Padua (pădˈyōə) [key], Ital. Padova, city (1991 pop. 215,137), capital of Padova prov., in Venetia, NE Italy, connected by canal with the Brenta, Adige, and Po rivers. It is an agricultural, commercial, and major industrial center and a transportation junction. Manufactures include machinery, motor vehicles, leather goods, textiles, and processed food. Called Patavium by the Romans, it was second to Rome in wealth. The city was destroyed by the Lombards in A.D. 601 but recovered quickly. Except for a 20-year period of rule by Ezzelino da Romano, Padua was from the 12th to the 14th cent. a free commune of great political and economic importance. It subdued neighboring cities and became an artistic center, where Giotto painted his masterpiece, a series of frescoes (1304–6) in the Capella degli Scrovegni. Under the rule of the munificent Carrara family (1318–1405) and under the domination of Venice (1405–1797), Padua continued to flourish. Mantegna (1431–1506), a native of Padua, produced much work there; parts of frescoes executed by him are preserved in the 13th-century Eremitani church. Other notable structures in the city include the six-domed basilica of St. Anthony (1232–1307), whose high altar is adorned with bronzes by Donatello; the bronze equestrian statue of Gattamelata (a Venetian general), also by Donatello, in the square of the basilica; the classical cathedral; and the law courts. The Univ. of Padua, the oldest in Italy after that of Bologna, was founded in 1222 by teachers and students who had fled from Bologna. Now centered in Il Bo palace, the university established the first anatomy hall (well preserved) in Europe in 1594. Galileo taught (1592–1610) at the university, and Dante, Petrarch, and Tasso were students there.
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