Padua is one of the oldest cities in Italy. In ancient times, Padova achieved a victory over the Spartans before it was conquered by the Romans and received the town charter. In the Middle Ages, Padua was an independent city state, like many of its neighbouring cities, but was ruled by a Podesta of the emperor.
In 1405 the city finally fell to Venice, in 1797 to Napoleon, and finally to Austria. With one of the oldest universities in the world officially founded on 1222, Padua was always an intellectual and artistic centre, wich brought many art treasures to the city and made it a hotbed of revolutionary ideas.