Padua – Day 1 – Part 1 – A Canal Outside Our Door

Our next destination was the lovely city of Padua, or Padova, as it is known in Italian.  We left Burano in the morning by a hired water taxi, using the same company that brought us to the island.  This time, though, we had them take us directly to the Venice Train Station.  There, we hopped on a train and, in less than thirty minutes, we were in Padua.  We rented an apartment for the duration of our four-night stay, right on the edge of the historical center of town.

As usual, after settling in the the apartment, and unpacking a few things, we headed out to explore our new surroundings.  Right outside the building of our apartment, located on Via Giacomo Matteotti, you will find the Porte Contarine.  This was one of the most important hydraulic complexes in not only the city, but the entire Veneto region.  The city was at one time crossed by many canals and waterways, now since drained or covered over.  This gateway functioned like a lock, with a system of raising and lowering water levels, so that boats could enter or leave the city.  The boats that came through here were usually carrying essential goods, such as coal, cereals, and other items.  At one time, a mill stood on the banks of the gateway, but it has since been demolished.

The Ponte di Via Giotto, or as it is also known, the Ponte dei Contarini, dates back to 1256, but was rebuilt in 1509, and then restored in 1839.  The iron coat of arms on the arch, over the waterway, is that of the Austrian Empire.

Next to the Porte Contarine, you will find the tiny Chiesa di Santa Maria “ad Portas Contarenas”, which dates from 1723.  The church was built by the Comini family.  In 1839, it housed the Customs Office of the Austrian rulers.  A plaque on the facade celebrates the restoration of the church in 1968.


Next Up: We explore more of the history and beauty of Padua!


Note: This blog is written in English and Spanish, and the author takes no responsibility for the quality of any other translations that may appear.  If you have enjoyed this post, please, check out our archives for more posts from different Italian destinations.  Grazie!


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