Padua Day #2 WOW!

Trip Start Jan 04, 2007
Trip End Jan 23, 2007

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Today we got up a little early for are appointment at the Botanical Gardens of the University of Padua. It was built in the 1550's and its primary purpose was to provide the students of medicine a practical garden of herbs and spices from around the world that would enable them to use natural ingrediants to cure remedies. Of course, it also had its political motivations considering the fact that Padua was under Venetian control and the Venetians used it as a place to keep thousands of plants from all over their empire, in effect, a show off garden from everywhere they had been. Next we proceeded to the Scroregni Chapel which again, was covered from floor to ceiling with murals by Giotto. The Chapel had a very interesting story, the son of a very rich Paduan usurer built it after Dante wrote in the "Inferno" that his father was at the head of hell because of his usury. So his son built this chapel in hopes for springing his father's soul from hell, as well as helping his and the rest of the families. It was attached to their ancestral home, but unfortunately it had been destroyed in WW2 bombing of the area. Btw, did I mention that this chapel was built on an ancient Roman Arena? And some of the columns were still intact? Yea WOW!
Next we went for our formal tour of the University of Padua, which was way cool. First off we started in the courtyard which was built in the 13th century by students so that they had a place to study. Then we moved through some of the corridors, one in which idolized an italian women who in the 14th century was the first in the world to receive a degree! Next we moved into a room in which my teacher nearly started crying.. haha what a freak, it was cool though. Galileo was a really short guy, and so the standard podium didnt exactly serve his students purposes, so they built him a giant lecturn in which is still preserved in a room outside of the one he taught in. We then moved into the Great Hall where Galileo held class and now houses all the famous coats of arms of Europe who attended the University of Padua. Hrm, guess who was next to Galileo.. hrm none other than Nicolas Copernicus.. Coincidence? Well, we then moved into the oldest anatomical theatre in the world, yes you heard me, anatomical theatre, the first place in the world where doctors actually dissected human cadavers... Very cool. Finally, we went to the Basilica of St. Anthony, which I have to say was the biggest and most impressive church I have ever seen in my life. It had more than 10 seperate chapels attached to it, and as we entered, they were celebrating mass in Italian, which of course meant I had to record the beautiful monks singing in italian during the mass! (Got that for you Mommy) Well needless to say, its dedicated to St. Anthony, because thats where his body is.. So yea, I said a prayer to everyone over the body of St. Anthony, which is in a tremendous tomb, your even allowed to go up and touch his tomb, very intense. Oh yea, did I mention that the main altar in the Cathedral was sculpted over 10 years by Donatello? Yea and they kicked ass as well. It had to be one of the most unique and mystical churches Ive ever seen as well. After than and a few of us had confession from an English speaking Italian priest (yea that was righteous), Don decided to take our small group to the oldest cafe in the world.. They started serving coffee in 1831.. way older than Starbucks. Well he told us to order hot chocolate because it would "change our life", so we did and got our hot chocolate, and yea it was just chocolate... they melt their homemade milk chocolate and mix it with whipped cream.. so yea delicious. After that I went with a few people to a small Trattoria (family restaurant) and split some amazing funghi (mushroom) pizza with my friend for 5 euro! Oh yea, doing it up big and cheap! Eventful day, leaving early tomorrow morning for Venice!
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