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Pavia is a town and comune of south-western Lombardy, northern Italy, 35 km south of Milan on the lower Ticino river near its confluence with the Po. It is the capital of the province of Pavia. It has a population of c. 71,000.The city achieved its greatest political importance between 568 and 774 as the capital of the Kingdom of the Lombards.Pavia is the capital of a fertile eponymous province known for agricultural products including wine, rice, cereals and dairy products.Although there are a number of industries located in the suburbs these tend not to disturb the peaceful atmosphere of the town.The town also is home to the ancient University of Pavia.The University together with the IUSS (Institute for Advanced Studies of Pavia), the Ghislieri College, the Borromeo College, the Nuovo College, the Santa Caterina College and the EDiSU belongs to the Pavia Study System.Furthermore Pavia is the see city of the Roman Catholic diocese of Pavia.The city possesses a vast amount of artistic and cultural treasures, including several important churches and museums, such as the well-known Certosa di Pavia.Dating back to pre-Roman times, the town of Pavia (then known as Ticinum) was a municipality and an important military site (a castrum) under the Roman Empire.It was said by Pliny the Elder to have been founded by the Laevi and Marici, two Ligurian tribes, while Ptolemy attributes it to the Insubres.The Roman city most likely began as a small military camp built by the consul Publius Cornelius Scipio in 218 BC to guard a wooden bridge he had built over the river Ticinum, on his way to search for Hannibal who was rumoured to have managed to lead an army over the Alps and into Italy.The forces of Rome and Carthage ran into each other soon thereafter and the Romans suffered the first of many crushing defeats at the hands of Hannibal with the consul himself almost losing his life.The bridge was destroyed but the fortified camp which at the time was the most forward Roman military outpost in Padania somehow survived the long Second Punic War and gradually evolved into a garrison town.

Its importance grew with the extension of the Via Aemilia from Ariminum (Rimini) to the Po River (187 BC), which it crossed at Placentia (Piacenza) and there forked one branch going to Mediolanum (Milan) and the other to Ticinum and thence to Laumellum where it divided once more one branch going to Vercellae - and thence to Eporedia and Augusta Praetoria - and the other to Valentia - and thence to Augusta Taurinorum (Turin) or to Pollentia.Here in 476, Odoacer defeated Flavius Orestes after a long siege.To punish the city for helping the rival, Odoacer destroyed it completely.However Orestes was able to escape to Piacenza, where Odoacer followed and killed him, deposing his son Romulus Augustus.This is commonly considered the end of the Western Roman Empire.A late name of the city in Latin was Papia (probably related to the Pope) which evolved to the Italian name Pavia. Sometimes it's been referred to as Ticinum Papia combining both Latin names.Under the Ostrogoths Pavia became a fortified citadel and their last bulwark in the war against Belisarius.Pavia's most famous landmark is the Certosa or Carthusian monastery founded in 1396 and located eight kilometres north of the city.Cathedral of Pavia (Duomo di Pavia), begun in 1488 however only by 1898 were the facade and the dome completed according to the original design. The central dome has an octagonal plan stands 97 m high, and weighs some 20,000 tons.This dome is the third for size in Italy after St. Peter's Basilica and Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence.Next to the Duomo were the Civic Tower (existing at least from 1330 and enlarged in 1583 by Pellegrino Tibaldi) its fall on March 17, 1989, was the final motivating force that started the last decade's efforts to save the Leaning Tower of Pisa from a similar fate.


How to Reach

By Air

The closest airports are in Milan Milano Linate (LIN), smaller but easier to reach or Milano Malpensa (MXP).Also Orio al Serio (BGY) is usually included in the Milan area airports (MIL) but we don't suggest to use it because difficult to reach.A taxi from any airport to Pavia will cost you about 80 Euros ask the driver before you take it.From Linate it could be convenient to take a taxi to Milano Centrale railway station and then continue by train to Pavia.A shuttle also links Linate with the station it is cheaper and comfortable.It leaves just in front of the domestic arrival terminal every 20 minutes or so the trip lasts about half an hour.

By Train

Pavia railway station opened in 1862 forms part of the Milan–Pavia–Voghera railway and is also a terminus of four secondary railways linking Pavia with Alessandria, Cremona, Vercelli and Stradella.

By Road

The closest highway is the A7 Milano-Genova.Take exit Bereguardo (Pavia Nord) and follow the signs to Pavia.If you are traveling on A21 Torino-Piacenza coming from East (from Piacenza) you can use exit Broni-Stradella and follow the signs to Pavia if you are coming from West (from Torino) take A7 North (to Milano) in Tortona and exit in Bereguardo.If you are coming via the A1 Milano-Bologna (direction North) you can either use exit Casalpusterlengo and follow the signs to Pavia or take A21 West (to Torino) in Piacenza (this second possibility is longer but preferable in case of trafic jams or fog).

Key places to visit
Basilica of San Michele Maggiore, Pavia Cathedral, Visconti Castle, Pavia Covered Bridge, San Pietro in Ciel d Oro, Santa Maria del Carmine


Places to Visit

Basilica of San Michele Maggiore

a masterpiece of Romanesque Lombard is a church of Pavia dating back to centuries XI and XII.The first church dedicated to St. Michael the Archangel was originally built at the chapel of the Royal Palace in the Lombard period thanks to the monks of St. Columbanus of Bobbio (this period was the bottom of the bell ) but was destroyed by fire in 1004.The present building began around the end of the eleventh century (which date back to the crypt, the choir and transepts) and was completed in 1155 (with a break due to the great earthquake of January 3, 1117 ).The times of the nave central, originally composed of two spans roughly square cross (or, according to some historians vaulted domed basilicas of the model of Roman- Byzantine as San Marco in Venice ) were rebuilt in 1489 by Augustine from Heraklion with a rectangular pattern of four bays, such as to ensure a better static efficiency of the architectural complex.The facade has a gabled linear profile enhanced by a loggia along the slopes of twenty-two arches.The counters are made of vertical piers that mark the surface.On the façade there are five small mullioned windows three single-light windows and a cross between two bull's eyes.This provision is a reconstruction of the nineteenth century up to that time, there was in fact a large circular window certainly not original just removed to restore the facade to the original configuration.There are horizontal bands carved in low relief  depicting plots of humans, animals and monsters.

Pavia Cathedral

is a church in Pavia, northern Italy, the largest in the city. The construction (presently still unfinished in some minor details) was begun in the 15th century on the site of two pre-existing Romanesque cathedrals (Santo Stefano and Santa Maria del Popolo). The cathedral houses the remains of St. Sirus, first bishop of Pavia. Next to the cathedral was the Civic Tower (Torre Civica), known in 1330 and enlarged in 1583, which crumbled down on March 17 1989.The church is on the Greek Cross plan: it therefore has the same length and width at the transept (c. 84 m). Such size makes it one of the largest edifices with central plan in northern Italy.The central dome, with an octagonal plan, is 97 m tall, with a total weight of some 20,000 tons. It is the fourth in Italy in size, after St. Peter's, the Pantheon and Florence Cathedral.

Visconti Castle

was built in 1360 by Galeazzo II Visconti.The castle park originally stretched for about ten kilometers to the Certosa di Pavia, now part of the park is still there, but no longer connected to the castle, and called the Park Vernavola.The castle houses the Civic Pinacoteca Malaspina.In recent years the castle are organized several exhibitions, and during the summer including concerts in his small garden.

Pavia Covered Bridge

is a bridge over the river Ticino at Pavia, which connects the old city center (located on the left bank of the Ticino), with the picturesque district, originally outside the walls of the outlying towns of Borgo Ticino.The bridge is quaint, with five arches and completely covered with two portals at each end and a chapel in the center.Although the current bridge was built in 1949, it presents the type of the old Covered Bridge, dating from the fourteenth century.Already in Roman times, the ancient city of Ticinum first there was a bridge connecting the two banks of the river at the modern Covered Bridge. Of this bridge is easily seen in the lean periods, the base of a central pier in trachyte Euganean Hills. The direction of the pylon (SSE), slightly offset from those of medieval and modern bridges, indicates that in Roman times the current direction of the river was different. Another pillar of the Roman bridge could be seen until a few years ago at the left bank, but was covered with earth to expand the bank. The construction of the Roman bridge is dated at the time of Augustus.

San Pietro in Ciel d Oro

is a Roman Catholic basilica (and a former cathedral) of the Augustinians in Pavia, Italy, in the Lombardy region. Its name refers to the mosaics of gold leaf behind glass tesserae that formerly decorated the ceiling of the apse. The plain exterior is of brick, with sandstone quoins and window framing. The paving of the church floor is now lower than the modern street level of Piazza Dante, which lies before its facade.A church of Saint Peter is recorded in Pavia in 604; it was renovated by Liutprand, King of the Lombards (who is buried here) between 720 and 725. The present Romanesque church was consecrated by Pope Innocent II in 1132.The church is the resting place for the remains of Augustine of Hippo, who died in 430 in his home diocese of Hippo Regius, and was buried in the cathedral there, during the time of the Vandals. According to Bede's True Martyrology, the body was removed to Cagliari, Sardinia by the Catholic bishops whom the Arian Vandal Huneric had expelled from north Africa. Bede tells that the remains were subsequently redeemed out of the hands of the Saracens there— by Peter, bishop of Pavia and uncle of the Lombard king Liutprand— and deposited in the church of Saint Peter about the year 720.

Santa Maria del Carmine

is a church in Pavia, Lombardy, northern Italy, considered amongst the best examples of Lombard Gothic architecture.It was begun in 1374 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan on a project attributed to Bernardo da Venezia.The construction followed a slow pace and was restarted in 1432, being finished in 1461.The church has an imposing facade commanding the square with the same name; the slender forms betray a residual Romanesque influence although the decorations are undoubutably of Lombard Gothic style.The facade is divided into five vertical compartments by six pilasters surmounted by spires.The three central sectors have a portal each remade by Giuseppe Marchesi in 1854.Over the portals are four large ogival mullioned windows and an elaborated rose window in brickwork.The bell tower dating to c. 1450 has numerous friezes and a triple mullioned window with marble columns.

Right Time to Visit

October - December
February - June


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