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La Specola Observatory

Visit the observatory where 18th-century astronomers began to unlock the secrets of the skies from a tower built atop the oldest part of the Castle of Padova.

La Specola Astronomic Observatory brings together 250 years of astronomical discovery in Padova. Explore two museum halls that chronicle the history of astronomy in Padua and Europe from the 18th century onward. The observatory tower is a landmark in the skyline, marking Padova’s medieval city limits.

Enter the lower level of the observation tower to get an understanding of La Specola’s past. Browse the exhibits in the Meridian Hall and learn about the history of astronomy in the city. In 1761, Venetian governors announced that an astronomical observatory would be established in Padova in a bid to expand upon the ideas explored by Galileo 150 years earlier. The abbot and professor Toaldo and the architect Domenico Cerato created a remarkable observation tower, which extended from the highest tower of the old Castle of Padova. Watch a 1-hour lecture about the tower’s fascinating history and learn about the significance of Galileo’s discoveries, which were made more than a century before this tower was built.

Make your way up the 115-foot (35-meter) tower to reach the upper observatory and the Hall of Figures. Discover a superb collection of antique astronomical observation equipment, including English-made instruments from the 18th century, telescopes from Germany and Austria and meteorological equipment. Examine a collection of instruments devised by the astronomical observatory’s in-house technicians.

From the upper observatory, enjoy one of the city’s finest views. Look out across Padova’s historic center. Note the old city walls, basilica spires and monumental palazzos. Imagine how the area would have appeared to the city’s medieval rulers, who surveyed the city limits from the observatory’s original Torlonga (old tower).

La Specola Astronomic Observatory is located within the Castle of Padua complex, but can be accessed from the street. Reach the historic observatory by bus or make the 15-minute journey from the historic center on foot. There is an admission fee to enter the museum and observation tower. Discounts are available for students, seniors and children. The museum is open daily, except Mondays, the Christmas holiday period, January 1 and May 1.


Guide to Exploring La Specola Observatory


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Hotel Casa del Pellegrino £58
Hotel Casa del Pellegrino

Hotel Casa del Pellegrino

Via Melchiorre Cesarotti 21, Padova, PD
     
    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in the heart of Padova, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Museo Antoniano and University of Padova. Pedrocchi Cafe and Church of the Eremitani are also within 15 minutes. Padova Station is 24 minutes by foot.

    Hotel M14 £52
    Hotel M14

    Hotel M14

    Via Acquette 9, Padova, PD
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Historic Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Museo del Precinema, University of Padova and Pedrocchi Cafe. Church of the Eremitani and Giardini dell'Arena are also within 1 mile (2 km). Padova Station is 27 minutes by foot.

      Best Western Plus Hotel Galileo Padova £61
      Best Western Plus Hotel Galileo Padova

      Best Western Plus Hotel Galileo Padova

      Via Venezia 30, Padova, PD
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in Padova, this spa hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Padova Trade Fair, Giardini dell'Arena and Scrovegni Chapel. Church of the Eremitani and Pedrocchi Cafe are also within 1 mile (2 km). Padova Station is 19 minutes by foot.

        Hotel Grand'Italia £76
        Hotel Grand'Italia

        Hotel Grand'Italia

        Corso Del Popolo 81, Padova, PD
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in the heart of Padova, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Giardini dell'Arena, Scrovegni Chapel and Church of the Eremitani. Pedrocchi Cafe and University of Padova are also within 15 minutes. Padova Station is only a 2-minute walk.

          Hotel Belludi 37 £126
          Hotel Belludi 37

          Hotel Belludi 37

          Via Luca Belludi 37, Padova, PD
             
            2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Historic Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Oratory of San Giorgio, University of Padova and Pedrocchi Cafe. Church of the Eremitani and Scrovegni Chapel are also within 1 mile (2 km). Padova Station is 24 minutes by foot.

            NH Padova £72
            NH Padova

            NH Padova

            Via N. Tommaseo, 61, Padova, PD
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in the heart of Padova, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Clock Tower and Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua. Padova Station is 14 minutes by foot.

              Hotel Europa £75
              Hotel Europa

              Hotel Europa

              Largo Europa 9, Padova, PD
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Historic Centre, this hotel is steps away from Zuckermann Palace, Church of the Eremitani and Scrovegni Chapel. Giardini dell'Arena and Pedrocchi Cafe are also within 10 minutes. Padova Station is 10 minutes by foot.

                Methis Hotel & Spa £97
                Methis Hotel & Spa

                Methis Hotel & Spa

                Riviera Paleocapa 70, Padova, PD
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Historic Centre, this spa hotel is within a 15-minute walk of La Specola Observatory and University of Padova. Pedrocchi Cafe and Church of the Eremitani are also within 1 mile (2 km). Padova Station is 30 minutes by foot.