Zanin
If you’re planning a trip to Italy, you’ve probably heard about popular cities like Rome and Florence. These destinations are definitely worth visiting, but if you want to find some more off-the-beaten path places to explore, check out Padua. Situated between Venice and Milan, Padua has its own special style that’s hard to match anywhere else in the country – plus it’s easy to get there from Venice in particular!
How far is Padua from Venice? It’s a relatively straight drive of roughly 42km. Once you land at the Marco Polo Airport in Venice there are a few different ways to get there. You can take various train lines such as the Trenitalia, Freccia, Regionale, or Regionale Veloce. The ride will take under 30 minutes (the quickest being the Regionale Veloce train), and cost around 4 euros. You can also rent a car for about 30-40 euros per day.
It's one of the smallest regions of the country, but it has some of the finest and most untouched sights. Why is Padua famous? For many reasons that you can explore when there. One of the things to do in Padua is a visit to the Padua Cathedral, one of the historic landmarks of the city. You can also get lost in the beautiful Giardini dell'Arena, which includes an ancient Roman amphitheater and a medieval chapel, or another picturesque Paduagarden. Another popular place to see is Palazzo del Bo. In fact, if someone on the street asks you “Where is Padua University located?”, you can point them in the direction of this Palazzo – it’s the historical seat of the university.
In short, if you're looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination in Italy, Padua is perfect. It’s certainly one of the main cities near Venice worth visiting. This guide will help you plan an unforgettable trip in this unmissable city.
Before delving further into the quaint city, it’s worth answering a common question tourists ask: is Padua the same as Padova? The answer: yes. Padova is simply the Italian and original name.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the juicy bits. The city has a distinct charm that is lacking in other major Italian cities, perhaps due to their sizes and busyness. If you’re in town with your partner, you’re in luck; there are plenty of romantic things to do in Padua. Padua restaurants are a safe bet with great food and even better atmospheres.
For a romantic date night in an exclusive setting, a highly recommended place to eat is Radici – Terra e Gusto. This high-end restaurant is housed in a stylish 1900 villa, and boasts gourmet tasting menus focused on fine meats and seafood. It would be remiss to not mention the extensive wine list that includes only the best. The fact that it has been awarded a Michelin star says enough.
Although that’s sure to impress your partner, why not go above and beyond with an even more exclusive, highly-personalized date? You can do just that at the Massimago Wine Tower, a 14th-century tower with lush gardens and a spacious wine cellar where you can treat your loved one to a custom-tailored menu. Whether you are looking for traditional Italian dishes like pizza and pasta or something more sophisticated, there is something to please every palate.
Despite being centrally-located and mere minutes away from the iconic Prato della Valle, you feel totally secluded and at peace here. The lovely Hosts of this magnificent property literally call it an “oasis”.
Should you wish to learn more about the listing and what you can do to make your romantic moment ever so special, feel free to message the Host on Viewnary Chat. Alternatively, you can reach out to us for any questions you may have to enhance your experience.
This city is one of those little gems in Italy that you may not know about. It's easy to get to and there are so many things to see in Padua that you could spend days exploring it. That’s why people say it’s one of the best cities near Venice, Italy, if not the best.
It’s even better if you visit with a group of your best friends. As you walk through the streets together, you’ll come across lots of noteworthy sites. In the northern part of town, you’ll bump into the stunning frescoes of the Scrovegni Chapel and the elegant square, Piazza dei Signori. The square is lined with cafés and gelato shops, and is also notable for housing the Clock Tower.
A few minutes further down you’ll find Caffé Pedrocchi, perhaps the most famous café in the entire region. Founded in the 18th century, it’s renowned for its signature (and namesake) caffé pedrocchi, which comprises coffee, milk, mint powder, and cocoa powder sprinkled on top. According to virtually everyone who has tasted it, that alone is worth going outside Venice for.
A perfect activity to do with your friends before or after that zesty coffee is a hike through the Euganean Hills Park, located just a few kilometers outside Padua. The green, rolling countryside is a sight to behold. While you’re there, stop by this private villa overlooking the Euganean Hills and thermal spas for a meal with a view.
The “Olivo Bianco” property features a home restaurant with a suspended terrace that has sweeping views over the Apennines. Not only will you be treated with home-cooked Italian delicacies, but you can sample various home-squeezed olive oils – unsurprising given that there are 340 olive trees planted around the villa. If you want to experience something unique in places near Venice, a hike through the Euganean Hills with a pitstop at Olivo Bianco should be on your must-do list.
The best way to explore Padua is to simply wander its historic streets and squares. Prato della Valle is by far the most famous of all the squares, partly due to it being one of the largest on the entire continent. The elliptical square covers about 90,000 square meters, making it the largest in Italy. That’s plenty of area with a lot of cool things to get on camera. If you’re into photographing statues, for instance, you’re in luck – there are no less than 78 statues on the square.
Prato della Valle is surrounded by traditional architecture, most of which date back centuries. That will keep you busy for a good while and lead to some really Instagram-worthy snaps.
In Padua you will find some of the best cuisine in Italy, and you can sample some in the vicinity of the square itself. However, there’s more to explore outside town as well. A city near Padua is Due Carrare, which is where you’ll find the historic Cafè Zhivago, enveloped in nature with views over the stunning Euganean Hills.
Recently renovated, the property retains its classical interior and sits along a stream that feeds into the oldest water mill in Northern Italy. The mill was constructed in the 14th century and was declared a historical point of interest by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage & Activities. Moreover, Cafè Zhivago obtains its water from this mill. This place is perfect for a delicious sunset aperitivo (in case you didn’t know, the famous aperol spritz drink hails from Padua) and Italian meal after a long day of taking pictures around Prato della Valle.
You may now find yourself asking: is Venice overrated? How do the best rooftop bars in Venice compare? Visit Padua, combined with unique Viewnary experiences, and find out. Need some more inspiration on what to do in Padua? Talk to us and we’ll share our best tips. Should you want to learn more about Cafè Zhivago, you can also contact the Host on Viewnary Chat.