Our final destination for the day was Florence, but we took the train to Padua first, hoping to see the Scrovengi chapel and to attend Mass at the basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua. Padua was a walled medieval city and still retains some of the character from those times, making the walk very enjoyable for us. We stopped first at the civic museum where the Scrovengi is located. Entry requires advanced tickets. Since the earliest we could get tickets were for the 1:15 pm showing, that afforded us ample time to walk the 25 minutes to the basilica for the 11:00 am Mass. Along the way we were able to stop in various churches.
It was obvious when we got to the basilica because of the throngs of people making their way to Mass. Mass was nicely done, but under an hour.
During Mass people where we walking around the basilica, and a steady line was making its way to the saints tomb. We did as well after Mass. There also was a large crowd at the relic chapel where Saint Anthony’s tongue is reserved.
We exited the basilica making our way to our appointment to see the Scrovengi chapel. We were excited to see the chapel partly because Father Tom hadn’t seen it but mostly because it is a masterpiece of art. It is a 14th century chapel built by Scrovengi as a family chapel, as a reparation for his father’s sin of usury. The frescos by Giotto that adorn its walls are considered one of the most important masterpieces of western art. Because of its age, importance and the fragility of the frescoes, entrance is limited, with persons entering an evironmentally controlled lobby before gaining entry to the chapel, and then only for 15 minutes. It was awe-inspiring to see not only the artistic merit but the theological merit as well. Afterwards we visited the galleries of Venetian paintings. Over 500 painting were given by one donor to the city in the 19th century. These are those works.
We had another two-hour ride on a high speed train to Florence. Our hotel is near the train station making it more convenient to transport bags, although we had some pains finding it due to the confusing Florentine address system.
We enjoyed a good meal in a nearby trattoria, and took a walk enjoying Florence at night.