Prato della Valle


At the southern edge of the historical centre, this odd, elliptical garden was long used as a communal sports ground. Today it's a popular spot for locals wanting to soak up some summer rays and students swotting for exams. Framing the space is a slim canal lined by 78 statues of the great and good of Paduan history, plus 10 empty pedestals. Ten Venetian doges once occupied them, but Napoleon had them removed after he took Venice in 1797.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Padua attractions

1. Orto Botanico


Planted in 1545 by Padua University’s medical faculty to study the medicinal properties of rare plants, Padua’s World Heritage–listed Orto Botanico is the…

3. Gattamelata Statue

0.28 MILES

Gracing Piazza del Santo, Donatello's majestic bronze equestrian statue dates back to 1453. On horseback is Erasmo da Narni (nicknamed Gattamelata), a…

4. Basilica di Sant’Antonio

0.28 MILES

A pilgrimage site and the burial place of St Anthony of Padua (1193–1231), this huge church was begun in 1232, its polyglot style incorporating rising…

5. Musme

0.51 MILES

Padua’s Museum of Medical History is a fascinating mash-up of historical artefacts and high-tech exhibits that detail the city’s outsized contribution to…

6. Palazzo Bo

0.58 MILES

This Renaissance palazzo (mansion) is the seat of Padua’s history-making university. Founded by renegade scholars from Bologna seeking greater…

7. Duomo

0.61 MILES

Built from a much-altered design of Michelangelo’s, the rather industrial facade and whitewashed symmetry of Padua's duomo is a far cry from its rival in…

8. Palazzo della Ragione

0.62 MILES

Ancient Padua can be glimpsed in elegant twin squares (one the fruit market, the other the vegetable market) separated by the triple-decker Gothic Palazzo…