Padua (It. Padova).
A Province Of Italy, in Venetia, bordering on Vicenza, Treviso, Venice, Rovigo, and Verona; area, 755 sq. m.; pop. in 1872, 364,430. The surface generally is level, but in the southwest are the volcanic Euganean hills, near which are numerous mineral springs. The principal rivers are the Adige, which forms the S. boundary, the Brenta, the Musone, and the Bacchiglione. The soil is fertile, and wheat, maize, rice, hemp, flax, grass, and the grape are carefully cultivated. Cattle, sheep, and poultry are reared; oil, silk, and wool of a superior quality are produced. The province is traversed by a number of irrigating and navigable canals. It is divided into the districts of Padua, Cani-posanpiero, Piove, Cittadella, Monselice, Este, Montagnana, and Conselve.
A City (Anc. Patavium), capital of the province, on the Bacchiglione, 20 m. W. of Venice, with which it is connected by railway; pop. in 1872, G6,-107. It is traversed by several canals, which give it communication with the lagoons and with other places. It is sometimes called Padova la Forte, and in ancient times it deserved that appellation, but its defences are now dilapidated. The old wall is triangular, about 6 m. in circuit. The city is irregularly built. The narrow streets are lined by arcades, with here and there irregular open spaces, and in the outskirts broad squares. The houses are for the most part well built, and many of the public edifices are fine specimens of architecture. The municipal palace, built between 1172 and 1219, stands entirely upon open arches surrounded by a loggia, and is covered by a vast roof unsupported by pillars and rising about half as high again as the walls. The great hall is about 240 ft. long, 80 ft. wide, and 70 ft. high. It is closely covered with curious allegorical paintings in 319 compartments, said to have been designed by Giotto, but entirely repainted after having been several times damaged by fire and water. The cathedral is said to have been designed by Michel Angelo, but it was not completed till 1754. It has some good paintings.
The baptistery, a Lombard building of the 12th century, contains many interesting frescoes. The bishop's and governor's palaces are also worthy of notice, the latter having a remarkable clock tower. The church of Sant' Antonio, the adjoining school, and the church of Santa Giustina are rich in works of art. In front of the latter is the Prato della Valle, an oval surrounded by a small canal and decorated with about 80 statues, two of which are by Canova. In the midst of the Arena, the ruins of a Roman amphitheatre afterward converted into a fortress, is a chapel built by Giotto and adorned with some of his best paintings. The university of Padua, founded early in the 13th century, was a famous school of law and medicine, and is still the most celebrated seat of the latter science in Italy. It has also faculties of theology, law, and humanities, and in 1873 had 65 professors and 1,121 students. The present edifice was begun in 1493, and the interior court, by Palladio, has great beauty. The botanic garden of Padua, established in 1543, is the oldest in Europe. The city has a celebrated society of arts and sciences, museums, an observatory, and extensive libraries, that of the university numbering 100,000 volumes.
It manufactures silks, ribbons, leather, and woollen cloth, and trades in wine, oil, cattle, and garden vegetables. - Padua is one of the most ancient cities of Italy, and according to tradition was founded by Antenor after the fall of Troy. In 1274 a skeleton enclosed in a marble sarcophagus and grasping a sword was dug up in Padua, and at once pronounced to be that of the Trojan founder. The sword was given to Alberto della Scala in 1334, and the sarcophagus now rests under a baldacchino in one of the streets. The ancient Patavium was one of the most important cities of Venetia. Even after it fell under the power of the Romans it continued for some time to be one of the first cities of upper Italy. Livy was a native of it. Although sacked by Attila in 452 and by the Lombards in 601, it became in the 10th century once more an important place. In 1239 it became subject to Ezzelino, but after his defeat in 1259 was long independent. In the early part of the 14th century it passed into the hands of the house of Carrara, and in 1405 became subject to Venice, with which it was transferred to Austria by the treaty of Campo Formio in 1797. In 1866 it became, with the rest of Venetia, part of the kingdom of Italy.
Town Hall, Padua.