Sunday, November 10, 2013

I Say "Italy," You Say ...

I am currently sitting in Padova, writing a blog post about Padova as I saw it two months ago. I didn't expect to be back here - life is surreal sometimes.

As I said, this time, I'll show and talk about some of the typical Italian scenes and sights. One thing that people think of when you say "Italy": markets in the piazzas. At right is the Piazza dei Signori, with the Torre dell'Orologio at one end (more on that in a minute). This market spans 3 squares which are laid out one after the other - the Piazza dei Signori (Lords' Square), Piazza dei Frutti (Fruits Square) and Piazza delle Erbe (Herbs Square). The atmosphere is vibrant, and there are a variety of things for sale.

Mmm, veggies.
Meat and cheese shops are in a gallery next to the square.
Our hotel was not far on the other side of the arch in the tower, so I often started my morning by passing through the markets. Then in the afternoon, the booths are packed up and the area fills with tables and chairs for the bars and restaurants that surround the square.

Piazza dei Signori facing the other direction. After a short
rain shower, the tables start filling up again.

Back to the Torre dell'Orologio - on the tower is an astronomical clock that was built in the 15th century. It's a replacement for one that was from 1344. It displays the time, date, and current astrological sign. That is, unless the current sign is Libra, which is not represented. I've read a few different theories on why that is the case, but I can't tell you which one is true. It's not clear whether the original had Libra and the copy left it off for some reason, or if this is a faithful representation of the 1344 version as well. In any event, the clock has Scorpio taking up two spaces.

Another thing that comes to mind when someone mentions Italy: statues. And if you want to see statues, have I got the place for you ... Prato della Valle. Apparently, there are 78 statues in this park - I didn't count them, so I have to trust Wikipedia on that! But in any event, this spot is statue central.

How statues reproduce.

The park is a big oval surrounded by a canal, and the statues are lined up along both sides of the water. It's a terrific place for taking photos because it's got a bit of everything - in addition to the statues, there's greenery, bridges, reflections on the water, scenic buildings and churches in the background. One of the buildings you get a great view of is the Abbey of Santa Giustina - in the background of the photo at the bottom of this post. From another angle, you can see the Basilica of San Antonio, which I'm not going to talk about right now because churches will be the subject of another post (you can't throw a rock in Padua without hitting a church).

And that's it for this post! I'm guessing the next one will probably be about churches, unless something else strikes my fancy as I go through my photos.

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