A Travellerspoint blog

Getting About in Padua

semi-overcast 15 °C

As we resume our journey through the great cities of central and eastern Europe we were concerned that we had reached saturation point regarding medieval architecture – and then we came to Padua. How can we not show you the murals painted by Giotto in 1303 that completely cover the walls of the Cappella degli Scrovegni...
If you are not impressed by 700 year old paintings how about an 800 year old palace of justice...
The Palazzo dell Ragione was originally Padua's courthouse. Today it houses the public market and it is surrounded by stalls selling all manner of fruits, vegetables and foodstuffs.
Padua has a wealth of historic buildings, but this blog is about the way the old city has come to grips with the traffic woes that dog so many densely populated communities. Firstly, private cars are totally banned on many of the city's narrow cobbled streets. Other streets are one way only and priority is always given to pedestrians, buses, taxis and cyclists. These cycles are parked in the square in front of the 15th century clock tower...
The builders of this, and other, Italian cities from the 15th to the 18th centuries knew that shoppers would be more likely to dawdle if they were sheltered from the heat and the rain, so they covered all of the sidewalks with lofty colonnades...
This was not just good for business. It enabled the developers to build the upper stories right to the edge of the road without impeding traffic and the contrasts of light and shade makes for interesting photographs...
Perhaps Padua's greatest success has been with the ultra-sleek single track electric trams that run almost silently through the cobblestone streets. This tram is circumnavigating one of Europe's largest public squares - Prato della Valle...
But how does a tram operate using only a single track? And why is a city the size of Vancouver unwilling to invest in such an excellent mode of public transit? Answers on a postcard please to the mayor of Vancouver, BC. Canada.

Our time in Italy is very short on this trip as we are racing to keep ahead of winter. The first snows are already falling in the Alps so we are pushing further east to Slovenia. Arrivaderci Padova - we will return.

Posted by Hawkson 01:51 Archived in Italy

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Clever buildings and transportation. Never tire of beautiful paintings. Love the light, shadows and gorgeous colours of the colonnades. Keep warm.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Nice to see an operator in the tram. I don't like driver-less anything.
Those look like very early, pre-crowd, morning shadows.

by R and B

This looks like a beautiful place on many levels. Sheltered sidewalks - love the idea.

by Janet Vickers

Hats off to your photography, once more. I guess part of the reason these sort of trams are not used here is the size/core of the cities, the sprawl of it here...? I am looking forward to Slovenia...thx

by Gottfried Mitteregger

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