Padua – Day 2 – Part 4 – The Largest Piazza in Italy and More

Towards the end of the visit to Palazzo Bo, you see the statue of Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia.  She was the first woman in the world to ever graduate from a university.  Elena received her Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Padua in 1678.  The statue, behind protective glass, is the work of Bernardo Tabacco, and dates from 1684.

The artwork “Resistance and Liberation” is by the artist Jannis Kounellis, and commemorates the fight against the Nazis and Fascism.  The piece is dedicated to the memory of three faculty members who fought heroically against the Fascist regime: Concetto Marchesi, Egidio Meneghetti, and Ezio Franceschini.  Many others at the university, including students, fought against the oppressors, and because of this, the University of Padua was awarded the Gold Medal of Military Valor, the only university to ever receive that honor to this day!

We soon found ourselves at the edge of the large piazza known as Prato della Valle.  This is the largest square in Italy, and one of the largest in all of Europe.  It is huge!  As we arrived, the piazza was being set up to host a food fair, featuring food and wine from all over Europe.  The official opening of the fair was later in the evening, so we just walked through quickly, heading to our next destination, the Abbazia di Santa Giustina.

The Abbazia di Santa Giustina is one of the largest basilicas in the world.  While parts of the complex date back to the 5th century, most of what we see today dates from 1606.  The facade of the basilica  was never completed, thus its plain appearance.

A statue of Santa Giustina stands atop the central dome.

The niches on the facade were filled in with high reliefs depicting the Evangelists, for the celebration of the Jubilee year of 2000.

Two griffins meant to support the columns flanked at the entrance to the basilica.


Next up: We continue our visit of the Abbazia di Santa Giustina and more, as we finish up our second day in 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 Padua, as well as other Italian destinations.  Grazie!


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