When I learned that six cruise ships would be in Venice on Saturday, I figured that would be a good day to get out of town. Padova is only a 1/2 hour train ride from Venice, and the Giotto frescos in the Capella degli Scrovegni have been on my bucket list. I’d also heard there was a great market on Saturday.
We walked from the train station to the park where the Roman remains, Civic Museum, and Scrovegni (which Larry insists on calling the Scrotum Chapel) are located. We arrived with time to spare before our 10:30 reservation, and they were able to get us into the earlier group. (You must reserve your 15 minute slot, as only 30 people are allowed in at a time). First you watch a little video about the history and painting of the Chapel, and the reasons for the need for such intense protection. You then enter through an airlock door for your 15 minutes of frantically trying to take it all in. The colors, the faces, the narrative is all wonderful. The Judgment scene is particularly fascinating, with its depictions of sinners meeting all sorts of bad ends. And I kind of thought the Vices a lot of fun than the Virtues. No photos, so take a look here: Scrovegni
My unfortunate footwear choice led us to buy a few bus/tram tickets to get further into the Centro, and we caught a bus heading in. We decided to go to the Duomo and Market area first. The market looked huge, with many stalls selling produce and food; and another area with the usual housewares and clothing. We spent some time in the Baptistry looking at the frescos, a few minutes in the Duomo, and then caught a bus over to the Botanical Gardens, started in 1545, the oldest in the world. Lovely place, with the simple early gardens that focuses on medicinal plants, trees and some exotics like succulents. How about a 16th century palm?
Through a narrow ivy path you arrive at a huge, modern greenhouse filled with plants from different ecosystems. Just lovely.
For lunch, we chanced into a nearby trattoria filled with Italians. Those of us waiting were asked if we’d be agreeable to share a table, and so we found ourselves sitting with two delightful gentlemen in town for the Festa. Neither had more than a few words of English, but we managed a conversation over lunch. We had two good pastas–one a pici with duck ragu; the other thin pasta sauced with arugula pesto and pieces of salmon. Here is one of them with Larry, who is looking up one of their vacation recommendations, Ponza.
We walked through the crowds to the Basilica, and went inside. Beautiful place. It was a party in there! I’ve never before seen a church in Italy so filled with Italians instead of foreign tourists. There was a Mass being celebrated, and all around people talking, lined up to view St. Anthony’s tomb, go to Confession, see the relics, or interestingly, have their purse or wallet put on a large statue of the saint for a few minutes, perhaps in hope of assistance in finding financial success.
We bought one of the St Anthony cakes being sold, and got on the tram back to the station.I never did get to the market, or the museums I was interested in. Another time, certo. Easy trip home, and then Larry napped while I read.
We had a late dinner reservation to meet up with the delightful Jan and Ken at L’Orto dei Mori in Cannereggio. We took the Vap up, and Larry grabbed a photo of me knitting on Knit In Public Day. Yes, it’s a thing.
Much fun was had. Wine was consumed. Food was enjoyed. Larry and I shared a salad of octopus and fennel, green gnocchi with swordfish, and a frito misto. I think Jan had the winning dish, pasta with a scrumptious sauce of shrimp “bisque.” Even dessert was good!