LivingTravelPavia Travel Guide

Pavia Travel Guide

Pavia is a university city with elegant Romanesque and medieval buildings and an interesting historical center. Founded by the Romans, the city reached its greatness more than 1,300 years ago when it became the capital of much of the Italian peninsula. Pavia is known as the city of 100 towers, but only a few remain intact today. It is worth a visit and is a day trip from Milan as it is 35 km south of Milan in the Lombardy region. The city is located on the banks of the Ticino River.

Pavia Transportation

Pavia is on the train line from Milan to Genoa. There is bus service to Linate Airport and nearby Certosa di Pavia, as well as to cities and towns in Lombardy. The train and bus stations are in the western part of the city and are linked to the historic center by Corso Cavour. It is easy to walk in the compact center of Pavia, but there is also a local bus service.

What to see in Pavia

The tourist information office is located in via F Filzi, 2. From the station, about 500 meters, turn left into via Trieste and right onto via F Filzi.

  • Castello Visconti , at the northern end of the medieval center, was built in 1360 and used as a residence. The castle park once stretched 8 km to the Certosa di Pavia . Although only two of its four massive towers remain, it is still a very impressive castle. The Civic Museum, the Risorgimento Museum and an art gallery are located inside the castle.
  • The cathedral or Duomo has the third largest dome in Italy, but it was only completed in the 19th century. Both Da Vinci and Donato Bramante contributed to the design of the church. It has a very impressive interior. In 1989 its bell tower collapsed, killing four people.
  • The Church of San Michele was rebuilt in the Romanesque style in 1090 after the 7th century church was destroyed by an earthquake. For centuries, the church was the favorite coronation site of northern Italian monarchs, including Charlemagne and Barbarossa. The exterior includes many interesting sculptures that symbolize the battle between good and evil.
  • Pavia once had 100 medieval towers, but only a few remain intact today. There is a good group in Piazza di Leonardo di Vinci, near the University.
  • The University of Pavia began as a school in the 9th century and became a university in 1361. Christopher Columbus and Alessandro Volta are among its graduates.
  • La Certosa di Pavia , 8 km north of the city, is an extravagant religious complex. The monastery is one of the most remarkable buildings of the Italian Renaissance. For those wishing to stay in the area, Hotel Italia is close to Certosa and there is a bus stop in front that leads to Pavia and Milan.
  • Festivals: September is a great month of festivals in Pavia. La Festa del Ticino , the first week of September, is a big city-wide festival with performances, food, and hours of shopping. The Settembre Pavese Festival brings 15 days of folklore and concerts.

Pavia Food Specialties

Pavia’s food specialties are zuppa pavese and risotto alla certosina , created by the monks of the Certosa di Pavia . In Pavia, as in much of Lombardy, you will find many dishes of risotto (rice), beef, cheeses and baked goods. Frogs are also commonly eaten in Pavia, especially in the spring when they are collected from rice fields.

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