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My husband and I are doing the Villages of Italy tour in early September. We plan on coming in one day early and going directly to Padua because we have been to Venice on prior trips, and I have seen many people comment that they wished they would have spent additional time in Padua.

What are the top things we should do that we won't be doing on the tour or should spend more time on? Thank you for the insights!

Excited to get back to Italy!

Posted by
21077 posts

I don't know what the tour covers. This is what I have in my notes for Padua (not prioritized):

  • Scrovegni Chapel (Chiesa della Madonna dell’Arena), Pza Eremitani 8: Pre-book tickets.
  • Chiesa degli Eremitani, Piazza degli Eremitani
  • Musei Civici degli Eremitani, Pza Eremitani 8
  • Palazzo della Ragione, Piazza delle Erbe. Frescoed Great Hall.
  • Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Fruta, on opposite sides of Palazzo della Ragione: Produce Mon-Sat, best in morning,
  • Basilica di Sant’Antonio (Il Santo), Piazza del Santo
  • Oratorio di San Giorgio, just outside basilica
  • Scoletta (Scuola) del Santo, beside Oratorio. Museum at far end of cloisters has folk art
  • Prato della Valle, down Via Beato Luca Belludi from Basilica: Market Mon-Fri 0800-1900 for produce (smaller than Piazze delle Erbe and Fruta), Sat 0800-1900 for clothes, shoes, household goods, and 3rd Sun of month 0800-1900 for antiques.
  • Museo di Risorgimento, upstairs at Caffe Pedrocchi, Via Cavour
  • Palazzo Zuckermann, Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi 33: Applied and decorative art.
  • Statue of Gattamelata, Piazza del Santo (outside Basilica)
  • Duomo (Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta), Piazza del Duomo
  • Battistero di San Giovanni Batista, Piazza del Duomo
  • Palazzo del Bo’, Via VIII Febbraio. Two beautiful old courtyards
  • Piazza dei Signori: Lined by fine 15C-16C buildings. Clothing market in AM.
  • Palazzo del Capitanio has impressive Torre dell’Orologio with astronomical clock.
  • Orto Botanico, Via dell’Orto Botanico 15. Botanical garden with five greenhouses.
  • Jewish Quarter, opposite Palazzo della Ragione (Piazza delle Erbe side)

Rick's "Venice" guidebook has a lengthy chapter on Padua, which is also covered in his "Italy" guidebook.

Posted by
5034 posts

Acraven's list looks pretty comprehensive. A few of those sights ( Scrovegni Chapel, Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Fruta) are on the tour, but most are not. And you may want to go to the Scrovegni Chapel on your own, as well as with the tour, as visits are seriously time limited.

FWIW, we arrived 3 days early for our VI tour, spent the entire time in Padova, and wished we had had more time.

Posted by
44 posts

Our Villages tour was in 2017. We arrived 4 days early. We visited the botanical gardens which were very close to our hotel. We were staying at the Al Fagaino. Nice, but quirky hotel. St.,Anthony’s cathedral was just up the road, which was not on our tour so a nice place to visit. We also walked the flea market on Sunday, which was great fun, even bought a few things. We did a day trip to Verona and used a RS guide for a 1/2 day tour. Not sure I would recommend it unless you want to see the Romeo and Juliet area. You have to try every Gelato shop you see to find your favorite flavor.

Have a great time that tour is still my number 1 tour.

Good luck

Posted by
57 posts

A FANTASTIC tour we did prior to our villages of Italy tour was a canal boat tour that started in Padua which traveled the canal with stops at 3 absolutely gorgeous ancient villas/palaces (one was an ancient popes palace) it also included a gourmet lunch at a wonderful restaurant. It was a full day and ended with the boat making its way into the bay of Venice.

We did this in October of 2019 and had about 15-20 people on an open air (with capability of going to a covered lower level area) boat. It went thru ancient locks that had to be hand cranked by operators. Highly, highly recommend this tour prior to the villages tour. It was a great way to start our vacation.