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Why Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy should be high on your travel list & where to find the best pizza in the city

Home to the absolute masterpiece that is the Scrovegni chapel, I’d never really considered going to Padua in Italy before, but when I found out Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds were playing a gig just outside the historical town I realised it was a good excuse to head over for a long weekend of pizza, music and incredible frescoes. 

Like most people, whenever I'm in a new city, as well as hunting out art, I also love to find the best food to eat—whether that's tapas in Mahon, Menorca, or seafood in the Florida Keys—and Padua I soon discovered is the place to go for the most amazing pizza. 

It turns out that due to its under-the-radar status and authentic food scene, Padua is fast becoming one of the best places to visit in Europe, who knew?!

canal in padua with old buildings with balconies either side
Pretty Padua

Often shunned for the islands and canals of Venice 28 miles away, Padua deserves a visit in its own right. As the setting for Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew and loved by writers such as Hemingway and Lord Byron, Padua has been pulling in the creatives for centuries.    

The Scrovegni Chapel

The Scrovegni Chapel is pretty from the outside but it's inside where it gets truly magical. Completed in 1305 it’s considered one of the most important masterpieces of Western art due to the most fabulous Giotto fresco covering the walls. I walked over one morning and bumped into Nick Cave himself, who just so happened to be admiring the incredible art too. Tickets are available to buy in advance on the chapel's website but you can't buy them on the same day as your visit so be sure to plan ahead. 

Giotto fresco covering the walls inside Scrovegni Chapel

Besides the Scrovegni chapel, what is there to see in Padua, Italy?

Piazza dei Signori is one of the main squares in Padua and is lined with shops, cafes and restaurants, it’s the perfect place to people-watch whilst sipping strong Italian coffee. Foodies will adore the fruit and vegetable market in the centre of town, dominated by locals you can find everything from Porcini mushrooms and artichokes to courgette flowers and figs. 

fruit and vegetable market in Padua
Fruit & vegetable market in the city centre

Where to eat and drink in Padua, Italy?

As well as wandering the pretty streets I also loved Pedrocchi Café, the extravagant haunt of Ernest Hemingway and Lord Byron. The signature drink here is Caffè Pedrocchi, the exact recipe remains a secret but it's essentially coffee with mint-flavoured cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder that you are advised to sip and not stir. 

coffee cup sitting on a green marble table at Caffè Pedrocchi
Caffè Pedrocchi

Coffee shop Caffeine is a good spot for breakfast or an afternoon pick-me-up; their pistachio cream-filled croissants are pretty good. For the best pizza of your life (no exaggeration) try Pizzeria Al Duomo—always packed for good reason. I had one of the special pizzas of the week, topped with stracchino cream cheese, black cabbage, porcini mushrooms, bacon and mozzarella and I'm still dreaming of it now.

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