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.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Vino Novello 2014

Visitors to Italy can enjoy Vino Novello, this year’s new wine, from Thursday, 6 November 2014 when it goes on sale in the shops and is served in bars and restaurants.
The light, fruity, new red wine is enjoyable to drink and is a bargain buy to take home as a holiday souvenir.
Vino Novello on sale in Padova
Vino Novello is similar in taste, body and colour to the French Beaujolais Nouveau, which is exported to a number of other countries after its release in the third week of November.
Like Beaujolais Nouveau, Vino Novello has a low alcohol content and is meant to be drunk while it is still young. The wine should be consumed quickly after the bottle is opened and unopened bottles should be kept for only a few months.
A major area for production is the Veneto, with the merlot grape being the one most used by wine makers to make Vino Novello. Many wine producing areas around Padova hold feste to celebrate and will serve Padovan culinary specialities to eat with the new wine.
Whereas 100 per cent carbonic maceration is used to produce Beaujolais Nouveau, only 30 per cent is required for Vino Novello.
However, one Italian Vino Novello that is produced using 100 per cent carbonic maceration is Bardolino Novello, which is made in the area around the resort of Bardolino on Lake Garda in the Veneto .
According to the Bardolino wine consortium (Consorzio Tutelavino Bardolino Doc) 100 per cent carbonic maceration is used in order to produce an excellent wine. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Palazzo del Capitanio

See the oldest clock in Italy

The beautiful clock tower of the Palazzo del Capitanio is on the east side of Piazza dei Signori, a square in the historic centre of Padova.
The elegant Torre dell'Orologio
The palace was originally part of a complex of buildings that had served as the court of the Carraresi, but after Padova came under the control of Venice in the 16th century, it was remodelled to house the head of the militia and be the seat of the governing authority.
In 1532 the entrance was rebuilt to a design by Giovanni Maria Falconetto with a clock tower over a triumphal arch in classical style surmounted by a statue of the lion of St Mark.
The Torre dell’Orologio was intended as a symbol of Venetian power, which then extended over the mainland of Italy. The tower houses clockworks that are believed to be the oldest still in existence in Italy.
They were designed by Maestro Novello copying an invention by astronomer and physician Jacopo Dondi in the 14th century. As well as depicting the hours, the blue clock face features a weekly and monthly lunar calendar and displays the astrological signs.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Death in the High City

Brand new detective story set in northern Italy
A new crime novel set in northern Italy has just been published on Amazon.
The novel is the first in a series featuring detective duo Kate Butler, a freelance journalist, and Steve Bartorelli, a retired Detective Chief Inspector who is of partly Italian descent.
Believed to be the first British crime novel to put the spotlight on Bergamo in Lombardia, Death in the High City centres on the investigation into the death of an English woman who was writing a biography of the composer Gaetano Donizetti.
Of interest to anyone who enjoys the cosy crime fiction genre or likes detective novels with an Italian setting, the book is currently available as a Kindle edition, but can also be read on smartphones, tablets and computers using Amazon’s free Kindle app.
The dead woman had been living in an apartment in Bergamo’s Città Alta and much of the action takes place within the walls of the high city. The local police do not believe there is enough evidence to open a murder inquiry and so Kate Butler, who is the victim’s cousin, arrives on the scene to try to get some answers about her cousin’s death.
Kate visits many of the places in Bergamo with Donizetti connections and her enquiries even take her out to the beautiful Lago d’Iseo. But after her own life is threatened and there has been another death in the Città Alta, her lover, Steve Bartorelli, joins her to help her unravel the mystery and trap the killer. The reader is able to go along for the ride and enjoy the wonderful architecture and scenery of Bergamo and the surrounding area while savouring the many descriptions in the novel of the local food and wine.
Death in the High City by Val Culley was published in May, 2014 and is now available on Amazon.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Enjoy a taste of Bardolino while in Padova

Vibrant, ruby red Bardolino wine is produced in the Veneto region and therefore does not have to travel far to be available in restaurants in Padova.
Look out for Bardolino Classico, made from grapes grown in the area immediately round the resort of Bardolino on Lago di Garda (Lake Garda), which will have DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) status on its label.
Buonissimo Bardolino!
Among the most acclaimed producers of Bardolino Classico are Guerrieri Rizzardi, who are based at No. 4 Via Verdi in Bardolino.
They make their version from Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Sangiovese, Merlot and Molinara grapes grown in their vineyards along the shores of Lago di Garda.
Guerrieri Rizzardi recommend serving their Bardolino slightly chilled to accompany white meats and cheeses.
You will sometimes see in the shops and on wine lists, bottles of Bardolino Novello, (new Bardolino), which should be drunk as soon as possible after the grapes it has been made from were harvested. Wines labelled Bardolino Superiore will have been aged for at least one year.
But most Bardolino is best drunk young if you want to be able to appreciate the wine’s characteristic scent of berries and almonds.
Language point
Wines are graded according to a system that refers to their place of origin, la denominazione.
Denominazione di origine controllata (DOC) applies to wines made from grapes grown only in a defined area.
Denominazione di origine controllata e garantita (DOCG) is reserved for wines that have met particularly rigorous standards throughout their production.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Take a day trip to Castelfranco Veneto

Within a short distance of Padova by train or car, the historic city of Castelfranco Veneto is smart and prosperous with a wealth of good shops, restaurants and bars.
On arrival, head to the lively Piazza Giorgione, where you can sit outside one of the bars and feast your eyes on the imposing 12th century defensive walls surrounding the historic centre, which is known to locals as Castello.
Castelfranco Veneto's defensive walls
The dark red brickwork has faded to pale pink in places and the towers have weeds growing out of them but you can still see why the walls behind the moat kept neighbouring armies at bay.
If you go through the walls at Via Garibaldi and walk past the 18th century Teatro Accademico you will reach Piazza San Liberale and the pink and white Duomo.
To the right of the altar is the jewel in Castelfranco’s crown, Enthroned Madonna and Child with St Francis and St Nicasio by local artist Giorgione. As one of only a handful of paintings definitely attributable to the Renaissance genius, it is amazing that it has remained above the tomb for which it was originally commissioned.
At nearby Casa Giorgione you can see the frieze in a first floor room that makes experts believe the house was the artist’s birthplace. Study the objects and scrolls he is thought to have painted as a youngster and join in the long running debate about their meaning. Some see the frieze as a reference to the frailty of the human condition - grimly prophetic for someone who was to die at 30 during an outbreak of plague in Venice.
Bars in Piazza Giorgione
To try dishes typical of the Veneto, visit one of the friendly, family-run osterie inside the ancient walls. Try specialities such as trippe (tripe), baccala (salt cod) or seppie (cuttlefish).
Make sure you sample the famous Castelfranco variegate, a special type of radicchio, which is served as a vegetable or in pasta and risotto.  Look out for the popular local dish, risi e bisi (rice with peas), cooked Castelfranco-style with cheese.
If you are a fan of Prosecco, the Veneto’s light, dry sparkling white wine, you will enjoy a trip along the road between Valdobbiadene and Conegliano, 40 km of gentle hills with ancient hamlets and wineries offering the opportunity to taste Prosecco DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) the stamp of quality given to the best wines.
There are designer clothes shops and shoe shops in Piazza Giorgione but if you want something unusual to take back with you look out for a small shop selling antiques and bric a brac in Via Garibaldi opposite the Teatro Accademico.
Castelfranco Veneto is about 30 km from Padova and there is a good train service between the two cities.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

See Donatello masterpiece in piazza in Padova

One of the greatest works by early Renaissance sculptor Donatello is standing out in the open air in Padova for all to see.
The Florentine’s bronze equestrian statue of Gattamelata is to the left of the Basilica di Sant’Antonio as you approach from the direction of Via del Santo.
Donatello's bronze statue in Piazza del Santo. 
The statue was completed in 1453 and portrays the military leader Erasmus da Narni, who was known as Gattamelata (honeyed cat.)
It is believed to be the earliest Renaissance equestrian statue that still survives and was a precedent for later sculptures honouring military heroes.
The soldier and his horse are both portrayed in life size by Donatello instead of being larger than life as with classical equestrian statues.
Gattamelata, who died in 1443, is actually buried inside the basilica.
Donatello was commissioned by the family to create a monument in memory of the great Commander of the Venetian Republic.
The statue is mounted on a pedestal that resembles a sepulchre. Gattamelata appears in the style of a Roman emperor astride his horse. His head is uncovered and the realistic expression on his face shows his decisive spirit.