In Padua, St. Anthony is simple ‘Il Santo’- there is no possibility of him being confused with someone else. In his birthplace – Lisbon – the saint is identified by name, with a correction that confirms his close association with Padua: “St Anthony of Lisbon, called ‘St. Anthony of Padua’”.
In one sense, one has to accept this attempt to limit Padua’s claims: in his short 36-year life, the saint travelled widely, and spent only short periods in the Padua area. However, his presence here was accompanied by a large number of miracles.
On 13 June 1231, when he felt close to death, the saint had himself transported from Camposampiero – a town twenty kilometres north of Padua where he had for months been the guest of the local ruler – and taken to Arcella, which was on the northern outskirts of the city. Learn more about St. Anthony’s places.
Almost immediately after his death, it was proposed to build a large basilica to commemorate this already-legendary monk; the location chosen was a site close to Prato della Valle, where almost one thousand years earlier the tiny church of Santa Maria Mater Domini had been built. Over the centuries, one might even say that popular veneration for this Franciscan saint even exceeds that for St. Francis himself. This is particularly true in Latin countries – in both Europe and the Americas – where everything from streets and shops to universities and schools are named after St. Anthony of Padua.