An essential guidebook to the region. An amazing resource for anyone traveling in the area. I highly recommend using this book as a reference tool. -- S. Johnson, Amazon reviewer.Italy's northernmost zone, the Veneto includes Padua, Verona, Vicenza, plus Venice itself, which once ruled the area. Some 5,000 Renaissance villas still stand, many by Palladio. A food- and wine-lover's paradise, it's also the most artistically rich region in Italy, and the most romantic, with the art of Giotto and Mantegna in Padua, the Roman ruins in Verona, the canals and palaces in Venice itself. Bellini, Tintoretto, Veronese and Titian worked here. Experience their art and be part of their world, with the insights of an insider. Every detail is here about the foods, the sights, the best places to stay and eat.Situated where the Brenta and the Bacchiglione Rivers converge, Padua was founded as a fisherman's village in the fourth century BC. Later, during the Roman period, Patavium (as it was then known) was allied to the Romans against the Gauls and was one of the Roman Empire's most prosperous towns. The 13th century gave birth to a university town that would become a burgeoning center of education and art in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, marked by luminaries such as Galileo, Dante, Giotto and Donatello. By the 16th century, the Serene Republic of Venice took Padua under its control. It later came under Napoleon's control, followed by that of Austrians.Long considered one of Italy's golden cities of art, this frescoed town exhibits many impressive works by great medieval and Renaissance artists and today is a spirited cultural center animated by university students, intellectuals, artists and travelers. Saint Anthony, associated with Padua for his 13th-century works and the subsequent construction of a basilica in his honor, is the patron saint of lost and found objects. His feast day is June 13th.Prato della Valle, said to be one of Europe's largest piazzas, was a swampland until Andrea Memmo had it redesigned and transformed into a commercial center in 1767. The prato (field), a large grassy island surrounded by a canal, has four stone bridges connecting it to the surrounding square and 78 statues honoring great Paduan citizens. Today this pedestrian zone is the site of markets, concerts, sports and cultural events and is a popular spot to bask in the sun, read a book, skate or relax. Basilica di Santa Giustina (Prato della Valle, tel. 049-8751628; summer 7:30 am-noon and 3-8 pm; winter 8 am-noon and 3-5 pm). The eight cupolas of the Basilica di Santa Giustina, a structure rebuilt by Benedictine friars in the 16th century, dominate the south side of the Prato della Valle. Among the finest works of art contained in the basilica is Veronese's altarpiece from 1575 representing the Martyrdom of Santa Giustina. Orto Botanico (Via Orto Botanico 15, tel. 049-8272119; Apr-Oct, 9 am-1 pm, 3-6 pm; Nov-Mar, 9 am-1 pm; This serene Renaissance garden, established in 1545 by the University of Padua's faculty of medicine, is considered the oldest university garden in the world and exhibits a fascinating collection of plants from around the globe. The oldest plant in the garden, a palm from 1585 commonly referred to as the Goethe palm after the German writer, is enclosed in a glass house in the circular garden where two other plants from the 1700s, a ginkgo and a magnolia, are also found. Basilica di Sant'Antonio (Piazza del Santo, tel. 049-8789722, www.basilicadelsanto.org). This -Romanesque-Gothic basilica honors Friar Anthony from Lisbon, who died outside Padua in 1231 and was later beatified. Construction on the basilica, with its eight Byzantine inspired domes, began shortly after his death and was completed in the early 14th century. One of Italy's largest pilgrim shrines, drawing millions of pilgrims each year, it contains Saint Anthony's marble tomb in the Cappella di Sant'Antonio, along with many votive offerings by people who have attributed restored health to il Santo, as he's commonly referred to. These useful guides are highly recommended... Library Journal. This signature Hunter series targets travelers eager to explore the destination. Extensively researched and offering the very latest information, Adventure Guides are written by knowledgeable, experienced authors. The focus is on outdoor activities - hiking, biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, downhill skiing, parasailing, scuba diving, backpacking, and waterskiing, among others - and these user-friendly books provide all the details you need, including prices. The best local outfitters are listed, along with contact numbers, addresses and recommendations. A comprehensive introductory section provides background on history, geography, climate, culture, when to go, transportation and planning. These very readable guides then take a region-by-region approach, plunging into the very heart of each area and the adventures offered, giving a full range of accommodations, shopping, restaurants for every budget, and festivals. All books have town and regional maps.