The largest square in Italy is in fact located in Padova. The square is called Prato della Valle, and its measure of 90,000 square meters makes it one of the largest squares in Europe. Today, the elliptical square consists of green spaces, small trees, 78 statues and a small canal. A beautiful view of the Basilica of Santa Giustina is visible from the square.
The main purpose of my trip was actually to dine at Le Calandre, a Michelin 3-star restaurant in the village of Sarmeola di Rubano, about 6 kilometers away from Padova. The easiest way to get to the restaurant is to take a taxi, and it costs around 25 euros for a round trip. Once you make a booking at Le Calandre, remember to reconfirm it a few days before your arrival. Must-try dishes at the restaurant are the crispy buffalo ricotta and mozzarella cannelloni with tomato sauce, melted saffron risotto with licorice powder and rosemary, and the chocolate game (my favorite!). The chocolate game is different each year, and this year is a sensational experience of sound and taste. Le Calandre is definitely one of the best Michelin restaurants I have tried.
Giotto's masterpieces at the Scrovegni Chapel are marvelous. Dated around 1305, the frescoes are considered to be some of the most important pieces in the history of Western art. The frescoes tell the stories of Christ and Virgin Mary using masterful color and light. The expression of human emotions and the realistic depiction in the artworks show an advancement in painting. It was an enlightening experience examining in detail the frescoes. Usually, you should make a booking online in advance. Each slot is available for up to 25 guests, and each slot lasts exactly 15 minutes. Upon arrival, you will have to stay in an air-conditioned room for around 15-20 minutes. The whole experience takes around 30-40 minutes.
If you love food and art, do not miss the amazing city of Padova, which is full of hidden gems. Padova is an easy day trip from Venice both by bus and train. For a general guide of the city, read Nicolas Casula's article: "Padova: A Beautiful Place."
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