Elegant Padova -- known in English as Padua -- is home to an ancient university, a Basilica that is an important centre for pilgrims and a chapel containing one of the world’s greatest art treasures. Use this website to help you plan a visit to this fascinating northern Italian city and find your way to the other beautiful towns and villages in the Veneto that are perhaps less well known to tourists.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Visit the Basilica of Padova’s much loved 'Santo'

The façade of the Basilica
The enormous Basilica di Sant’Antonio di Padova, or Basilica del Santo as it is known to local people, is one of the most important places of Christian worship in the world.
An estimated five million pilgrims visit the Basilica every year in order to file past and touch the tomb of their beloved Sant’Antonio, a Franciscan monk who became famous for his miracles.
The magnificent church in Piazza del Santo is an architectural masterpiece created between the 13th and 14th centuries, but it was later enriched with works of art by masters such as Titian, Tiepolo and the sculptor Donatello.
Saint Anthony’s Basilica is an imposing sight in the skyline even when you are some distance away as it has seven domes around a cupola, two campanili and tapering spires like the minarets of a mosque.
Inside, the church is in the plan of a Latin cross with a nave and aisles in the gothic tradition. The saint’s body lies in a marble tomb in the area known as the Chapel of the Tomb in the left transept.
The walls around the tomb are decorated with large 16th century marble reliefs that depict scenes from Saint Anthony’s life. But these are rather overshadowed by the impressive number  of offerings and photographs on display from people wishing to give thanks for the intervention of Sant'Antonio after surviving car crashes or serious illnesses. 
In a separate chapel, visitors can see relics of Saint Anthony and other important objects, such as a tunic believed to have been worn by the saint.
Also within the complex of the Basilica are four cloisters, il Museo Antoniano (Antoniana Museum), the Oratorio di San Giorgio (Oratory of Saint George) and the Scuola del Santo (School of the Saint).

How to reach la Basilica di Sant’Antonio

From the railway station in Piazzale Stazione take the tram and get off at the stop called simply, Santo.
Buses also run between the station and the Basilica.
On foot, walk down Corso del Popolo, Corso Garibaldi, Via Eremitani, Via Zabarella and Via del Santo.
Opening times: The Basilica is open from 06.20 to 19.00 in the winter and 06.20 to 19.45 in the summer. Admission is free.

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