A glimpse into life as an Au Pair in Padova, Italy

Before completing my undergraduate degree, I knew that I had to visit Italy in some way. I have always been obsessed with Italy’s history and its culture; pictures of friends in Rome visiting the Colosseum filled me with incredible envy. Indeed it has long been a romantic dream of mine to view Italy’s arts, to speak the language and to see the likes of Venice, Florence and Rome.

I naturally feel like a complete cliché writing this…a History of Art student who wants to visit Italy and see Florence and Rome? We’ve all heard that one before. However, I am proud of myself for now having grabbed my dream with not one but both reigns. To only visit Italy was not enough, I thought. Instead, I decided to move to Italy as an au pair. In this way I could completely immerse myself in Italian society. Upon making this decision I have since found my perfect au pair family and, with little idea of what to expect, arrived in the quite obscure town of Padova on October 4th, 2014. Adesso, after three months, I am sitting in a beautiful room in my new Italian home very content; and it is at this time that I have chosen to write of my Italian adventures which began in this captivating little town.

Padova itself is very special. It is such a beautiful place and I cannot commend it more. I fully believe it is the most perfect place I could have chosen to experience life as an au pair in Italy. For me, as someone who has no experience of living abroad before, Padova is ideal. It is not a big town, but rather the perfect size; it is not too big and not too small. Its friendly atmosphere, beautiful city centre and gorgeous views have enchanted me since the beginning. Being quite an unknown town, it is rare to see tourists; this is also ideal as it forces me to practice my Italian with the locals. I have only been here three months and my Italian has improved greatly.

Above is picture of a piazza in Padova, beside the Palazzo della Ragione or the ‘Hall of Justice’. I love to cycle through places such as Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza dei Signori, and have not tired of discovering new cafes and shops with my friends each morning. I was very pleased to discover upon my arrival that there were nine other au pairs in Padova to meet. We all became very close friends but sadly some had to leave for home in December. We are glad to have met each other, and keep in contact.

One of my favourite activities is to wander through markets, so I was especially happy to have experienced Padova at Christmas time — there were so many markets to explore. The other au pairs and I spent many happy days trying new foods, buying Christmas presents and ice skating near Eremitani Church. I remember thinking how incredibly lucky I was to have met such wonderful people here to enjoy my experience with. The friends that I have made are equally as excited to be here, and as willing to explore and sight see as I am.

It is of our adventures that I shall be writing of from hereon. My blog posts shall consist mostly of stories from our weekends away, and offer an insight into places, restaurants and secrets we find in Italy. Truthfully, I had never even heard of Padova before I came here — people only reacted when I mentioned it was near Venice! And so I insist — you must visit! And when you do, you absolutely must visit the San Antonio church; I have seen many churches already in my time here and none have moved me quite as much as when I first walked into this one. You must also be sure to gaze upon Padova’s observatory tower in the sunlight; for the artists out there this is an ideal location to paint. Also, do NOT leave without trying gelato from La Romana, or without eating dinner at Pago Pago. These are a few of the absolute necessities that I have come to discover; enjoy!

Ice skating beside Eremitani Church

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