Il Prato Della Valle

If this image looks familiar it is because we visited Padua’s ’meadow without grass’ in June. Unfortunately, we barely had time to stop then, so this month we return, under cover of darkness, to see it at its most splendid…

Padua - Prato della Valle at night.

We visited Il Prato della Valle when we spent 48 Hours in Padua earlier this summer. Our Venetian correspondent Sara Scarpa, you will recall, was quite taken with this often-overlooked city just 25 minutes from her home town and, finding so many things to see and do in her weekend there, barely had time to enjoy Italy’s largest piazza – beyond, that is, taking the photo we published on page 45 of that issue. The view you see here is of the canal, lined with statues, that encircles the oval park, l’Isola Memmia, at the centre of the piazza. American readers, by the way, will be interested to learn that, when it comes to public parks, it’s the Europeans who do it big. Chicago’s Millennium Park is slightly larger, but there is no other park in the USA anywhere near the size, though there are several in Europe, including one in sleepy old Cambridge, England.