Among the most interesting - and least demanding - activities to do in Padua, there is the possibility of moving around the center along the navigable canals.
In ancient times Padua was a city within which people moved on gondolas, sandoli, burci and mascarete which gently crossed the internal canals, transporting people and goods along the waterways in a continuous succession of bridges and splendid homes. Just like Venice, Padua was entirely covered by a pleasant canal, now wisely rediscovered as a tourist and no longer functional to the city's economy. A network of ring canals leads visitors between the artistic and historical beauties of the center. Other canals connect the center to the outskirts of Padua and its natural beauty.
The navigation of the historic center provides a truly suggestive route and an unexpected perspective. Embarkation at the Porte Contarine , inspired by the Leonardo da Vinci model and a very important example of urban archeology, is planned . The Porte Contarine, built by the Venetians in 1526, served to overcome the difference in water between the different canals. The boats coming from Piovego could therefore, by opening or closing the doors, go up or down the Inner Canal.
Continue along the ancient Venetian Renaissance walls , passing from the monumental Bastione Castelnuov or with its water gate, to the Portello. Porta Portello was the ancient river port of Padua, the mooring point for all the boats that connected the city to the Venice lagoon. Porta Portello stands out with the monumental Istrian stone portal and its beautiful sixteenth-century staircase (also painted on canvas by Canaletto).
During the journey you pass the university citadel and admire the former slaughterhouse , built in the nineteenth century by Jappelli. Not far away are the Gardens of the Roman , preserving the precious Scrovegni Chapel of Giotto and a little farther on the all-important Eremitani Church with frescoes of Mantegna .