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Padua City of Art

Probably better known as the city of St. Anthony or as the economic capital of Veneto, Padua is one of the most important Art Cities in Italy. The classic itinerary includes the visit to the most important monuments of the town, especially those realized between the 13th century and the 15th century, the most extraordinary economic and cultural period, that left an indelible mark on the town: the Medioeval City Walls, the great civil and religious buildings, the University, the wonderful frescoe-cycles realized by Giotto and his followers, and later the works by Andrea Mantegna and Donatello.

Basilica of St.Anthony

The huge Basilica erected in the 13th century to keep the body of St. Anthony, holds 14th and 15th centuries frescoes. The chapel of St. Giacomo and St. Felice (James and Felix) was frescoed by Altichiero; Giusto de' Menabuoi, one of the greatest Italian masters of the second half of the 14th century, decorated the Chapel of the Blessed Luca Belludi (1382) and the Coronation of the Virgin which is on the hall that leads to the cloister. In the Chapel of the Blessed Luca Belludi, Giusto, who is also the author of the beautiful fresco decoration of the Baptistery of the Cathedral, represented the lives of St. Philip and St. James. Of particular interest the picture on the left wall where Giusto represented the fortified walls of Padua as they were in the 14th century.

The Basilica of St. Anthony, often called Basilica del Santo, is a complex stately religious building which was started in 1232, a year after St. Anthony's death. The outside of the Basilica is a mixture of Lombard, Tuscan and Byzantine styles; the 8 domes and the 2 bell-towers are built in the oriental style. The golden angel on the highest dome is said to turn following the winds, thus giving exact weather forecast. The 3 bronze portals of the façade were planned by Camillo Boito (1895). The plan of the interior is cruciform, with the nave and 2 aisles that unite behind the apses and create a semicircle where 9 radial chapels are to be seen. Big columns separate the aisles. In the Chapel of the Saint you will find the tomb (sarcophagus) of St.Anthony, by Andrea Briosco and Gianmaria Falconetto.Inside the Basilica there are important ancient and contemporary works of art, among which the Chapel of the Blessed Luca Belludi, entirely frescoed by Giusto de' Menabuoi (1382), the Chapel of San Giacomo or San Felice with a beautiful cycle of paintings by Altichieri da Zevio (1374-78), the high altar with Donatello's sculptures, among which stands out the Crucifix (the Gattamelata equestrian statue in front of the Basilica is also by Donatello).

Other works are by Sansovino, Briosco, Tiepolo, Titian, Achille Casanova, Ubaldo Oppi, Pietro Annigoni, and many others. The convent cloisters are also very fine, especially the magnolia cloister, where you can see numerous works in marble and a century-old magnolia tree. Facing the Basilica if you look to your right you can see the Oratory of st. George, chapel of the Lupi di Soragna family, built in 1377 and entirely frescoed by Altichieri da Zevio (1379-1384), the Scuola del Santo, which contains paintings related to St. Anthony from different time periods including those by Titian, and the Antoniano Museum, opened in 1995 to commemorate the 8th centenary of St. Anthony's birth, in which you can find paintings, jewellery, paraments and sculptures.

Scrovegni Chapel - Giotto

The Scrovegni Chapel is to be considered the masterpiece of Giotto's art.

The Scrovegni Chapel, a masterpiece in the history of painting in Italy and Europe in the 14th century, is to be considered the most complete series of frescoes executed by Giotto in his mature age. Colour and light, poetry and pathos. Man and God. The sense of nature and history, humanity and faith are mingled in narrating the stories of the Virgin Mary and Christ in a unique way. Giotto completed the frescoes in the Chapel at the beginning of 1306. At that time: “…the chapel presents very simple architecture: a rectangular hall with a barrel vault, an elegant gothic triple lancet window on the façade, tall, narrow windows on the southern wall, and a polygonal apse, later raised to contain the belfry”. The frescoes follow three main themes : 1)episodes in the lives of Joachim and Anna (1-6) 2)episodes in the Virgin Mary’s life (7-13) 3)episodes recounting Christ’s life and death The lower parts of the walls contain a series of frescoes illustrating Vices and Virtues in allegory.

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