8:30 AM: BREAKFAST
We started the day with a typical Italian breakfast of cherry tomatoes, cheese, bread, fruits and juice.
It took a while to get used to the cold Italian breakfast buffet with no rice options. The cappuccino, though, was great for breakfast.
We stayed in Hotel Al Tezzon in Camposampiero, Padova, which is located in the center of the Veneto region -- a good home base for our Northern Italy tour.
It took about 30-45 mins to reach St. Anthony Basilica.
10:30 AM: PRATO DELLA VALLE
Prato della Valle in Padova is the largest square in Italy (a 90,000-sqm elliptical square) and second largest in Europe, next to the Red Square of Moscow.
It is surrounded by two rings of statues (78 in total) of Popes and prominent people of Padova.
It has a green island at the center called l'Isola Memmia and a fountain at its core.
We were lucky to have Wilma Barbieri (+39 338-836 0185) as our guide in Padova.
She gets our vote as the best cultural and heritage guide throughout our Northern Italy Trip!
A relaxing view of the canal, with four bridges connecting the island.
Here's a statue of Galileo Galilei in #36 Statue on Prato della Valle.
When we arrived on a Monday, there was a morning market on one side of the square.
It was interesting to see a salted meat and cheese food truck with its sides opening to provide a canopy for customers.
Here's a closer look at the different cheeses and cured meats available.
From a short distance, you can already see the facade of St. Anthony Basilica from Prato della Valle.
There's a modern train that passes through the roads to the city center of Padova.
Many shops are still closed; most of them open late in the morning.
Wilma said that Padova had a lot of canals before, like Venice. Here is one of the last remaining ones that were not covered.
According to Wilma, St. Anthony is a beloved saint not only by Christians but also by our brothers from other religions. She shared interesting stories about the miracles that St. Anthony performed.
11:00 AM: ST. ANTHONY BASILICA
Welcome to the Pontifical Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua, locally known as Il Santo (The Saint)! This is the front view as you approach it from the square.
It has eight domes, two twin bell-towers and two miniature minarets. It occupies an area that is 115 meters long, 55 meters wide, and has a height of 38.5 meters.
Wilma pointing out The Chapel of St. Anthony, where his tomb lies.
The view of the facade, up close and personal.
Here's a view of the Basilica from the Magnolia Cloister.
Here's the mass and service schedule at the Basilica:
Strictly no photography is allowed inside the church so that you won't disturb other pilgrims.
Here are scanned pages from the St. Anthony's Basilica Guide to the Basilica book featuring my favorite places inside the church:
The Chapel of the Saint is the most beautiful and spiritual center of the Basilica, which houses the Altar and Tomb of St. Anthony.
Many people solemnly pray here, touching the Saint's tomb, asking for his intercession. You can sense the different vibe and power in this section.
There's a prayer wall with petitions to find missing persons and other lost articles.
The Treasury Chapel is the chapel of precious, first-class relics from St. Anthony and other saints, and other holy artifacts like the fragment of the True Cross.
This is where you can see the well-preserved Chin and Tongue of the saints.
Here's a beautiful photo of a mass held in the Basilica.
12:00PM: AROUND PADOVA CITY CENTER
After going around the Basilica, we decided to have lunch before the special English Mass at the St. Anthony Basilica for our group.
I love the youthful university vibe of Padua.
The city features nice installation art like this wall entitled: "Opera di Jannis Kounellis - 1995"
There are also many different cured meat and cheese shops around the city center.
Don't forget to try the local cheese!
In the main plazas, you'll see different food and non-food stalls featuring the local products.
Here's a closer look at the stalls.
The birds flying around the plaza add a nice, romantic touch to the outdoor experience.
1:00 PM: LUNCH: ISOLA DI CAPRERA
We had lunch at Ristorante Isola di Caprera located in Via Marsilio da Padova, 15, 35139, Padova (+63 048 876-0244).
It has a homey, casual, family-dining vibe.
It was pleasurable (and cheap) to drink wine with every meal.
Our lunch was a set menu of: Pasticcio pasta alla Veneta way, Pennette pasta al radicchio salad, and Veal Piccatina alla Veneta with potatoes and vegetables.
After we finished eating our main meal, they rolled in the dessert cart (which usually has the cake of the day and seasonal fruits).
The food and desserts here were pretty good.
We had time to shop around the city center before going back to St. Anthony Basilica.
3.00PM: ENGLISH MASS @ ST. ANTHONY BASILICA
This is the photogenic side of the church, with Donatello's bronze statue of Erasmus Gattamelata of Narni in the foreground.
Make sure to take a souvenir photo at this angle. (Photo above of Paolo and Ria Francisco-Prieto.)
We had a beautiful and private English mass, officiated by visiting priest Padre Pasquale.
(Tip: Make sure to schedule your own private English mass when you visit St. Anthony Basilica.
Call +39 049-824 2890 or via the office +39 049 822 5652.)
We visited the Messaggero Di S. Antonio for souvenir items and pasalubong for our family and friends.
Make sure to buy the Life of Saint Anthony by Vergilio Gamboso to get to know more about the saint's personality, the miracles he performed, and his life story.
You can buy these small icons to protect you when you travel.
The pocket prayer card with a third class relic (linen that touches the blessed Tongue of St. Anthony) is a good pasalubong from the pilgrimage.
You can also buy various types of homeopathy medicines.
Tip: The religous articles of St. Anthony are cheaper when you buy them ouside in the different stalls surrounding the basilica.
Here's the view of the golden brown facade as the sun is about to set.
We played with the pigeons in the plaza and took our last souvenir pics to end our trip at the Basilica.
4:30 PM: BASILICA DI ST. GIUSTINA
Before going home, we decided to visit and pray at BASILICA DI ST. GIUSTINA.
Basilica di Santa Giustina is dedicated to the patron saint of Padua (Oct. 7 is the feast day), and houses the mortal remains of the evangelist Luke.
It has relatively less crowds. Here's an inside look at the altar.
7:30 PM: DINNER: AL TEZZON RISTORANTE
We headed back to our hotel and had dinner at our favorite Italian resto during the trip -- Ristorante Al Tezzon.
Having the roasted artichoke, polenta and different vegetables was a great way to start our evening meal.
They also served select cold cuts...
...and cured meats as appetizers.
First course was homemade pasta with simple ingredients like tomato and a little bit of sauce.
Second course was a choice of meat (in this case, duck).
And dessert was a special box of Villa del Conte chocolates, locally made in Padova. A fitting end to our pilgrimage adventure!
St. Anthony of Padua Prayer
Almighty God, merciful Father. You have chosen St. Anthony as an outstanding preacher of the Gospel and messenger of peace.
Through his intercession, hear our prayers. Sanctify every family, help its members to grow in faith and strengthen the bonds of unity, peace and serenity.
Bless the children and protect the young. Sustain us in all our daily labours with your unending love.
Bless the readers of Our Awesome Planet, so that they live a truly awesome life with their family and friends each day. Please protect them from evil and keep them safe when they travel.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
PPFMC Messaggero di S.Antonio Editrice
Via Orto Botanico 11 - 35123 Padova - Italy
Telephone: +39 049 822 5652
Read this --> Pilgrim Reception at the Basilica
7-Day Culinary, Cultural & Pilgrimage Tour of Northern Italy Series:
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Full Disclosure: The 7-Day Culinary, Cultural & Pilgrimage Tour of Northern Italy is in partnership with Villa Del Conte Chocolates and Thai Airways. I wrote this blog post myself, and it expresses my own opinions. We only blog about our awesome food and travel experiences.
P.S. Happy Fiesta to all the St. Anthony Parishes here in the Philippines!
We would usually go to Sanctuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park Makati to celebrate his feast day and to pray for special intercession to him.
On the feast day, the parish traditionally blesses pandesal to be shared with the mass-goers. Happy Fiesta!