In Roman times, when known as "Patavium", it was one of the most important towns in northern Italy. In the thirtee, of all the cities in Northern Italy, Padua is one of the most charming. Part of the reason is that there are less tourists compared to other such as Milan and Venice. This is surprising considering its richness of culture and serene atmosphere. The town itself is situated along the Bachiglione River, just 20 kilometres from Venice. Its history dates back as far as 300 BC, During the period of Roman rule it was a place of great culture and was home to a number of fine Latin writers, including Livy. Later, during the Italian renaissance, Great scholars, such as Galileo, taught at its university, which is one of Europe's oldest dating from 1222, and numerous brilliant artists, such as Donatello and Michelangelo, lived in or visited the city. For art, Padua certainly rivals any city in Italy but Rome or Florence. The frescoes in the Scrovegni chapel are the master work of Giotto, considered the founding father of Italian painting. The Basilica del Santo, a church built in the 1300's to house the remains of Saint Anthony, contains Donatello's Altar. This work is one of the three greatest ensembles of sculpture the western world has ever known. The city's botanical garden, which is about five minutes walk from the Basilica del Santo, is the oldest in the world, dating from 1545. Be sure to visit the open air market, at the Palazzo della Ragione ,and the Prato della Valle.