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Make Padua a stop on your tour of northern Italy for medieval sights and 13th and 14th-century frescoes by the Renaissance master Giotto. While the centre is teeming with history, the student population brings a youthful vibe to the city; the Old University of Padua was established in 1222. Take a wander around the towering churches and market squares and mingle with the students in local bars.
You can stay close to history at a Padua hostel that's in a restored ancient villa. With extras like free Wi-Fi, staying in touch with home is easy too. Padua hostels with a garden or an on-site bar serving cold beers, mean you get to know your fellow travellers. Look out for places that have free breakfast included with your stay, helping you save a few euros for a drink in the piazza.
The historic centre of Padua is the ideal spot if you want to tick the major architectural landmarks off your list. It's easy to navigate by foot and puts bars, cafés and restaurants at your fingertips too. Madonna Pellegrina is a diverse residential neighbourhood that will give you a taste of local life. For scenery and a slower pace, try the tree-lined streets of Città Giardino.
Basilica di Sant’Antonio deserves a spot on your Padua to-do list. Completed in the 14th century, it’s a prime example of the city’s historic architecture. Head to Piazza dei Signori to grab a beer, soak up the sun and watch local life in action. No stay in Padua is complete without seeing some of Giotto’s frescos, the artworks adorning church walls: the Cappella degli Scrovegni shows off his work. For a day trip outside the city, you can take a boat up the Brenta Canal to Venice, stopping off at other villages along the way.
Marco Polo Airport in Venice is your closest hub to fly into. From there, you can take the FSBusItalia or a taxi to Padua – the journey is around an hour. Padua train station is in the centre of town and has connections to cities across Italy, as well as destinations in Germany, France and Switzerland. To get around the city, hop on the bus or tram or be green and use the Good Bike Padua bicycle sharing scheme.