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Trip Report, Padova (Padua) Italy, Oct 2023

Our visit to Padova was part of a 17-day, 5 city trip from Venice to Rome in October 2023. We wanted to focus this post on a new museum, Museum of Nature and Humankind (Museo della Natura e dell’Uomo) that opened in Padova in summer of 2023. We haven’t seen much on the forums about it (somewhat expected, as it is so new), and we wanted to post because we think it’s a worthwhile visit.

The museum is a “merger of four collections — Mineralogy, Geology & Paleontology, Zoology and Anthropology — associated historically with the University of Padua” (quote from their website). It includes a wide range of fossils and rocks, an interesting perspective on the migration of early humans out of Africa, and artifacts from visits by Europeans to Asia and Africa. The collection has the advantage of being powered by a university that has been doing research and collecting specimens for 900 years, and the disadvantage of being less comprehensive than those powered by larger institutions (for example, the Smithsonian or the British Museum). It also addresses some of the mistakes of the past, including cultural insensitivity and colonialism, with commentary on displays.

The museum building is easy to reach. Ride the tram to the Eremitani tram stop; that’s the stop for the Scrovegni Chapel. The museum entrance is near the tram stop, on the opposite side of the road from the Scrovegni Chapel; look for a gate to enter a courtyard, the museum entrance is across the courtyard. Check the website for current prices; admission is reasonable and there are a number of discounts available. (Also check hours and days; when we visited they were closed on Mondays.)

The building is new; it’s easy to find clean (free) restrooms on every floor, and a free water bottle filling station on the entry floor. There is no snack bar/restaurant on site; however, admission is for the day, so you may exit, find lunch, then return and continue your visit.

We enjoyed this museum very much, and we recommend it for those interested in history. It’s worth at least a half-day; we were there most of the day.

We have other recommendations from our Padova visit, and I will put those in the comments.

Sharon Odell & John Crisp

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In Padova, we stayed in the Hotel Grand'Italia, across from the train station. We found it convenient, clean, spacious, and we enjoyed the included buffet breakfast (bonus: you can pour your own american-style coffee). This is a more modern and large-chain hotel than the ones that Rick normally recommends (on our multi-city trip we found it worked for us to alternate Rick’s recommendations with larger chain hotels). In addition to their buffet breakfast, we really appreciated their laundry service!

The tour of the astrological clock in Padova was a highlight for us. Definitely email in advance to reserve the tour (see details on the website). Our "Wow" moment: the clock strikes 10am, and shortly thereafter we hear Univ. of Padova students changing classes. Then we realize: this clock was tolling when Galileo taught at Padova, and he would have heard it and timed his classes by it. Just wow.

Rick’s guidebook and videos mention cicchetti in Venice, and we found it available and popular in Padova. Brutal, on Piazza della Fruitta, had a nice selection of cicchetti, along with local wines by the glass and several local beers that we enjoyed.

And a "fun" restaurant was Brunch Republic, near Palazzo Bo (the oldest building of the Univ of Padova). The name says it all: think brunch.

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thank you both for writing this inspiring post. I love learning about cultural history and the movement of humans over time. I enjoyed reading about your wow moment too. Now, I really do need to explore Padua and this museum!

Best, Moomin

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Thanks so much for the recommendations. We loved our days in Padova in 2022 and have been planning a return visit as part of a longer trip and now have even more to see!

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Thanks for taking the time to share your experience and thoughts. I’m planning on doing the Village Italy tour in 2025 either very early spring or late fall. And I’m especially looking forward to several days in Padua. It looks like a beautiful city for walking around as well as the Chapel and great museums. How were the crowds and temperatures when you were there in October?

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Thank you for sharing Padova and your recommendations. I will be there in September when the Village Italy tour begins.

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Lyndash, October did not seem crowded at all in Padova, maybe because we had just come from Venice, now that was crowded! As for the weather, of course that varies, but I do remember sprinkles of rain, definitely light jacket weather. I hope you and horsewoofie enjoy the Village Italy tour, it looks really interesting, and I especially hope you enjoy both Padova and Siena (another favorite stop on our trip).

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Thanks so much for your detailed report and suggestions. Really helpful information! We plan to be in Padova in May and would appreciate any additional suggestions for things to see and places to eat, as well.

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Hello, thanks to all who commented. Ruth asked if we had some additional recommendations, which we do.

Restaurants, in addition to the earlier mentioned Brutal (on Piazza della Fruitta) and Brunch Republic (near Palazzo Bo):

  • Peace n Spice, a Mediterranean & Middle Eastern restaurant, at Via Dondi dall'Orologio 13 (very close to the Astronomical Clock: the clock is at Torre dell'Orologio, Piazza dei Signori - oops, realizing my earlier reply had a typo and called it the Astrological Clock)
  • Il Gancino, an Italian restaurant (outside seating, bar seating, nice indoor restaurant, chichetti, spritz, dinner - what more could you want?), at Piazza Duomo (not far from Piazza del Erbe)

Other things to do, in addition to the earlier mentioned Museum of Nature and Humankind and the Astronomical Clock tour:

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jhoo, how long were in Padua? Can you say more about the town itself?