Padua (or Padova in Italian) was the last major stop on our trip. Once again, we were greeted by enthusiastic and wonderful hosts! We began with a nighttime tour, and, as you might expect by now, rain.

Welcome to soggy Padova!

The first night there, we were treated to a tour of the battlements of the medieval and Roman walls of Padova. We visited the Padova Observatory, located atop another wall tower.

The next day, we went on a guided tour of Padova, which included the courtyard adjacent to Galileo’s classroom at the U. Padova, and of course, St. Anthony’s. 

Peace is a recurring theme on the streets here, with numerous protests focusing on the current conflict in Gaza. One of the best things about this whole trip has been the ties that bind. Everywhere, I was reminded that in general, we’re all much more alike than different. These planetarium folks in Italy are energetic, passionate, and eager to reach their audience.

On the following day, I attended the PlanIT conference, where many of Italy’s planetarium professionals gather annually to refine their craft, and learn about the latest technology. One thing I liked about this conference was that the host planetarium was running a version of my hardware and software called Dark Matter. They also feature 8K projection, and those images look sweet on their dome. I also reprised one of the activities I’ve been doing with the Italian students I’ve taught, about easy ways to explain complicated concepts. Saturday evening brought the conference banquet in a local restaurant.

One of the battlements along Padova’s outer (medieval) wall.

Another battlement, but in this case, converted to the Padova observatory.

 The Observatory is a part of the U. of Padova’s Astronomy department.

The rain is gone! This is in a small courtyard, just below Galileo’s classroom!

 “All we are saying is give peace a chance…” Much graffiti, and peace protests, suggest that many people here see us as the current version of Imperial Rome.

In the centerpiece above the main door of St. Anthony’s basilica. Note the presence of an eight-pointed star. This symbolizes the resurrection of Christ, and is seen in much of the artwork, including within the frescoes of artists like Giotto.

Outside the basilica of St. Anthony. Having an espresso in the piazza.

The altar of St. Anthony includes several bronze sculptures by Donatello.

The area called the Chapel of the Relics. Contained within, the “uncorrupted tongue”, vocal apparatus, and a fragment of the “true cross”, among many others.

 The doors of St. Anthony’s.

In Padova, the national meeting of the Italian Planetarium Association, PlanIT occurred.

One of the presenters showing the second verse of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

Another view of the basilica looking past some interesting artwork featuring dragons adorning a lamppost.

The last post will feature an overview of the trip, and a bit about the beach.


Ken Brandt directs the Robeson Planetarium and Science Center in Lumberton, NC.  He is a volunteer in NASA’s Solar System Ambassador Program. He is also a member of the 3rd cohort of NC Space Grant Ambassadors, and an Ambassador for the Mars Society.