The Basilica Pontificia di Sant’Antonio di Padova, or Pontifical Basilica of Saint Anthony, is not Padova’s main church, that honor falls to the Duomo, also called the Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Mary of Padua. But Saint Anthony is the top church to visit and a pilgrimage destination. Construction began around 1232, a year after the death of Sant’Antonio and his relics are housed in the baroque Treasury Chapel. The basilica is often simply called Il Santo (the Saint).
The main structure of the Basilica is Romanesque but the interior is Gothic style. Inside are 9 chapels including the beautiful 16th century Chapel of Saint Anthony, the 17th century Chapel of Relics, and the Chapel of the Black Madonna, the remains of the original church where Saint Anthony worshiped that’s covered with 13th–14th century frescoes.
In the multimedia exhibition you can learn about the life of Saint Anthony and the continuation of his work today. There are two cloisters to visit in the complex and two museums, the Anthonian Museum, with a display of historic objects and art, and the Museum of Devotion (both closed on Mondays).
Notes: Proper dress is required to enter the church – no shorts or sleeveless tops. The Feast Day of Saint Anthony is June 13 and there are usually special events.