Built by Franciscans to house the tomb of Saint Anthony of
Padua, the order's second
saint after their founder, this church became their second most
important after the founder's church at Assisi. Anthony, born in Lisbon
and baptised Ferdinand, was canonised by
Pope Gregory IX on 30th May 1232, a year after his death and construction
here began later the same year. When he had fallen ill in Camposampiero,
outside Padua, he had asked to be brought to Santa Maria Mater Domini to
die. Dying on the way back, he had duly been buried in this small church
which probably dated from the late 12th century. This church was incorporated into the present basilica as the
Cappella della Madonna Mora (Chapel of the Dark Madonna). Work on the
basilica was completed around 1350, and his body was transferred to the
presbytery here on
8th April 1263, moving to its present location in 1310. There were many modifications
to the church, from the rebuilding needed following the collapse of a
campanile struck by lightening in April or May 1394 to the 1449
construction of the twin campanili, which left the church looking much as
we see it today, with repairs following
fires in 1567 and 1749.
Brick with mostly gothic detailing, using white marble. The cluster of
five cupolas is striking, with the central one being conical, with two
towers behind and two minarets. In plan the five domes form a cross. The facade has four deeply recessed arches
with the door in the middle topped by a 1940 copy by Nicola Lochoff of Mantegna's lunette
fresco of 1452 of The Monogram of Christ with Saints Anthony and Bernard (see
above). The original is now in the museum here. Above the lunette is a
1940 copy by Napoleone Martinuzzi of a statue of Saint Anthony, the original by Rinaldino of
France, is in the museum here too. Above is a loggia of 17 columns topped
by a pediment with a rose window flanked by two mullioned windows.
A photograph taken before 1912.
More unmixed gothic in style than the exterior. A looming wide
nave is separated from its aisles by chunky square brick columns clustered
around with 16th century memorials of nobles and a few fresco panels of the Madonna and Child.
The first two pillars even have altars on them, facing the entrance. The
one on the left has the soppy Madonna del Pilaster, a
mid-14th-century fresco by Stefano da Ferrara (the saints and angels are
later additions. Another side of this column has a fresco of Saint Anthony
in the Walnut Tree by Pietro Annigoni. The ceiling is a sequence
The jazzy third chapel on the right is Chapel of the Holy Sacrament
(Cappella del Santissimo Sacramento, also known as Cappella Gattamelata),
sometimes reserved for prayer. It houses the tomb of Gattamelata, whose
famous equestrian statue is outside, and of his son Giannantonio. The
bronze tabernacle here is by Girolamo Campagna. The arched niche behind
contains a mosaic representing The Holy Spirit with rays of light
descending, made by Lodovico Pogliaghi between 1927–36.
The forth bay on the left has the tomb of Antonio Roselli by Pietro
Lombardo made between 1464 and 1467 and said to have been inspired by the
tomb of Leonardo Bruni by Bernardo Rossellino in Santa Croce in Florence.
The long chancel has an ambulatory with nine radiating chapels.
Donatello's bronze Crucifix, which commission brought him to Padua in
1443, along with the statues of the Madonna and Child, six saints and
four bronze reliefs showing episodes from the Life of Saint Anthony,
which were made for a high altar dismembered in 1579, are now
distributed around the enclosed choir which is not freely accessible.
The transept is formed of two large chapels:
On the right is the large Chapel of San Giacomo (or San Felice)
(see photo right) (this chapel seems to have its lights
switched off during services). Bonifacio Lupu, a condottieri and a guelph
exile from Parma, had hoped to be buried in the baptistery in Florence.
When this request was refused he commissioned this chapel to be built. But
documents recently discovered show that the chapel was initially planned
as a resting place for his grandfather, Guglielmino Rossi, and his uncles
Rolando, Pietro and Marsilio. The sarcophagus on the left contains their
remains. Andriolo di Santi was employed to construct a chapel imitating
the then-gothic appearance of St Anthony's chapel opposite. Work began in
February 1372, until December 1375 when, following Andriolo's death, the
work was completed by his son. Altichiero worked on the frescoes from
The lower register of the back wall is
dedicated to the Life of Christ, with the Crucifixion in the
centre, the Annunciation in spandrels in the far corners, and the
Entombment and Resurrection in lunettes above the two
flanking tombs. Saints with Franciscan and Paduan connections are depicted
in eight medallions in spandrels on the back wall and on the inner façade.
Doubts as to how much of the work here and in the Oratorio di San Giorgio
was actually done by Altichiero himself have been expressed. That
these works were made in collaboration with fellow Veronese Jacopo D’Avanzi is mostly accepted,
but the division between them is constantly
argued. The most recent scholarship gives them to Altichiero
solely, but with a different hand detected, especially in five of the
Scenes from the life of St James of Compostella take up the rest of chapel, beginning in
the upper lunettes on the east wall and wrapping around the west and south
walls to end beneath their starting point on the lower tier. The choice of
scenes is a little eccentric, with the family thought to be responsible
for choosing episodes from the saint's life involving his persecution by
the wicked Queen Lupa, who later converted and had her palace converted
into a church. The similarity between her name and theirs is thus
celebrated, along with her and they having endowing foundations dedicated to St
James. Portraits of family members, their allies, such as the ruling Carrara
family, and friends like Petrarch and Lombardo della Seta, his secretary,
appear in some scenes too. There are also many representation of wolves (lupi)
to be found around - on the façade, the tomb, the ceiling, the two
lecterns and on the celebrant's vestments.
An altar here, dating to 1503, contained relics of
Saint Felix, giving the chapel its earlier name, until it was demolished
Opposite is what might be described as
the spiritual heart of the basilica -
St Anthony's Chapel. The saint's body was moved often, from it's original resting place in
Santa Maria Mater Domini, which became the Cappella della Madonna Mora,
then during the various stages of rebuilding was moved to the high altar, possibly,
and to a marble sarcophagus on columns, and finally to this chapel in the
north transept in 1350.
It is not known why it was decided to make the
tomb accessible to all, and not buried in a crypt visitable only by a
select few, as at Assisi. On April 8th
1263 the tomb was opened in the presence of Saint Bonaventura. His body
had decomposed but Anthony's tongue was found to be intact, 'rubicond and beautiful', and so the
miraculously preserved organ was removed and placed in a reliquary still
kept in the reliquary chapel here.
original gothic chapel was
completely rebuilt in renaissance style in the 16th century, it's screen
of red marble columns now to be found supporting the portico of the church
Santa Maria dei Servi. The previous structure is said to have
been similar to the chapel of San Giacomo opposite, with a five-bay arcade
with statues in niches above. It had a now-lost fresco cycle attributed to
Stefano da Ferrara depicting, amongst other things, four miracles and the
death of St Anthony. There are now bas-reliefs of the life of the saint by
Antonio Minello, Jacopo Sansovino (Resurrection of a drowned girl
and Saint Anthony resuscitates a drowned boy), Tulio Lombardo (The
Miracle of the Usurer and Saint Anthony reattaches the foot of a
young man.) These four are the 4th to 7th of the panels. The 9th is
Saint Anthony makes the newborn baby speak in order to attest his mother's
honesty by Antonio Lombardo, the brother of Tulio.
Through an arch to the right of Saint
Anthony's chapel is the
Cappella della Madonna Mora, all that
remains of the earlier church of Santa Maria Mater Domini. It is so named
because the statue above the altar is of the Madonna with dark hair. It is the
work of by Rinaldino di Puy-l'Evéque and dates from 1396. Rinaldino
also being responsible for the Saint
Anthony over the Santo's door. Behind the statue is a fresco depicting
The Glorification of the Virgin between prophets and angels
previously thought to be by a
'disciple' of Altichiero but identified in 2015 as by Giotto. Frescoes here
also include a very damaged Jesus Leaving his
Mother by Giusto de Menabuoi.
Off of this chapel to the left is the highlight
Capella dei Santi Filippo e Giacomo e del Beato Luca Belludi
(see photo above right) the last named being Saint Anthony's companion,
buried here, with frescoes of around 1382 by Giusto de' Menabuoi and
his studio. The work was commissioned by brothers Manfredo and Naimerio
Conti, after whom the chapel is also sometimes named. The frescoes depict scenes from the lives of Saints Philip, James the
Younger and the Elder and of Luke Belludi and were restored in 1988. The most
famous panel is probably on the left wall of the apse, where Saint Anthony appears to the
with it's impressive panorama of Padua, although all the scenes here
have impressive architecture. The weird toppling tower scene on the
The chapels in the ambulatory are all frescoed,
mostly in the early 20th century, the third and fourth on the left and second and
third on the right in imitation gothic style. Through an
arch in the centre of the ambulatory is the 17th century reliquary chapel,
designed by Filippo Parodi, a pupil of Bernini, on the site of a chapel
dedicated to Saint Francis. It has the
Saint Anthony chin reliquary as well as the better-known tongue one. A
finger and some hair is to be found here too, along with a habit,
parchments and coffins. It is
not for the faint-hearted or the baroque-averse.
The first chapel on the right
in the ambulatory, the Cappella di Santa Caterina, just
past the entrance to the sacristy, has three paintings by Pietro Annigoni
inside, and frescoes in the underside of the arch of eight saints
attributed to Giotto, or at least his workshop. They have been much
repainted, especially the faces. This chapel probably originally belonged
to the Scrovegni family - their coat of arms, a blue sow on an ochre
background, is still visible painted on the entrance arch - possibly a
commission by Enrico Scrovegni from before the Arena
The chapter house, beyond
the sacristy through the door to the right of this last chapel, has
fragmentary frescoes also attributed to Giotto, at least partially, found
under plaster and whitewash in the mid-19th and early 20th centuries. They
depict Saints and Prophets in fictive niches, part of a
Crucifixion and a Stigmatization of Saint Francis. It is
thought that, having been brought here by the Franciscans after his work
at Assisi, it was whilst working here that he met Enrico Scrovegni, which
led to his commission to decorate Scrovegni's
To the right of the sacristy door is the short passageway between the church and the
Cloister of the Magnolias. It has, on the left, the tomb of Federico
Lavellongo, with sculpture by Giovanni de Santi and a fresco in the
lunette of The Virgin and Saints Worshipped by Lavallongo
attributed to Altichiero. Opposite is a tomb with a fresco of the
Coronation of the Virgin by Giusto de'Menabuoi (see photo right).
A panel from a predella depicting The Descent of Christ into
Limbo by Jacopo Bellini is, it has been suggested, from the predella
of an altarpiece that was in the Gattamelata Chapel here, signed by Jacopo
along with his sons Gentile and Giovanni in 1459 or 1460. It is now in the Eremitani Civic Museum. There are other
predella panels in Ferrara (an Adoration of
the Magi possibly by Giovanni, based on designs by Jacopo) and the Correr in Venice (a Crucifixion).
A left-hand main-register panel of
Saints Anthony Abbot and Bernardino in Washington may be from
the same altarpiece.
The Anthonian Museum
In the cloister of the Blessed Luca Belludi. Contents include the lunette fresco by Mantegna for the Basilica’s doorway
and 18th century altarpieces, mostly martyrdoms, by Giacomo Ceruti,
Giambattista Tiepolo, Antonio Ballestra, Giambattista Pittoni,
Pietro Antonio Rotari, Giovanni Antonio Pellegrini, and Giambattista
Piazzetta painted for the ambulatory chapels.
It begins with a
bewildering maze of glass cases containing votive plaques and offerings
and too much weird stuff for a non-believer to comprehend. This is
followed by a permanent exhibition called ‘Donatello in the Basilica’
established in 2015. It has photos, plaster casts and information panels
about the works Donatello made for the Santo, but which they won't let you
get close enough to admire in the church.
But it's in the un-signposted-to
upstairs gallery that the good stuff is displayed. There are sweet fresco
fragments, including the lunette and altarpieces just mentioned. Also a
Carpaccio Madonna and Saints altarpiece on long-time loan. Painted
for the convent of San Francesco di Pirano, it was looted by the Nazis and
eventually returned here. The Santo website says that the original altar
it was taken from has been readied for its return since at least 2000. A
Titian sinopia from the scuola next door is so faint as to defy
comprehension. There are robes and silver stuff here too.
Weekdays 6.20am - 6.45pm
Easter to end of October 6.20am - 7.45pm
Saturdays and Sundays 6.20am - 7.45pm
Tuesday to Friday 9.00-1.00
Saturday and Sunday 9.00-1.00, 2.00-6.00
Oratorio and Scuola (see below)
April - September 9.00-12.30, 2.30-7.00
October-March 9.00-12.30, 2.30-5.00
€3.00 each or €6 for both
in front of the church, which was once used as a
cemetery, is Donatello's famous bronze equestrian statue of
1447-50 of Erasmo da
Narni, known as Gattamelata (the honeyed cat, sometimes interpreted
as calico cat or speckled cat) the Venetian condottiere who
later became a podesta in Padua. The nickname is said to derive from his
mother's name, she being called Melania Gattelli). It was commissioned by Gattamelata's wife, Giacoma da Leonessa,
and is famed as
the first equestrian statue cast in bronze in Italy since Roman times. The
tall plinth, also the work of Donatello, has two doors, one open and one ajar,
symbolic of the doors to the underworld. Above are two reliefs, on one
there are two putti pointing to the coat of arms of the deceased, on the
other two angels with armour. The badly weathered originals are now in the
Santo Museum, having been replaced with copies in the 19th century.
Along the south side of
this courtyard are
A photograph taken before 1912.
Oratorio di San Giorgio and Scuola del Santo
The Oratory is an aisleless
small space, plainly wood panelled below and gorgeously frescoed above. (see
left) It's a
feast of Altichiero, and Jacopo D'Avanzo, with scenes from the Lives of Saints George, Lucy and Catherine. Also four scenes from The Early Life of Christ an Annunciation
and a votive fresco featuring the commissioning Lupi family.
Following Altichiero's work for Bonifacio in the San Giacomo
Chapel in the Santo, this time it's for Raimondino. The Crucifixion
scene behind the altar has the artist's characteristic horse bottoms and
pony tails, with some very Giotto-like expressions and angels, and a
Coronation above. The entrance wall has an Annunciation, two
Adorations, the Flight into Egypt and the Presentation. The left-hand wall is the life of St George, the right-hand Saint Catherine above
and Saint Lucy below. The ceiling roundels have the four evangelists over
the altar. The frescoes were covered in
whitewash until 1837.
is the home of the Brothers of Saint Anthony, founded just after the
saint's death and still active. The small church downstairs has a high
alter taken from the demolished church of San Biagio, above which is a
Madonna and Child with Saints Benedict and Jerome by Padovanino. The
meeting room upstars has frescos of the life of Saint Anthony (see
below) with three works by Titian, executed in 1510/11 when he was
barely more than 20 years old which are his earliest
documented works to survive. The show Saint Anthony granting speech to a
newborn child, healing a youth who had cut off his own foot and restoring
to life a wife killed by her jealous husband. There are thirteen more frescoes showing
more miracles of Saint Anthony by the likes of Domenico Campagnola,
Bartolomeo Montagna and Titian's brother Francesco Vecellio. The small
grisaille panel at ground level behind glass
is a controversial attribution to Titian.
Rebuilt in the 13th century and at the end of the 17th. Contains the
the composer Giuseppe Tartini and his wife to
the right of the baroque high altar.
Is now sometimes used for concerts, thanks to the Tartini connection.
A chapel on the site, next to a leper hospital, is documented in 1181. It
became a parish church in 1308, and in 1606passed to the Somascan Fathers,
who established a school here. The present Rococo church was built to
plans by a lay brother of the order called Francesco Vecelli with work
beginning in 1737 and completed in 1749. The façade was designed by the
Paduan architect Girolamo Frigimelica. With the Napoleonic suppressions
the Somaschi were expelled and the church passed to secular clergy.
Aisleless with two shallow chapels each side, the first two at the back with painted altarpieces
by Mariotto - has has four works in here, including a panel on the wall of
the apse. Two chapels have statues - a Madonna and a Crucifix. The deep
apse-ended choir rather concentrates the lighter baroqueness of the rest of the
church. The central ceiling panel is by Nicolò Baldassini and shows the
Exaltation of the Cross. Baldassini also frescoed the cupola.
Through a door on the right you enter the Cappella della Madonna della
Neve and an oratory called the Sala del Redentore. The oratory dates to
the 15th century and was the home of the former Confraternity of the Corpo
di Cristo di Santa Croce. In 1810 the oratory passed to the parish and
over the years has seen use as a storage room, a theatre, an army meeting
hall - in 1917 - a band room, a cinema and a furniture workshop. Only in
1976 did it see restoration work, followed in 1995 by the restoration of
Built in 1907.
Daily 7.00-12.00 & 3.00-6.00
The Oratory can be seen on guided tours in May, June, September,
October on Tuesday afternoons from 4.00 to 6.00, and Thursday mornings
from 10.00 to 12.00
It is said that in 304 Justina, a 16 year-old Paduan of noble birth, was
martyred with a sword and that over her tomb here, in an Early Christian
cemetery, a small Basilica was built in the early 5th century and enlarged
around 520. It became a Benedictine abbey in
the 8th century
using funds, it is said, provided by the invading Lombard kings Liutprando
and Ildebrando. More
rebuilding from 1117, after
the same earthquake that did for many of Padua's churches. After two more rebuildings came the
church's current form, which dates from 1529-79
with Girolamo da Brescia, Andrea Moroni and Andrea da Valle as successive architects. Said to be the 11th
(or 9th) largest Christian church in the world.
The Benedictine monastery and church was suppressed by Napoleon in 1810,
and suffered much through its use from 1816 as a barracks by the Austrian
but the church reopened and a monastery was re-established here in 1919.
This now houses a library
and book-restoration centre.
Bare brick and huge - larger than the Santo,
which seems to have inspired its form, especially the four large and four
small domes. Two 14th century Veronese rosso e grigio marble gryphons (see right)
at each end of the entrance staircase, were taken from the protiro of the medieval church.
Big and renaissance, with very chunky pillars. Six deep flat-backed chapels in three bays down
each side of the nave with three shallow cupolas over the nave
corresponding with each bay. The first five chapels each side have
matching marble altars with unspectacular 17th century altarpieces by the
likes of Loth, Luca Giordano, Sebastiano Ricci, and a pair of Scuola del
Veronese in the first facing pair. The fifth on the
right is the best lit with Palma Giovane's Saint Benedict receives
Saints Maurus and Placidus. There are also works by Bissoni and
Then there's a pair of longer
apse-ended chapels with sculpture-topped altars. The huge transept has
apse-shaped ends too with more modest altars. There's than another pair of apse-ended
chapels with matching sculptural altars, then two more deep chapels flank the
choir. All of these chapels are lacking in painted decoration.
There are staircases down to a crypt either side of the stairs up
to the choir. Over the high altar, far off at the end of the choir, is
Veronese's crowded masterpiece The Martyrdom of Santa Giustina of
1574/5, which has the church in the left background. It features,
according to Pignatti, 'a flight, nothing less than irritating, of too
many angels.' The (roped-off) choir also has carved walnut choir stalls of
deserved fame by Riccardo Taurigny from 1558/66, and the remains of the saint
herself under the high altar.
The chapel right of choir has a very agitated Pieta
of 1689 by Filippo
Parodi, who is said to have brought the style of his teacher Bernini to Padua
and was responsible for the very baroque reliquary chapel in the Santo. The chapel
to the left of the choir has a frescoed ceiling by Sebastiano Ricci, the
only frescoing in the main church, with some nice trompe l'oeil
effects. The left hand transept is the Chapel of Saint Luke with his remains
and an icon of the Madonna and Child, along with works on the walls
by Balestra and Galvani.
Through the right-hand transept, with its pair of huge canvases,
one each by Bissoni and Balestra, behind the small altar, there is the
suddenly very decorated Corridor of the Martyrs, named for the Martyr's
bones found down a well here. It was built to link the church with the
chapel of St Prosdocimus after the old chapel was destroyed by an
earthquake in 1117.
Facing you before you turn left at the
end is The Blessed Giacoma Discovers the
Well of the Martyrs by Pietro Damini. Turning left you enter the corridor where access
to the subterranean passages containing the relics, amongst them bits of Saints Luke and Matthew,
is gained through a trap-door to the right. You then come to the Sacellum
di Santa Maria e San Prosdocimo (see two photos below right) all that remains of the
original basilica. Here, under the window, is the tomb of Saint Prosdocimus
who was the first bishop of
Padua in the 4th century, when the church was founded.
The Saint Luke Polyptych, the earliest surviving altarpiece by
Andrea Mantegna, painted in 1454 for the
chapel of San Luca (the left transept) here, is now in the Brera in Milan.
It's big and special, with two rows of saints in arched panels in
traditional gothic style, and you can get up close and fully appreciate.
It was looted from the abbot's private rooms by the French in 1797.
Girolamo da Romano (called Romanino)'s huge,
impressive and very Venetian early-16th century Madonna Enthroned with Saints
Benedict, Justina, Prosdocimo and Scholastica (see right) is now in
the Eremitani Civic Museum. As is his panel depicting the Last Supper
painted for the refectory here.
Also there is the equally early-16th century Venetian-looking
Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints Benedict and Justina by
Giampietro Silvio. Also a Deposition by the same artist.
The Martyrdom of Saint Justina of 1556 by
Paolo Veronese, which hung here over the Abbot’s private altar in his
study is now in the Eremitani Civic Museum. Also by Veronese is a Crucifixion,
painted on paragone, a dark stone, now in the Eremitani Civic
A large detached fresco panel of The Deposition, with roundels
depicting saints, probably of 1515/20 by Girolamo Tessari (called Dal
Santo) is in the Eremitani Civic Museum.
Benedetto Bordon (c.1455-1530) was commissioned in 1523 to decorate an
Evangeliary (Gospel Book) and an Epistles for the monastery here. These
manuscripts are in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin and the
British Library respectively.
An initial showing The Resurrection (MS Marlay 18i) cut from an
Antiphoner (choir book) which is part of a multi-volume set still to be
found in Santa Giustina, is now in the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.
The lower part is the original tower. By 1599 the church had grown
such that the bells could not be heard, it is said, so the height was
Elena Cornaro Piscopia, the celebrated scholar and the first
woman to receive a university degree, was buried here in 1684. She
eventually earned a philosophy doctorate. Her first choice of subject had
been theology but Gregorio Cardinal Barbarigo, the Bishop of Padua, had
forbidden this course as she was a woman.
The church in art
Prato della Valle, with Santa Giustina and the monastery of
the Benedictine nuns is a painting of c.1756 by Canaletto, of which
several versions exist, including a good one - and the only one that's
signed - in the Museo Poldi Pezzoli in Milan. It shows the Prato della
Valle before the landscaping and canal building - it's just a field.
7.30 - 12.00 & 3.00 - 8.00
Sunday and Bank Hols 6.30-1.00 &
8.00 - 12.00 & 3.00-5.00
Sunday and Bank Hols
8.00 - 1.00 &
3.00 - 8.00
A 1766 project for the facade of Santa Giustina
by Francesco Maria Preti.
and the Scuola di San Rocco
A church was on this site in the 10th century, it is said, but
the current church dates to rebuilding in the 18th century.
A not very long - almost square - nave, with an altar and two
confessionals each side, a square choir, stone saints in niches and long
canvases in the choir of the Resurrection and ?Saint Lucy.
Is said to have a painting of
Saint Luke as a painter,
attributed to Giambattista Tiepolo,
but this was not to be
Benedetto Diana's Virgin and Child with Saints, now in the
Accademia in Venice. A carved lunette of the Madonna and Child by
the studio of Pietro Lombardo is in the Eremitani Civic Museum.
Scuola di San Rocco
Next door to Santa Lucia, built from 1525 to
1542 on the site of a building bought for the Confraternity of Saint Roch
in 1476. Acquired by the City of Padua in 1925 and restored 1926-29. More
restoration work in 1950, when the frescoes on the right wall, more
damaged than those on the left, where detached, cleaned and returned. More
work in the 1960, 1970s and 1993.
frescoes cover all four walls of the meeting hall on the ground floor (see
below centre). A
monochrome freeze below the ceiling is supported by false columns which
divide the walls frescoed panels - two flanking the altar, two on the
entrance wall, and five on each side wall. These show scenes from
the life of the saint, beginning to the right of the altar. The first
The Parents of Saint Roch in Prayer, is by Domenico Campagnola. The
Birth of Saint Roch follows, by Girolamo Tessari (called 'dal Santo')
. The next two are The Death of the Father of Saint Roch and The
Distribution of His Worldly Goods by Saint Roch. These two are by
Domenico Campagnola, with help from Gualtiero Padovano. The rest are by
Gualtiero Padovano on his own, except the last, The Funeral of Saint
Roch, which is by Stefano dall'Azare, another painter from the
workshop of Campagnola. Gualtiero's Saint Roch is Taken to Prison (see
right) cunningly incorporates the real window of the oratory into the
Over the altar is a
Virgin and Saints Roch and Lucy panel by Alessandro Maganza from 1697.
The same two saints also appearing in the spandrels above.
The upstairs hall is also partly frescoed - decoration began in 1559. Has
a large stucco altar frontal by Tiziano Minio showing Saint Roch and Two
Tues-Sun 9.30-12.30, 3.30-7.00
tickets: full price € 3.00, reduced € 2:00
Maria dei Colombini
Built over an ancient oratory c.1748. The architect was the Venetian Thomas Temanza,
more famous for Venice's cylindrical church of
Maddalena (where he is buried) and
Here he provided Padua with an early example of a neo-classical façade.
Small, box-like and serene, with a pair of side altars topped by
altarpieces by Venetian painters - San Francesco di Paola by
Giuseppe Nogari (a pupil of Antonio Balestra) and The Flight into Egypt
by Francesco Polazzo, each flanked by life size sculpted figures of the
four evangelists by Bonazza. The large ceiling panel is The Apotheosis
of Saint Margaret by Giorgio Anselmi, an artist from Verona.
Continuing the Venetian rococo roll of honour, the high altarpiece is
The Glory of Saint Margaret by Francesco Zugno, a pupil of
Giambattista Tiepolo. To the left here is The Martyrdom of Saint
Margaret by A Urbani, to the right is The Sentencing of Saint Margaret
Tuesday - Saturday 10.00-12.00 & 4.00-6.00 (May - October 4.30-6.30)
Opened by volunteers from Salvalarte, who don't have a website but are a
branch of Legambiente.
September 2017 Not open when I visited at
times when it should've been.
A church here dates to the 14th century, where it is said that
the Colombini met, they being a group of penitents devoted to Saint
Anthony of Padua who formed a confraternity. They were suppressed by
Napoleon and with the oratory set for demolition it was acquired in 1810
by Conti Alessandro and Francesco Papafava de 'Carraresi, which resulted
in the building as it appears now, with works of 1817.
Reopened to the public in June 2017 by the
Archconfraternity of St. Anthony of Padua,
Santa Maria dei Servi
Built from 1372, financed by Fina Buzzaccarini, the wife of Francesco
I da Carrara, who also commissioned Giusto de' Menabuoi to decorate
Baptistery of the Duomo as a mausoleum
for the couple. The church was built on the site of the house of Nicolò da
Carrara, which was demolished. Nicolò was the banished step-brother of
Francesco I and the story goes that Fina, a very pious woman, chose to
build on this site to punish him for his betrayal of Francesco. Or
it may have been to celebrate the marriage of her daughter. When Fina died
in 1378 responsibility for completing the church passed t0 her sister
Anna, the abbess of the Convent of St. Benedict. In 1393 Fina's son
Francesco Novello, who had succeeded his father, entrusted the church to
the Servites, which was when it acquired its current name.
Renaissance portico along the left side of the church was added in
1511 by Bartolomeo Campolongo, using 10 red marble octagonal columns from
the demolition of the original 14th century Chapel of Saint
The church was part of a complex that included the convent of the Servites,
the Oratory of St. Homobonus and the Oratory of the Guild of St. Mary of
Confiscated in 1806, the government only returned the church to
ecclesiastical authorities in 1963, 157 years later, as a plaque in the
Aisleless and quite tall with white walls, a wooden corbelled roof and some unspecial
monuments to worthies and a nice variety of 14th-16th century fresco
fragments spaced around. The 16th century fresco of the Virgin and
Child with Saints Roch Anthony Joachim and Anna on the back wall to
the right is the most complete. It is now attributed to Dominico
Campagnola (previously it was said to be by Girolama del Santo) and dated
to the 1530s but looks to have suffered some inexpert touching up. The two
frantic 17th century canvases above are by Matteo Ghidoni.
The dominant feature is the very Baroque Altar of Our Lady of Sorrows
which faces you as you enter the side door (see photo right). It is by Giovanni Bonazza from
1703-10 and houses a statue of The Madonna from the late 14th
century by Rinaldo di Francia.
It was previously erroneously attributed to Donatello.
There's a small 'Scuola di Mantagna' Pieta fresco contained in a
Lombardesque tabernacle to the right of the baroque altar, it was
previously said to be by Jacopo da Montagnana, a Paduan painter who Vasari
said studied with Bellini, but whose work indeed looks more influenced by
Mantagna. It is now said to be by Pietro Calzetta (1430/40-1486) and is
called The Man of Sorrows (Christo Passo) Between the Virgin and St
John. There's also God the Father in the lunette above.
There's a polygonal apse with two square side chapels. Flanking the apse
are canvases of Saint Andrew and Saint Peter by Palma
In the chapel to the left of the apse is a
'Donatello' Crucifix, recently back from being restored. The church
now says that it's by Donatello, but other sources have said that it's by
an unknown artist inspired by Donatello. The face looks very Donatello. It
was painted to simulate bronze in the 19th century but restoration
2012-2015 restored the flesh tone. It is venerated, though, because in
1512 blood is said to have seeped from the face and side of the statue.
Originally it stood on the tramezzo (rood screen) but was moved to
its current position after the bleeding episode and subsequent veneration.
Frescos of The Passion in this chapel are barely visible and the
sculpted surround is by Lorenzo Canella (1884-1956)
An altarpiece showing the Madonna Misericordia, with the Child
and Saints, by an anonymous Paduan artist of the late 15th century, is
in the Eremitani Civic Museum
Santa Maria del Carmine
The Carmelites were established around here, an area dominated
by mills, in the later 13th century
and work on their church here began in 1309, on the site of an oratory
built in 1212. The original church had a single nave, a
ship's-keel wooden roof and six chapels.
In 1491 heavy snow and an earthquake caused
the roof to collapse.
Lorenzo da Bologna and Pietro Antonio degli Abati were employed to
rebuild. The church was completed in 1523 by Biagio Biagio, the work
retaining much of the original structure, with renaissance embellishments.
(It is said that Lorenzo's dome is visible in Giorgione's Tempest.) Further damage, from an
earthquake in 1695 (following which the roof was replaced and the façade,
and main door were completed) and from fire following a firework display
celebrating the new pope in 1800. Also bomb damage in 1917 by the
Austrians (the dome was destroyed and rebuilt in 1931) and in 1944 by the Allies, the
church being close to the railway station.
Another unfinished façade
Big, tall and aisleless, barrel-vaulted with six substantial chapels
down each side, variously (mostly baroquely) filled. Fresco roundels,
mostly, in the spandrels on the wall between them. A huge triumphal arch over the high altar at the end of a
deep choir which has a large frescoed cupola above on a shallow drum, with
a deep lunette arch over the arch. The choir area is covered in frescos of
pre-raphaelite appearance. No transept. The painted altarpieces inside the
chapels (the first and third on each side) and the panels elsewhere (large
and square over each chapel and on the back wall) are
mostly 17th century and not special. Many are by Bissoni and Varotari (aka Il Padovanino). The last altar on the right contains what is said
to be one of the best by the latter: Christ with Zebedee's Mother,
originally from church of San Giacomo. No labels on the art and no
The Lazara polyptych (see right) by Francesco Squarcione,
Mantegna's master, is
now in the Padua Museo Civico.
Scuola del Carmine
Contains a cycle of frescoes from the 16th century by Giulio and Domenico Campagnola, Girolamo Tessari and Stefano dall'Arzare. Following
Napoleonic suppression the scuola became the parish baptistery and then a
warehouse and storeroom. Following restoration it was opened to the
public. The altarpiece here, a Madonna and Child, was formerly
attributed to Titian but is now thought to be the work of Girolamo del
Santo (a.k.a. Girolamo Tessari) the painter also responsible for seven of
the fourteen fresco panels here.
The story, from Joachim Sent from the Temple to The Assumption,
runs anti-clockwise from left of the altar. The left hand nave walls are
the work of Giulio Campagnola 1505-7, (the first panel actually by his
adopted son Domenico, a pupil of Titian). The right hand side of the nave
and around the altar is work by Girolamo del Santo. The back wall's
marvellously incorporated Nativity, Adoration of the Kings
and the little Presentation at the Temple are by Stefano
The stylistic transition from Giulio
Campagnola to his son and Girolamo del Santo here supposedly illustrates
the change in dominant influence from Mantegna to Titian, with Stefano dell'Arzere's work said to show the movement towards to mannerism.
Tuesday and Thursday
Tuesday and Thursday
Santa Maria del Torresino
So named because of its
central crenellated tower.
Also known as Santa Maria del Pianto. Built 1726 by Count Frigimelica to
house a miraculous Madonna. A guidebook of 1910 by Cesare Foligno says
'Its sole interest lies in its entire independence of all architectural
Santa Maria della Carità
(Arena Chapel/Scrovegni Chapel)
A small chapel dedicated to Santa Maria Annunziata stood here originally,
at least since 1278, and a procession and mystery play celebrating the Annunciation was held
here on the feats day every 25th of March. In 1300 banker Enrico Scrovegni bought
from the noble-but-impoverished Dalesmanini family an enormous area of land which included the
chapel and the eastern part of the Roman Arena, which was of a size and
appearance to match the one in Verona. Scrovegni built a palace and rebuilt
the chapel. It was dedicated to Santa Maria della Carità at the Feast of the Annunciation in
1303, when rebuilding began, and consecrated on 25th March 1305, and is
now better known as the Arena
Chapel and the Scrovegni Chapel. It was built next to the palace as a family oratory, but was also used
for the long-established service during the Feast of the Annunciation.
Enrico Scrovegni's fortune was derived from money lending, and usury was
at the time thought to be a sin so grave as to exclude those guilty of it
from the benefit of Christian sacraments. There is a widely held and
that Enrico built and changed the dedication of the chapel in penance for his father's sin of usury.
His father, Rainaldo, had been a social climber nonetheless famous for
singing lewd songs in his youth. Later he was one of the usurers mentioned in
Dante's Inferno - his arms (a blue sow on a white field) were
placed in the seventh circle of the Inferno. (Dante and Giotto are said to have
been friends, with Dante staying in Giotto's house.) But the theory that
Enrico built the Arena Chapel to make restitution for his father usury has
been questioned in recent years. He was law-abiding lender and had set
aside funds in his will for any challenges after his death and Enrico
himself had not exactly scrimped on bequests and philanthropy already. Enrico's tomb is in the apse
here. He died in exile in Venice in 1336, having been the victim of
double-dealing allies, like Giacomo and Marsilio da Carrara.
artist responsible for the chapel's frescoes, was also an architect and
so it has recently been argued that he may have designed the chapel too. But it is also
argued that the architect was Fra Giovanni Eremitano, who lived in the
neighbouring Eremitani and is said to be the monk holding the model of the
chapel with Enrico Scrovegni in Giotto's fresco of The Last Judgement
on the entrance wall.
The palace later
passed to the Foscari family and was demolished in 1827, the chapel having
also then been slated for demolition two years later.
Fragments of the palace remain in Padua - the Palazzo del Monte di Pietà
has six bays in the arcade at the left of its façade and a bit of doorway
in its wall.
It is thought that, having been brought here by the Franciscans to
work in the Santo after his work at Assisi, it was whilst working here
that Giotto met Enrico Scrovegni - he also frescoed a Scrovegni family chapel
there - which led to his commission to decorate the Arena Chapel. It seems
that Giotto and his workshop worked fast, as the decoration is thought to
have been finished at the same time as the consecration in 1305. The
chapel has a rectangular barrel-vaulted nave, six tall windows along the right-hand
side and a three-light window high in the façade. The small chancel was
finished later with fresco decoration by a a lesser Paduan painter. It is
flanked by a pair of small side altars, also of a later date. Above the
arch, the image of God the Father is actually tempera on panel, and
this panel is a window shutter.
The interior space seems designed for decoration with frescoes,
possibly on Giotto's advice, with a lack of architectural
embellishment and windows facing south-east. Giotto's frescoes here,
painted c.1303-5, are
unarguably his finest work, and certainly the best preserved. They are also one of the
very rare uncontested examples of his work. But
they were only really universally accepted as of unique importance
and quality in the 20th century, as
the quote below from Ruskin illustrates. Vasari never even saw them, Padua
being so small and far from Florence. Their
centuries of neglect were halted in 2002, when the chapel reopened after
The vivid blue star-studded ceiling has painted medallions - Christ
surrounded by four prophets (including John the Baptist) on the half
nearest the altar; the Virgin and four more prophets nearest the entrance. The series depicting the
life of the Virgin begins at the top left of the right-hand wall. By the
time the series reaches the left hand wall it's into the life of Jesus.
The drawing of Giotto is, of course, exceedingly faulty. His
knowledge of the human figure is deficient.
A painted Crucifix (see right) and a panel of God the
Father, both by Giotto and painted for this chapel, are now in the Eremitani
Civic Museum next door. The Crucifix is signed by Giotto, is
painted on both sides (the reverse being pretty ruined and featuring a
painting of the Mystic Lamb and symbols of the Four Evangelists) and was
probably painted at the same time as the frescoes. It may well have been
placed on a screen between the nave and presbytery. It was restored in the
Monday to Sunday 9.00 - 7.00
Pre-booking is essential
You wait in an air-conditioned waiting-room watching a
video for 15 minutes (to 'stabilise the interior microclimate') then enter
the Chapel for a 15 minutes, so visits last about 30 minutes.
Laura Jacobus Giotto and the Arena Chapel 2008
All you'll ever need to know, and more.
A mid-18th century watercolour by Marino Urbani showing the
when it was attached to the Scrovegni family palazzo, then known as the
Santa Maria in Vanzo
Built in 1436 at the expense of Domenico Campolongo, a Paduan nobleman,
and enlarged in 1525.
In the refectory here, a large Crucifixion by Michele da Verona
dated 28th March 1505, itself a smaller version of a work of 1501 in San
Giorgio in Braida in Verona, both commissioned by the Secular Canons of
the Blessed Lorenzo Giustiniani.
Impressive frescoes by Domenico Campagnola, a Paduan pupil of Titian.
Two? paintings by Bartolomeo Montagna, one being the Madonna and Child
Enthroned, with Saints Peter, John the Baptist, Catherine, Paul and Angel
Musicians (c.1512) over the high altar (see left) which was
restored in 2002. It also has wings depicting Saints Lawrence and
An Entombment, signed by Jacopo
Bassano and dated 1574 on the stone, bottom centre, over the last altar on
the left wall.
Built in 1723, by Comini family, but probably with worker participation,
perhaps local boatmen.
The sober body of the church contrasts quite a bit with the (rare in
Padua) rococo campanile.
Restored with funds from the Lion Club in 1968, as the
plaque on the wall by the door tells us.
Various traditions have it that this is the site of the oldest church in
Padua, built by St Prosdocimus himself, or that it was founded in the 8th or 9th
century, on the site of a temple to Mithras,
and that it was the original cathedral of Padua. It was crumbling in
1106, though, and the
current church was built as a consequence of an earthquake in 1117, having
been completed in 1127 with a Romanesque facade but retaining the earlier
church's apse. There were 14th century Gothic additions too, and much
restoration, including the removal of a building which was 'leaning on it' in the
Pale brick and plain, with a nave and two aisles separated by
rows of pillars,
columns on pillars, and two columns - they vary much but match across the
nave. A groin-vaulted ceiling of the 14th century, with decorated ribs and
arches. Two side altars each side. The deep apse has an ambulatory which
narrows to nothing at the back. A burst of fresco in the vaults over the left-hand
aisle of the ambulatory. Some 13th/14th-century anonymous frescoes and
traces, including a 14th-century lunette of the Madonna and Child
Saints and Donors over the apse (see photo below) .
A Vision of San Francesco di Paola by the Paduan artist Giovanni Battista Cromer (1665
- 1745) was
restored in 2002.
An altarpiece, painted for the high altar in this church in 1448
by Mantegna. It is said to have been his first commission and according to
Vasari was painted when he was 17.
It is now lost.
Mon/Tues 9.30-11.30, 16.00-19.30
Weds-Sat 7.30-11.30, 16.00-19.30
Sunday and feast days 9.00-12.30, 18.00-20.00
Firmo e Rustico
Santi Massimo e Osvaldo
Built on the site of a large
burial ground, it is said, the church here became a parish church in 1308.
San Massimo was the second bishop of Padua. The small medieval church
underwent rebuilding in the 16th and 17th centuries, due to the popularity
of the are for patrician family houses and to a charismatic parish priest,
Father Giuseppe Cogolo, to who commissioned paintings by Giovanbattista
Tiepolo between 1742 and 1745.
Parish church status was lost during the Napoleonic
suppressions and the church was closed to worship. During World War II it
suffered bomb damage. It reopened as a university chapel after a major
restoration in the 1990s, although it suffered much loss of fittings
during its years of closure.
Three altarpieces by Giambattista Tiepolo - St John the Baptist, The Flight
into Egypt and the titular saints. Also the tomb of the
famous physician Giovan Battista Morgagni.
via Suor Elisabetta Vendramini
San Giuseppe? Joseph church interior
via Luigi Configliachi
in Corso Vittorio
Santo Rosario Madonna della Salute?
Benedictine church and convent seized and demolished during siege
North of the town is the Sanctuary dell'Arcella, a Gothic Revival
church, completed in 1931,to designs by Eugenio Maestri, built on the site
of a hospice, run by Clarissan nuns, which had been established by Saint
Francis of Assisi himself in 1227. At this time the hospice was some
distance outside the city walls. It was here that Saint Anthony died on
the evening of June 13, 1231. Still run by Conventual Franciscans, and now a parish church.
Church and Monastery of the Capuchin Friars aka The Sanctuary of
Leopold Mandic, which houses the
remains and the confessional cell of the beloved Dalmatian Capuchin saint
who died in 1942 and was canonised in 1983. The church is in the centre,
to the right of the portico is the Capuchin monastery and to the left the
saint's confessional cell. They were rebuilt from 1945 to 1948, following
the destruction of the church and part of the monastery during an air raid
on the 14th of May 1944. The saint's cell was miraculously undamaged, as predicted by him, it
is said. His remains were moved from the town cemetery to a funeral chapel
beside his confessional. The relic of his right (blessing) hand is displayed in a niche
by his tomb.
Jacopo Bellini was commissioned in 1430 to paint a fresco of the
Archangel Michael for the church of San Michele in Padua. Two
panels by Lazzaro Bastiani depicting the Archangels Michael and Gabriel
are said to be the organ doors from the church of San Michele.
Founded in 1226 by Dominicans on the west bank of the Bacchiglione
River. A small oratory already on the site, dedicated to Santa Maria
di Valverde served as a chapel initially. The new large brick church was
consecrated in 1303. Twelve trachite columns separated the nave from the
aisles, and there were nineteen altars, which would eventually be topped
by altarpieces of the 16th/17th centuries. There was a Donatello
Crucifix, a polychrome terracotta Pietà by Giovanni Minello and
works by Antonio Bonazza and Tommaso Allio. Suppressed in 1806 and demolished by the Austrians in 1819. All
that remains is one of the two cloisters - it became a barracks and looks
ruined, but still in use. The refectory of the barracks evidently still
has a fresco fragment of a Dead Christ with Two Angels attributed
The tombs of Jacopo II da Carrara
and Ubertino da
Carrara by Andrioli di Santi (now in the Eremitani church) were originally sited in the
presbytery here, along with the fresco of Coronation of the
Virgin with the two Carrara princes, by Guariento.
An Adoration of the Shepherds with a Donor by Stefano dell'Azare
(see right) is now in the Eremitani Civic Museum. As is the
Resurrection of Christ with Mary Magdalene and Saints Augustine, Dominic
and Andrew by Domenico Campagnola, and studio.
Ecce Homo with Angels, Saint George and Jerome and the Donor Battista
Pozzo and his wife by Dario Varotari is in the Eremitani Civic Museum.
Madonna and Child Enthroned with Four Saints attributed to
Francesco Benaglio from c.1475 has recently gone on display in the new
15th century rooms in the Accademia in Venice.
The Martyrdom of Saint Stephen and The Adoration of the Magi
by Pietro Damini in the Eremitani Civic Museum P1080144/P1080148