Seeing how fond I am of this saint, you can imagine that I wouldn’t pass on the chance of visiting his hometown in Padua (or Padova, in Italian). The fact that it is only 30 minutes away by train from Venice only made it that much more attractive to us.
A common misconception, and something that I only found out during this trip, is to think that St. Anthony hails from Padua, Italy; he was actually born in Lisbon to a very wealthy family. That said, he spent majority of his life, ministry, and eventually died in Padua hence earning him the honor of having the name of the town attached to his name.
That morning we made our way to Santa Lucia to hop on a train that will take us to Padua. Our hope was to spend the day sightseeing the town and head back to spend the evening in Venice. It should have been simple (this statement seems to be the pattern of our times in Venice), except we hopped on the wrong train – a fact we didn’t realize until we were an hour into our train ride. We were told the train will eventually take us to Padua, but it will take much longer as it meandered its way through the Italian suburbs. We were also told that it would be best for us to get down and catch a different train that will take us directly to the town.
Because we had the Eurail Pass (best.thing.ever), it didn’t matter how many times we get on and off the train. After all, it entitled us a full day of train travels, giving us the liberty to get on and off whenever we wish.
We got off to a tiny train station at a city called Castelfranco. There were a number of closed shops, an open gelateria, and a small, hole-in-the-wall take-out kebab store down the road.
Considering the lack of options we had, we ordered kebabs and enjoyed them on the curb outside the store. Satisfied with the greasy fare, we went into the gelateria and got ourselves desserts to cap off the meal.
Maybe it was my hunger speaking, but that was one of the best meals I have ever had.
We eventually got to Padua and started exploring the town. Along with the well-known Saint, Padua is also famous for its 800-year-old and very prestigious University of Padua, boasting Galileo Galilei as one of its lecturers at one time.