Padua has long been famous for its university, founded in 1222. Under the rule of Venice the university was governed by a board of three patricians, called the Riformatori dello Studio di Padova. The list of professors and alumni is long and illustrious, containing, among others, the names of Bembo, Sperone Speroni, the anatomist Vesalius, Copernicus, Fallopius, Fabrizio d'Acquapendente, Galileo Galilei, William Harvey, Pietro Pomponazzi, Reginald, later Cardinal Pole, Scaliger, Tasso and Sobieski. It is also where, in 1678, Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia became the first woman in the world to graduate. The university hosts the oldest anatomy theatre, built in 1594.
The university also hosts the oldest botanical garden (1545) in the world. The botanical garden Orto Botanico di Padova was founded as the garden of curative herbs attached to the University's faculty of medicine. It still contains an important collection of rare plants.
The place of Padua in the history of art is nearly as important as its place in the history of learning. The presence of the university attracted many distinguished artists, such as Giotto, Fra Filippo Lippi and Donatello; and for native art there was the school of Francesco Squarcione, whence issued the great Mantegna.
Padua is also the birthplace of the famous architect Andrea Palladio, whose 16th century "ville" (country-houses) in the area of Padua, Venice, Vicenza and Treviso are among the most beautiful of Italy and they were often copied during the 18th and 19th centuries; and of Giovanni Battista Belzoni, adventure-man, engineer and egyptologist.
The famous sculptor Antonio Canova produced his first work in Padua, one of which is among the statues of Prato della Valle (presently a copy is displayed in the open air, while the original is in the Musei Civici, Civic Museums).
One the most relevant places in the life of the city has certainly been The Antonianum. Settled among Prato della Valle,