Padua ( PAD-ew-ə; Italian: Padova [ˈpaːdova] (listen); Venetian: Pàdova) is a city and comune in Veneto, northern Italy. Padua is on the river Bacchiglione, west of Venice. It is the capital of the province of Padua. It is also the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua's population is 214,000 (as of 2011). The city is sometimes included, with Venice (Italian Venezia) and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (PATREVE) which has a population of around 2,600,000.
Padua stands on the Bacchiglione River, 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Venice and 29 km (18 miles) southeast of Vicenza. The Brenta River, which once ran through the city, still touches the northern districts. Its agricultural setting is the Venetian Plain (Pianura Veneta). To the city's south west lies the Euganaean Hills, praised by Lucan and Martial, Petrarch, Ugo Foscolo, and Shelley.
Padua appears twice in the UNESCO World Heritage List: for its Botanical Garden, the most ancient of the world, and the 14th-century Frescoes, situated in different buildings of the city centre. An example is the Scrovegni Chapel painted by Giotto at the beginning of 1300.
The city is picturesque, with a dense network of arcaded streets opening into large communal piazze, and many bridges crossing the various branches of the Bacchiglione, which once surrounded the ancient walls like a moat.
Saint Anthony, the patron saint of the city, was a Portuguese Franciscan who spent part of his life in the city and died there in 1231.
The city hosts the famous University of Padua, that was founded in 1222 when a group of students and professors decided to leave the University of Bologna to have more freedom of expression. At the University of Padua, Galileo Galilei was a lecturer between 1592 and 1610.
Padua is the setting for most of the action in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. There is a play by the Irish writer Oscar Wilde entitled The Duchess of Padua.
It is also known as "the city of the three withouts" by its inhabitants as it homes the Cafe without doors (Pedrocchi Café, as it never closed in the past), the meadow without grass (Prato della Valle, in ancient time a bog, now one of the biggest squares in Europe) and the Saint without a name (referred to St. Anthony's Church, called by the Paduani simply "the Saint")