Padua is a cultural and economic centre in the North East of Italy. Southeast of Vicenza, the Brenta River runs to the north of the historic city centre. Porta Altinate, the medieval Altinate Gate (1286), in Garibaldi Square, is one of the three gates left of the older circle of walls, short tracts of which are still visible in various spots of the Ponti Romani and Tito Livio Rivieras. To the city’s south west lie the Euganaean Hills, mentioned by Lucan and Martial, Petrarch, Ugo Foscolo, and Shelley. In William Shakespeare's play The Taming of the Shrew, Lucentio leaves his home in Pisa to go to the university in Padua (although he is a gentleman of Verona):
Tranio, since for the great desire I had
To see fair Padua, nursery of arts,
I am arrived for fruitful Lombardy,
The pleasant garden of great Italy;
And by my father's love and leave am arm'd
With his good will and thy good company,
My trusty servant, well approved in all,
Here let us breathe and haply institute
A course of learning and ingenious studies.
Pisa renown'd for grave citizens
Gave me my being and my father first,
A merchant of great traffic through the world,
Vincetino come of Bentivolii.
Vincetino's son brought up in Florence
It shall become to serve all hopes conceived,
To deck his fortune with his virtuous deeds:
And therefore, Tranio, for the time I study,
Virtue and that part of philosophy
Will I apply that treats of happiness
By virtue specially to be achieved.
Tell me thy mind; for I have Pisa left
And am to Padua come, as he that leaves
A shallow plash to plunge him in the deep
And with satiety seeks to quench his thirst.
The Taming of the Shrew 1.1.
The Winged Lion of St. Mark
The lion, the evangelical symbol of St. Mark, was adopted as mascot of the Republic of Venice. A stone lion on a plinth dominates the main square.
- 1222 - First records of a fixed and publicly recognised university established within the city, the second oldest in Italy (after Bologna).
- 1523 - construction of city walls initiated by Bartolomeo Liviano d'Alviano, captain general of the Serenissima Republic, the work was continued by Michele Sanmicheli, and was completed by 1544.
- 1592 - Galileo Galilei left Pisa to become mathematics professor at the University of Padua, in the Republic of Venice, a position he held until 1610. During this time he worked on a variety of experiments, including the speed at which different objects fall, mechanics and pendulums.
- 1761 - Foundation of Astronomical Observatory (completed 1777).