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Padua: brief historical notes

Padua is certainly the most lively economic and cultural centre of the north-east, offering visitors a remarkable historical and artistic heritage.

In the Aeneid Virgil tells the deeds of the Trojan leader Antenor, who survived the destruction of his city and sailed for many days moved by the desire of founding a new one. Once he landed at the Venetian coasts, he set out until he found the ideal place to lay the foundation stone of the present city of Padua.
Apart from the legend and according to several archaeological finds and in-depth studies carried out on the first settlements of the Paleovenetians, it is likely that the city was even founded before Rome.

However the solid alliance with the Roman Empire, started already in the III century B.C., grew stronger becaming later a Municipium thanks also to several lines of communication. In fact they allowed even then to get easily from Patavium to all the most important centres of the time, but the most important ones were the Annia Way, connecting Adria to Aquileia, and the Aurelia Way and some of them can be travelled over even today.

Unfortunately the barbarian invasions cancelled many remains of the ancient deeds and the city went through hard times and lived in a sort of anonimity until the XIII century, when it became a free town with the famous university (founded in 1222).

Then for almost a century the city, led by the Carraresi, flourished again and became the "cradle of the arts", as W. Shakespeare defined it later setting here the comedy entitled "The Taming of the Shrew".

Then the desire of supremacy of the Most Serene Republic of Venice, roused by the growing importance of Padua that was going to obscure its prestige, took to the very bloody capture of the city, to the wipe-out of the Carraresi and to the destruction of all their properties and of what they commissioned, preventing the city to develop still further. Despite all that the invaders contributed to the cultural and monumental improvement of the city, in particular thanks to the university that attracted renowned personalities such as Galileo Galilei.

Following the Napoleonic conquer and the surrender to Austria the city became part of the Habsburg Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia, but rose up against it on February 8th 1848.

After the annexation to the Kingdom of Italy in 1866 and during the First World War Padua became the headquarter of the Italian armed forces and the events occurred at that time were always strongly connected with the destiny of the Great War. In 1918 Gabriele D'Annunzio arranged and performed the enterprise of the Flight over Vienna and his base was a military airport south to Padua close to a castle that now is the seat of the "Air Museum". On November 3rd 1918 in the afternoon in Villa Giusti in Padua the armistice between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Kingdom of Italy was signed, ratifying actually the end of the world war.

During the Second World War the city, as road and railway junction, was bombed many times, but thanks to the university it always remained an especially active centre of the Resistance.

The city kept on developing and now it is very active and dynamic, with a long history told with pride and able to offer monuments and unique views such as the large pedestrian area, called " the Listòn" that is the true city centre.

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