Things to see -
What to see in Pavia
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Just wandering around town is the nicest way
to go sightseeing, pick any side street to stumble on something
of interest, a lofty medieval tower, a pretty Romanesque or
Gothic church, or calm and standstill piazza.
Once boasted around 100 medieval
watchtowers, the ones on Piazza Leonardo da Vinci are all
Today Pavia most famous landmark is the
Certosa, or Carthusian monastery, founded in 1396 and
few kilometres north of Pavia, on the way to Milan.
Indeed the Certosa is one of the most notable
buildings produced in the Renaissance. It was founded by Gian
Galeazzo Visconti of Milan, meant as a monument and private
chapel for his family, later becoming home for 12 monks. The
grandeur of the Certosa is explained in its magnificent
architecture and interiors, almost gothic although some
Renaissance decorations are of some evidence.
Among other notable structures is the old
town landmark, the Cathedral, which was started on the
ruins of a church in 1488 and saw Leonardo da Vinci and Bramante
among its designers.
The Romanesque Basilica di San
Michele was built in 1090 in a Romanesque style and it is
also known as the place where Frederick Barbarossa was crowned
as Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 1155. The miniatures on
its broad sandstone facade are carved into a menagerie of
snake-tailed fish, griffins, dragons and other beasts, some
locked in a struggle with humans, representing the fight between
good and evil.
The Church of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro
of the XII century is the place where Saint Augustine and
Boethius are buried and it contains a superb XIV century
The large fortified Castello Visconti,
built in 1360 by Galeazzo II Visconti, looms over the north of
the City. The austere exterior originally housed luxurious
apartments as a palatial residence, the majority of which were
in the wing of the quadrangle destroyed by the French in 1527.
The Castello now houses the Museo Civico, which includes
an art gallery with Venetian paintings, a collection with Roman
jewellery, pottery and glassware, and a museum of sculpture
displaying architectural fragments, mosaics and sculptures
rescued from the town's demolished churches, including the
reconstructed XI and XII century portals.
was founded in 1361, although its educational history started in
the IX century when it was a school. Christopher Colombo was one
of its most notable graduates while Alessandro Volta, the father
of the electric battery, was a lecture here. Inside, several
courtyards are shaped as square cloisters although the pattern
offers typical variations characterizing each single courtyard.
The complex hosts the Museum of University of Pavia.
The central Piazza della Vittoria , a
large cobbled rectangle surrounded by beautiful buildings, bars,
gelaterie and restaurants, leads down to an underground
market , while at the southern end it leads to the
Broletto , the medieval Pavia's town hall.
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