I recently visited my friend Marta in her hometown of Padova. It was so good to reconnect roaming around the city after a couple years apart.
She met me at the train station and we walked toward the Centro di Padova and through Piazza Garibaldi.
We both felt quite out of it, so she took me to one of her favorite coffee shops Pasticceria Nova. It was down an alley off the Centro di Padova. I love that in Italy there are so many hidden food and coffee spots to be stumbled upon in the winding alleys thought out the city. Per usual, I got a cappuccino, and per Italian usual, she got a caffè (espresso).
Afterward we walked into the next piazza Piazza dei Signori in the Centro di Padova and got gelato at Grom. It’s a chain in Italy, so if you see one in a city you visit, definitely go.
The usual this trip is the salted caramel gelato, but their affogatos are great as well. I have yet to find anything in America that’s as good as an Italian affogato, so take advantage of grabbing a few on your next trip to Italy.
Then walking out of that alley we found ourselves on the main shopping road. We tend to go to H&M or Pull and Bear, but this time we went to a new shop for me Stradivarius. Me and Marta love hippy (or as we tend to say “gypsy”) items, so we impulse bought such items: I some sunglasses and her a headband.
She then took me to my favorite park Prato della Valle. It’s a circular park surrounded by a mote and white statues, and of course Italian cathedrals and buildings.
The next day, while Marta had a family event that came up, I had some time to find my way into the center again. I came into the piazza we walked through the day before on the way to the Jewish Ghetto, but this time a huge market pop up. And it covered all the piazzas in the center.
I was really hit by the Italian culture. This experience didn’t feel so normal as most of my trip has, and I’m not even sure why. Maybe it was the huge crowds of Italians, or the Vespas riding by, or just walking upon this Italian market in a piazza surrounded by Italian architecture. It all felt so good though.
I found my way to one of the other piazzas, this one filled with the fashion, purses and jewelry markets. Surrounding the whole piazza were coffeeshops and people sitting outside having their morning caffè, so I joined in the tradition and grabbed a cappuccino at BREDA.
By noon I met up with Marta to head to Venice. On the way to the train station, we realized we were running too late for the train and had an hour to spare until the next one. So we stopped for coffee at this shop I thought was cute and wanted to try: Balentes Cafe.
We met the owner Maurizio. He spoke English and had lived in LA for 7 years, so it was really nice to meet and chat with him.