Our last day in Italy is a bright and busy Saturday, with mild temps and a nice breeze. The town of Scorze is already bustling with morning action as everyone seems to be out. We take the bus to Padova and end the same there. Padova's historic city center seems to be mixed with regular city activity. From the pedestrian-only zones, the city trolleys, buses, cars and scooters all spill in.
We take some refuge in Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Servi. A minor tourist destination to be sure, but still a wonderful place to spend some time - with a Donatello crucifix. It's actually so much better when the crowds are so much thinner; you can be with yourself and a building and just think about things.
Without a doubt, it's a more comfortable town with plenty to see. Lots of well presented old houses and shops, and just an undemanding pace.
We make our way down to the Basilica di Sant'Antonio, an engaging, enormous old church. When we enter, there is a children's chorus singing Amazing Grace; there are services underway so we cannot take pictures. There are wonderful chapels all around, as well as the tomb of St. Anthony (there is quite a line there).
Our intended destination today is the Capella deli Scrovegni and the frescoes by Giotto. Before arriving, I imagine something like the Brancacci Chapel in Florence, but this is much bigger - and a much bigger deal. First we have to register online for an appointment time. You are asked to arrive at least five minutes before your appointment. You enter a kind of media chamber where you are "decontaminated" for fifteen minutes with about two dozen other guests. You enter the Capella, and you have fifteen minutes inside.
It is a stunner. The place is quite large, and the color and the life of the frescoes is overwhelming, as every surface is painted. You enter from the decon-cmaber at the side, but the original entry wall has the largest painting: the Last Judgement, with the damned on Jesus' left. The devil is devouring the condemned, and they are illustrated with grotesque flair.
At the other end, there is an altar and a tomb, surrounded by panels depicting scenes from the lives of Jesus and Mary. The ceiling is painted in a twilight blue, with a field of stars.
Our time in the Capella is up all too soon. We step back out into the contaminated air, and enjoy a field of Roman ruins mixed with contemporary pieces. The Civic Museum is next door, and we spend some time inside looking at their extensive collection.
We end out day shopping for souvenirs and gifts to take home, at the Palazzo Della Ragione, a very large market hall much like the Basilica Palladiana in Vicenza. But it's a bit bigger and older, and the market is lively and spills into the adjoining piazza. We head home tired and satisfied.
- week of June 11, Lisbon: 83,628 steps = 37.1 miles
- week of June 18, Porto: 116,407 steps = 52.7 miles
- week of June 25, The Veneto: 114,163 = 52.9 miles
- totals: 314,198 steps = 142.7 miles