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lead image for this date21 September 2011 : In Love with Padova!

Maybe you could tell: I was in a hurry to be done with writing about Verona, because we were already in Padova, and Wow! What a great little city this is. Of course there was another train two hours later, and the nice lady at TrenItalia got us on it without it costing a penny.


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lead image for this date21 September 2011 : Treasures of Padova

If you're interested in Renaissance art, Padova has some delights for you. On the last page you saw a picture of the Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua; during the day, it is the destination for hundreds of earnest pilgrims come to give thanks, or beg intercession, for one of St...


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lead image for this date21 September 2011 : Capella Scrovegni

Giotto's jewel box is a small chapel (by Duomo/Basilica standards) that may have seated as many as 60 people at a time in its heydey in the early 1500s. Papa Scrovegni was a notoriously successful loan shark, and, upon his death the jealous church fathers (the spiritual forebearers of the thugs that don't allow pictures in churches) decreed that he could not be buried in hallowed ground for his sin of usury...


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lead image for this date22 September 2011 : More Treasures

What could top the Capella Scrovegni? Nothing. Giotto at the top of his game is arguably one of the best painters of all time. But the context he worked in is a fascinating part of the story -- as it influenced him, and he influenced it...


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lead image for this date22 September 2011 : Food Porn in Padova

I have always been captivated by markets, and the ones in Europe are spectacular. There is a lot of choice; there is clearly a relationship between the habitual buyers, who have their favorite stalls and greet the stallkeepers like old friends...


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1st per in:| the day, it is the destination for hundreds of earnest pilgrims come to give thanks, or beg intercession, for one of St. A's many responsibilities: lost things, broken body parts and health, the elderly, travelers, pregnant women, the unwillingly single, troubled marriages, fishermen, the oppressed and poor, Brazil, American Indians, horses, and many others. Falling as we do into a few of these categories, we were glad to be among them.|
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1st per in:|rovegni was a notoriously successful loan shark, and, upon his death the jealous church fathers (the spiritual forebearers of the thugs that don't allow pictures in churches) decreed that he could not be buried in hallowed ground for his sin of usury. (In 1500, that's what Jews were kept around for. Hypocrisy is an ancient art.) Having more than enough money, Scrovegni filio decided to secure his own post-mortem whereabouts by building a little chapel, and having the currently popular painter do the interior. Art historians are quick to explain that Giotto, whose previous work was mostly for clerics in churches, enjoyed the opportunity to break out. Instead of a committee, all he had to do was please his patron. Scrovegni junior was rich enough not to care much for political niceties, and gave Giotto his head.|
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1st per in:| fascinating part of the story -- as it influenced him, and he influenced it. And the Padovani art world of the 16th Century was fluid and exciting. On our last day in Padova, we did our best to pick up the pieces, and one of the first was the Duomo's baptistry. Another hexagonal room crammed in amongst church structures next to the city's cathedral -- large and barnlike, but not without surprises; see the panel on modern works below -- with a magnificently painted ceiling, frescoes by Giusto de' Menabuoi, surprisingly painted after Giotto's Capella. The main dome (below) is populated -- one might say overpopulated -- with what looks to be the whole congregation of Padovani in the mid 1500s.|
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1st per in:| buyers, who have their favorite stalls and greet the stallkeepers like old friends. That keeps the food good. When we bought food in the markets, first in Sienna, and now in Padova, we are treated kindly, in part (we think) because we try to communicate in Italian, and that gives us points despite the fact that our Italian is so halting and eccentric. The fact that we understand food seems to come through. We get the tender fichi and the juiciest susine (plums) even when we don't know how to ask for them. Food is obviously an obsession for the Italians, as it is with us. So here are some pictures of the offerings on one late September day in the Padova market.|
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