November 5, 2017. Day 55 & Nov 6&7

Verona to Padua 81 km (train) & 

17,368 & 2 days of 34,527 Fit Bit steps

Padua was another gem. Even the dark chilly November rain couldn’t keep us inside, although we were grateful to be able to hop the trams to avoid the steady drizzle. Highlights of our visit include:

  • The Eremitani civic museum for a crucifix by Giotto (once in the Scrovegni Chapel) frescoes by Giotto and his school, and paintings by Tintoretto;
  • The  Scoletta del Santo for frescoes by Titian, which we viewed with no one else in the hall;
  • The stunning Capella degli Scrovegni, which is adorned almost entirely with Giotto’s frescoes (completed in only 2 years). Apparently Dante and da Vinci honoured Giotto as the artist who ended the Dark Ages with these paintings!
  • The Palazzo della Ragione which from 1218 housed the city tribunal, with lower floor markets still active today. The great hall contains a huge wooden statue of a horse from the 15thC and frescoes by Giotto’s “acolytes”;
  • A guided tour of the Palazzo del Bò, part of the University of Padua, sitting in the (law) hall where Galileo taught students of University of Padua in the late 16thC and viewing the World’s first anatomy theatre where Versalius taught dissection. Paul remembers the anatomical drawings of Vesalius from medical school. The first woman ever to receive an academic degree, Elena Cornaro was awarded a PhD in Padua in 1656. She had wanted to pursue a degree in Theology but at that time the Church did not sanction women students;
  • Braving the elements to visit the Oro Botanico, the worlds first botanical gardens founded in 1545 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The modern garden of biodiversity (fortunately inside and warm!) emphasized the challenges of climate change and environmental loss. The oldest plant is a palm from 1585 and is now referred to a Goethe’s palm as he referred to it in an essay;
  • An excellent film performance of Verdi’s Nabucco by L’Opéra Royal de Wallonie, Liège and starring Leo Nucci shown at the Piccolo Teatro Don Bosco.This compensated in part for not seeing the opera live in Milan. We had to check the synopsis on Wikipedia before and during the intermission as the subtitles were, not surprisingly, in Italian. Slices of hot pizza were available at intermission!

Coffee notes: Caffé Diemme 9/10

Italy Actual Route

Lisbon to Auckland Actual Route

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