Padua in December is very quiet, very cold, serene, peaceful (until two days before Christmas eve), and very old. It is also very clean, well maintained, well connected, beautiful, majestic in many aspects. It is also very religious. When we decided to do the trip, we were sure that there would be enough tourists population that we wouldn’t have trouble getting around or being there without knowing much Italian. That time of the year, there are hardly any tourists, which was good for us. We hate going to crowded places and cities. I always end up going to places either before the season starts or just after the season ends. I prefer the former though. The tram, the trains, the buses, connect you everywhere. The mode of transport is very streamlined. You don’t have to ask anyone.
The reason that people go to Padua using a guided tour is that they get the background stories of the places and the titbits of the local history that way, which we missed. We used Wikipedia and Tourism Padova app to do it for us in a short and precise format. I only wish that the museums and the churches have their signs in English too to welcome worldwide travellers. If I was travelling from India, I wouldn’t have known a place called Padua in the first place and I would have been disappointed to not see the descriptions of paintings or frescoes or altars in English, especially when I wouldn’t have had any data with me.
Walking along those cobbled streets, we felt like a local after a couple of days of wandering, knowing what lies where, where to go for what, the familiar street names etc. It felt like being home. We wouldn’t mind going back again for some R & R there. The people are very friendly. We tried to speak as much Italian as we can and where we can’t we used Google Translate to help us out to understand what they were saying or what was written. They love to say prego a lot. And they say it like prego prego prego 🙂 It was very cute to hear. Their panettone was amazing. They love their nativity scenes. They love their pizzas and pasta. We couldn’t find much of another type of cuisine other there, at least not inside the city and its centre. It supports a lot of local products. Economically it is very well. Sometimes very posh too. Very less Americanization (as someone said it 😉 ) Didn’t see a single Costa, Starbucks, Pret A Manger, which was good but saw McDonald’s, which came in handy once.
All the top attractions are well connected, with signs and tram. We missed a few of them because of the time restrictions and enjoyed visiting the less spoken ones like the School of Charity. We didn’t see much of homelessness there. Their Christmas markets were full of wonderful and unique goodies. I am sure they get a huge throng of tourists for the Feast of St Anthony’s and also during the festival times. On Friday, when the schools and colleges were closed, it was like someone emptied their bag full of young adults on the streets. They came from nowhere and they were everywhere. During the term times, you don’t see a peek from them, at least they were hiding somewhere while we were walking about. The buildings have a mix of old and new. Walking on some of the roads felt like we were at a very different time (very old one at that).
We were very happy that we decided to stay in Padua and enjoy the city at our leisure. It was a very chilled out place too so that suited us a lot. If you go to Venice you should make at least a days trip to Padua and see the city for yourself. You can enjoy more of this city if you stay there for a couple of days.
It would be nice to see this city in Spring. We wouldn’t mind going back at all 🙂 Thanks, Padua, for some wonderful memories.