Prato della Valle, built on a swamp that was drained during the late 18th century, covers more than 96,800 square feet (9,000 square meters), including its central Isola Memmia and oblong canal lined with 78 statues. Small foot bridges span the canal to make the island walkable, and the entire space, known as Il Prato by locals, is one of the highlights of the city. It is a popular gathering place to relax, in addition to being a venue for local festivals. A number of historic palaces dating from the 14th to the 18th centuries, including the benedictine Abbey of Santa Giustina and the neoclassical Loggia Amulea, surround the square.
The square is included in small-group Padua walking tours or day trips and shore excursions from nearby Venice, along with other main attractions like the 13th-century Basilica of Saint Anthony and the Scrovegni Chapel, decorated with frescoes by Giotto. Tours combining a walk through the historic center of Padua with visits to the nearby Venetian villas on the Brenta riviera are also a popular option, as are excursions exploring the art and architecture of both Padua and Vicenza.