Notes from Italy – Part 2 – Tour of Padova

June 24, 2010

Ciao a tutti!

Today we had our tour of Padova. We met in the town square at 9:00am and from there walked to City Hall.  c.h. came and was feeling better at first, but the Nutella she ate for breakfast made her stomach feel queasy again, so we took her back home on our way to City Hall.

At City Hall we met up with three guides about my age (25) who led us on a tour. We met someone they called an assessor – I think he is a city councilman. He talked to us about youth programs in Padova. After that we toured other parts of City Hall – the council chambers, meeting rooms, and a very large hall that fits thousands of people and used to be used as the city court. Overall the tour of City Hall was a little difficult for the delegates because every few sentences one of the Italian guides with us had to translate what was being said, and it got a bit tricky to follow. I tried to help but my understanding of Italian is limited.

Then we visited the University of Padova, which is the second oldest university in the world. Galileo taught there for many years. Today was graduation day and several doctoral students had just received their degrees. They have a tradition of dressing up in weird costumes, singing, drinking, and making a general spectacle of themselves in the streets in front of family and friends, to celebrate. At the university, our guide spoke excellent English and I think it was much more interesting for the delegates – we got to see where medical students used to observe the dissection of corpses!

Next was lunch (followed by delicious gelato!) and then we went to view the Scrovegni Chapel, with paintings by a famous Italian painter named Giotto. They were really old frescoes inside a chapel. They are very strict about the environment inside the chapel, so visitors have to wait in a special room for 15 minutes before going in, to stabilize the microclimate inside the chapel. They don’t let you in if you are late. You only get 15 minutes inside the chapel to view the paintings, to limit the amount that people breathe on the frescoes!

s.l. wasn’t feeling well, so I waited outside for him and neither he nor I wound up going in, but the rest of the delegates said the paintings were pretty cool. Graziano was super bummed that I missed out on this, so he is going to take me back later.

That concluded the tour, so the delegates headed home to rest. I stopped by to see c.h., and having slept all morning, she was feeling really good, and said she would be ok to go with us tomorrow. The delegates had plans to meet up at v.a.’s house and watch the Italy vs Slovakia World Cup match on TV, and then have pizza.

Tomorrow we are going swimming at a little water park here in Padova. I think that everyone will be feeling better, so we should have a lot of fun.

Overall, the interchange is going well. The delegates are communicating with each other more – the girls were bonding over planning a shopping trip, and the boys seem to like talking about sports. We have mini-camp starting Saturday, and I think after that we will have a really great group dynamic.

I took a lot of pictures today, many courtesy of the delegates, who borrowed my camera and took pictures of each other!

Have an awesome day, and I’ll send another update tomorrow.


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