Out of any city in Italy it is Padua that holds my heart without a doubt. I lived there for a year with the two girls I came on this trip with, Annie and Livvy. I can honestly say it was one of the best years of my life so far. It had its ups and downs of course – but that’s for another post. Padua is about a three hour train journey from Varenna where Annie now lives, so we were up early!
It was really strange to be back, everything felt so familiar! The soundtrack to the visit was probably ‘omg do you remember when… *[insert funny memory here]* – it was safe to say we were pleased to be back. We wandered round the Christmas market and through the shops until we got to Prato della Valle (the largest piazza in Italy). Even on a grey day it is beautiful, with the water surrounded by statues of famous people such as Petrach and Galileo Galilei. In the summer we used to go there to meet up with friends and sunbathe. It was market day the day we visited so the square was full of people but we fought our way through to walk through the centre.
We couldn’t resist a quick visit to our old apartment, Piazza Castello. It was pretty much in the centre of Padua and had a roof terrace that gave great views (and also acted as a personal sauna in the summer – it got to about 40 degrees up there on a few occasions!)
After a quick bite to eat at one of our favourite bars I met up with some of my Italian friends who I had met when I was out here. They are the nicest family and made me feel so at home whenever I went to visit them. I hadn’t seen Giulia since I had left so it was so great to catch up with her – and also practice some of that Italian that I am steadily forgetting. I had forgotten about that oh-so-chic Italian style that they seem to effortlessly ooze and I immediately felt like I needed to go shopping to italianize my wardrobe again.
After having some traditional italian hot chocolates that are basically melted chocolate, (you have to eat them with a spoon the chocolate is so thick), we spent the rest of the afternoon eating gelato and wandering around the main piazzas that we used to hang out in. We went to the fruit and veg market – a place that had witnessed many of out attempts to try and speak some (bad) italian as we struggled with the different fruit and veg names, weights and prices (everyone knows you haven’t mastered Italian until you can hear the difference between sessanta (60) and settanta (70) spoken to you by an impatient, fast speaking vendor).
We even managed to fit in time for a quick aperitivo – aperol spritz with complimentary crisps and nibbles – WHEN will this become a thing in London???
We went back to our favourite ‘Red bar’ – inventively named by us due to it being painted red, but known to the rest of the Padua population as Il Gottino.
The day trip had definitely brought back some very happy memories and we spent most of the day giggling over these – but some Sunday exploring of Lake Como called and it was time to go.