The Pedrocchi is a historic landmark, as beloved by the Padovans as "their" own St. Anthony (who actually hailed from Lisbon). When it first opened in 1831, it was the largest cafe in Europe. Famous literary and political characters and local luminaries made this their command post -- French-born Henri Beyle, better known as Stendhal, had it in mind when he wrote, "The best Italian cafe is almost as good as the Parisian ones." Countless others were less reserved, calling it arguably the most beautiful coffeehouse in the world. Heavily damaged during World War II, it has been completely rebuilt in its original neoclassical, 19th-century stage-set splendor, and, after a laborious renovation and heralded 1998 reopening that was, for Padua, the event of the year, it is again the social heartbeat of the city.
It has the nicest restrooms in town, for the use of cafe patrons. They're worth the cost of a coffee. In warm weather, Pedrocchi opens wide its doors (and, hence, its curious description as a "doorless cafe") onto the pedestrian piazza; sit here for a while to absorb the Padovan spirit. As is always the case, drinks cost less when you're standing at the bar, but then you will have missed the dolce far niente (sweetness of doing nothing) experience for which Pedrocchi has always been known. A cappuccino, tea, beer, or glass of prosecco will cost 3€ at your table (half that price at the bar), and hunger can be held at bay with a plate of dainty teatime pastries or a grilled ham-and-cheese toast, each 3.50€. Pedrocchi often hosts live music in the evenings.