Padua (Italian: Padova), a commune (city) and the capital of Padua Province, in a fertile area of northeastern Italy. Padua is a railway and road center 22 miles (35 km) west of Venice, between the Brenta and Bacchiglione rivers. Textiles, food products, machinery, automobiles, motorcycles, aluminum products, furniture, and chemicals are made in Padua.
Arcaded streets add to the charm of this ancient city. The multiple-domed basilica of Sant'Antonio was begun in 1232. Just outside is Donatello's Gattamelata—the first large bronze equestrian statue made in Renaissance Europe. In the Arena Chapel (1303) are frescoes by Giotto. The University of Padua, founded as a law school in 1222, gained fame in medicine and in Renaissance thought. Its professors included Vesalius and Galileo; its students, Copernicus and William Harvey. Padua has the oldest botanic garden in Europe, dating from 1545.
Padua prospered in Roman times, when it was called Patavium. It was captured by the Lombards in 601 A.D. The city was an important member of the Lombard League and continued to flourish under Venetian rule (1405–1797). It was heavily bombed in World War II.
Population: 212, 542.