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.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Villa Giusti Padova

Armistice talks were held at Padova villa

A villa just outside Padova was the location for the signing of the armistice between Italy and Austria-Hungary that ended the first world war on the Italian front in 1918.
After the Allied troops were victorious in the battle of Vittorio Veneto, the Austria-Hungary commanding officers had asked for a ceasefire and for peace talks.
Caffe Pedrocchi in the centre of Padova houses a
Risorgimento and contemporary history museum

They were invited to Villa Giusti at Mandria just outside Padova, which was owned by Count Giusti del Giardino, a former mayor of Padova and an Italian senator.
During the war, the villa had been the temporary residence of King Victor Emanuel III when he was away from the front.
The armistice signed on 3 November ended the fighting and was seen by many Italians as the final phase of the Risorgimento, a movement started in 1815 to unify Italy. The bells of a nearby church rang out when news came from the villa that the armistice had been agreed.
Villa Giusti in Via Armistizio, Mandria, is just outside Padova. Guided visits can be made to the villa by arrangement. The furniture in the room where negotiations were conducted remains just as it was on that day. Visitors can even see the round table on which the armistice was signed. Tel: +39 049 867 0492.
Two separate towns in the Veneto region, Ceneda and Serravalle, were merged and renamed Vittorio in 1866 in honour of King Vittorio Emanuele II. After the last, decisive battle in the First World War had taken place nearby, the city was renamed Vittorio Veneto. Franco Zeffirelli shot some of the scenes for his film version of Romeo and Juliet against the backdrop of 15th century buildings in Seravalle.
Inside the Caffe Pedrocchi in the centre of Padova there is a museum with exhibits demonstrating Italy's struggle for independence through the Risorgimento and the two world wars. Il Museo del Risorgimento is open daily. For more details visit  www.caffepedrocchi.it

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Agli Eremitani Ristorante Pizzeria

Dine well at traditional restaurant and pizzeria in the heart of Padua

Tucked away under the porticos of Via Porciglia, the Agli Eremitani restaurant and pizzeria is handily placed for visitors to the Scrovegni Chapel, home to Giotto’s amazing frescoes, or the Eremitani museum complex.
Agli Eremitani is at Via Porciglia 29
The restaurant serves pizza and speciality dishes from the Veneto using local, seasonal ingredients. They also offer seafood from the nearby Adriatic and international dishes.
Diners have the choice of a secluded alcove in one of the smaller, wood-panelled rooms, a table in the large room with gardens on two sides or an outside table during the summer.
Agli Eremitani serve more than 100 different types of pizza. Their specialty dish is scialatelli ai crostacei (scialatelli with a sauce made from shellfish). The restaurant pride themselves on the range and quality of the wines they keep in their cantina.
Close to the University, Agli Eremitani frequently host lunches and dinners to celebrate le feste di laurea (degree celebrations).
Agli Eremitani is open from 12.00 to 15.00 and from 18.30 to 1.00 am every day except Monday.
For more information or to book a table visit www.eremitani.net.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Death in the High City first anniversary

Successful year for Bergamo’s first English crime novel

Death in the High City, the first British detective novel to be set in Bergamo in northern Italy, has had an exciting first year.
The novel, which was published in Kindle format on Amazon 12 months ago today, has sold copies in the UK, Italy, America, Australia and Canada. A paperback version of Death in the High City was published in July 2014.
Val with the newly published book
Author Val Culley has had some heart warming emails and messages about the book from readers both in the UK and abroad and has been delighted with the level of interest in her first novel.
In October 2014 Val was a guest at the fifth anniversary celebrations of Bergamo Su e Giù, a group of independent tour guides in the city. She was invited to present Death in the High City to an audience in San Pellegrino Terme and sign copies of the book and she also made an appearance on Bergamo TV to talk about the novel with presenter Teo Mangione.
In November the book was purchased by Leicestershire Libraries and is now in stock at Loughborough, Shepshed, Ashby de la Zouch, Coalville, Castle Donington and Kegworth Libraries and is going out on loan regularly. In April this year Val was invited to Bergamo again to present her novel to a group of 80 Italian teachers of English and to sign copies. She made a second appearance on Bergamo TV and also formally presented a copy of Death in the High City to the Biblioteca Civica (Civic Library) in Piazza Vecchia, a location that is featured in the novel itself.
Death in the High City centres on the investigation into the death of an English woman who was staying in the Città Alta while writing a biography of the composer Gaetano Donizetti.
The novel is the first of a series to feature the characters of Kate Butler, a freelance journalist, and Steve Bartorelli, a Detective Chief Inspector, who is of partly Italian descent and has just retired from the English police.
Val signing copies of the book
The victim had been living in an apartment in Bergamo ’s Città Alta and much of the action takes place within the walls of the upper town. The local police do not believe there is enough evidence to open a murder enquiry and so Kate Butler, who is the victim’s cousin, arrives in Bergamo to try to get some answers about her death.
Kate visits many of the places in the city with Donizetti connections and her enquiries even take her out to Lago d’Iseo and into the countryside around San Pellegrino Terme. 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 unravel the mystery and trap the killer. The reader is able to go along for the ride and enjoy Bergamo ’s wonderful architecture and scenery while savouring the many descriptions in the novel of local food and wine.
The novel will be of interest to anyone who enjoys the ‘cosy’ crime fiction genre or likes detective novels with an Italian setting.
Death in the High City by Val Culley is available on Amazon.com.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Spend a day at the lake

Within easy reach of Padova and well worth visiting is the beautiful and popular Lago di Garda (Lake Garda).
Italy’s largest lake has been praised by writers and poets over the centuries for its clean water, mild and sunny climate and for the beauty of many of the towns that lie along its shores.
The old harbour at Desenzano
From Padova there are direct trains to Desenzano del Garda, a resort at the foot of the lake. The journey takes about an hour and from there you can go by boat across the lake to visit other resorts.
Desenzano is a lively town with plenty to see and do, upmarket fashion shops and good restaurants, bars and hotels.
You can enjoy views of the lake if you walk along Lungolago Cesare Battisti or you can climb the steep streets away from the lake if you want to explore the town.
There are plenty of bars and restaurants around the port as well as at the Porto Vecchio (old harbour), which is a short walk away. Desenzano’s Ufficio di Informazione Turistico (Tourist Information Office) is located there.
The Romans also enjoyed holidays in Desenzano. In 1921 the remains of a fourth century Roman villa were unearthed close to the lake. These are now open to the public and can be accessed from Via Antonio Gramsci.
There is also a medieval castle within walking distance of the lake in Via Castello.
Il Duomo, which is dedicated to Santa Maria Maddalena, in Piazza Duomo, off Via Mazzini, is full of art treasures, including an 18th century version of The Last Supper by Giambattista Tiepolo.  
Un Servizio di Navigazione (boat service) operates from Desenzano to Sirmione, Bardolino, Peschiera and Moniga del Garda.
The resort of Sirmione lies in a dramatic setting on a narrow, four kilometre peninsula reaching out into the lake.
The castle at Sirmione
Sirmione has a medieval centre, full of interesting shops, bars and restaurants, and a fairytale castle, la Rocca Scaligera - the first thing you see as you approach by boat.
The castle was built by a powerful family from Verona in the 13th century and the Italian poet Dante is reputed to have once spent the night there, but it is worth visiting la Rocca Scaligera for the views of the lake from the battlements alone.
There are beautiful views of Lake Garda from many different vantage points in Sirmione that have inspired writers over the centuries, from the Roman poet Catullus, to Ezra Pound and James Joyce in the 20th century, who are reputed to have once met up in the resort.
You can visit the ruins of a Roman villa, built in the first century BC, that perch on a rocky promontory. Although they are known as Le Grotte di Catullo, it is by no means certain that the poet ever lived there. Born in Verona , Catullus is believed to have lived in Sirmione for part of his life and his poetry singles out the resort for special praise from ‘…all peninsulas and isles, that in our lakes of silver lie…’
Opera singer Maria Callas also appreciated the beauty of Sirmione, choosing to spend part of her life living in a secluded villa here.
The resort of  Bardolino is just a short boat journey from Desenzano and exploring the pleasant town is as enjoyable as quaffing the light red wine of the same name that is produced there.
|A wine bar in Bardolino
There are regular boats to Bardolino from Piazza Matteotti, which is at the side of the lake.
You will see the tower of an old castle that is now part of a hotel as the boat approaches Bardolino.
Walk down the short main street into the town, which is lined with shops, restaurants and bars where you can sample Bardolino by the glass.
Make a point of visiting the church of San Severo , which dates back to the 11th century and is a popular location for weddings, and the small church of San Zeno , which dates back to the eighth century and still contains traces of its original frescoes.
If you want to learn more about Bardolino wine and the history of wine making, visit the fascinating wine museum run by the Zeni family of winemakers at Via Costabella 9. The museum is open from mid March until the end of October and individual visitors are admitted free of charge. For more information, visit www.zeni.it.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Look out for Lugana wine

If you enjoy a light, white wine with a hint of flowers, try a bottle of Lugana when in restaurants in Padova or other towns in the Veneto.
Lugana can be enjoyed with many local dishes
Lugana is a straw yellow, almost pale green, colour and is a very delicate wine, with a slight hint of fruit. 
It is made from Trebbiano di Lugana grapes by several of the vineyards set on the hills around the southern shores of nearby Lago di Garda.
Lugana wine can be enjoyed as an aperitivo in a bar, is particularly good with antipasto or risotto made with fish, and makes an excellent accompaniment for the chicken and duck dishes you will see among the secondi piatti in many restaurants in Padova.
Check the date on the bottle because Lugana is at its best when drunk young.  It should be served chilled, preferably between eight and ten degrees centigrade.
Respected producers of Lugana include Ca’ dei Frati, Visconti and Zenato. Salute!