... or, as we Italians call it, Padova.

Padua was the first city I visited, and it was an excellent introduction to the country.

It's pretty much impossible to take a bad picture in Italy.

Each city in Italy has a main square, called a piazza. In Padua, the piazza isn't a square at all, but an oval. It's surrounded by a little moat, and all along the moat, there are statues of famous scholars and professors who taught at the university.

I walked around the piazza and looked at the statues. This one gave me pause ...

until I realized the guy was sculpting and was not, in fact, in the process of decapitating someone.

The statues are pretty old and worn, but I think their age makes them more beautiful.

This one made me laugh ...

because that is one hardcore priest with his little bookholder.

The big sightseeing destination in Padua is St. Anthony's Basilica.

(under construction, as most of them are)

Like most of the ancient churches in Europe, St. Anthony's is still functional, and there was a service being conducted as we entered. Because it is a holy place, we weren't allowed to take pictures.

I'm not Catholic, so I don't really understand the layout of these huge churches, though I can certainly appreciate their beauty and history. What I especially liked about St. Anthony's was the Treasury Chapel, where they keep the relics. [scroll down]

Let me just say this: you have not lived a full and satisfied life until you've seen a saint's tongue and vocal cords. TONGUE AND VOCAL CORDS!!! This made my day.

In Italy, you often have to pay to go to the bathroom. I KNOW. And me with my tiny bladder! But the church lets you go for free, so I sure took advantage of that. And I totally almost got locked in the bathroom stall. I ... am special.

Before I left, I hit the gift shop, where I caught this little number:

You probably heard my gasp in America.

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