Cinzia - Piazza della Frutta (Padua)
About half and hour by train, Padua was an important medieval city and the accademic center of the Venetian Republic. It's university was founded in 1222. Dante and Copernicus
studied there. Galileo taught there. But it is best known for Giotto's 13th century frescoes (which gave birth to Renaissance art) in the Scrovegni Chapel (which you can visit - 25 people at a time for 15 minutes) and for the Basilica of San Antonio
St. Anthony (the patron saint of "the lost" - lost keys, lost causes, lost anything) is perhaps the most popular saint in all of Italy. It's not for nothing so many
Italian men are called Tony.
Without too much exaggeration the order of popular veneration in Italy looks something like this:
#1. St. Anthony
#2. (Or, perhaps, #1A) Padre Pio
The Virgin Mary
In any case, the Basilica, construction of which
began almost immediately after Anthony's death in 1231, is a sprawling building whose domes and minaret-like towers bring to mind the Byzantine influence of Venice's San Marco. Works by Donatello adorn the main altar and his bronze equestrian statute
is in the courtyard.
The real attraction, of course, is the tomb of St. Anthony. Two notable things about the tomb: For a Fransican (whose founder, St. Francis, preached
voluntary poverty and simplicity) the tomb is wildly elaborate. But I guess we can't really blame Anthony for that. The other striking aspect is that is that the tomb, unlike most marble statuary, is warm to the touch. I'm not sure what to
make of that.