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Just a few kilometres outside Milan’s suburbs, you will discover a destination of equal beauty, quite underrated and most charming. It’s Pavia and a flight to this beautiful Italian city is always a good idea! Lombardy’s Renaissance past comes alive in this hidden treasure that Pavia is; elegant architecture, marvellous views, historic sites and beautiful scenery. Pavia’s medieval sparkle is more obvious than ever at the 100 medieval towers that gave the city the name “The City of a Hundred Towers”. Imagine something like Cambridge; Pavia has been around for centuries! Book your accommodation in one of the cheap hotels in Pavia and live the ultimate Italian medieval experience!
Pavia was founded by the Romans - it was then named Ticinum – and has traditionally been a location of enormous strategic importance.
The University of Pavia is considered to be one of Italy’s best universities, with famous alumni like Cristoforo Colombo, Alessandro Volta and poet Ugo Foscolo.
Modern Pavia remains a lively city with a large student population and a pleasant atmosphere. Boasting a wide variety of points of interest, sites and experiences it can offer, Pavia has been transformed into a popular travel destination for those who travel to northern Italy.
Milan’s international airport (Aeroporto di Milano-Malpensa "Città di Milano") is located 86 kilometres northwest of Pavia and can be reached by railway and buses.
You can get around Pavia by bus and taxi. Fares start at 1.30€ and minimum taxi fare costs around 5.00€.
Your day in Pavia begins at the Certosa di Pavia monastery, 10 kilometres north of the city centre. This monastery was founded by the Visconti family back in 1396.
The Certosa di Pavia’s resemblance to the Duomo di Milano is obvious; this is because it was designed and constructed by the same architects!
Pavia’s Cathedral is Italy’s third largest cathedral and it was designed by Leonardo da Vinci and Donato Bramante. Its construction began in 1488, but it was not completed until the 19th century.
The Cathedral’s leaning tower collapsed in 1989, something that lead to the establishment of a restoration programme for the leaning tower of Pisa.
Pavia’s most significant church though is not the Cathedral, but the Basilica di San Michele Maggiore. Dating back to the 11th century, the basilica is an excellent example of Lombardian Romanesque architecture and a popular spot for tourists and locals.
Continue to the University of Pavia (Università degli Studi di Pavia). This is one of Italy’s most important and historic universities, founded by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. The modern university currently has many faculties, but the two that were founded first date back to the 16th century. While you’re there, you could pay a visit to the adjacent Museo per la Storia dell'Università di Pavia, to know more on the history of this institution.
Continue to the Castello Visconti, Pavia’s medieval castle, built by the Visconti family in 1360. It now houses the Museo Civico, featuring collections of Renaissance art and sculptures, archaeological exhibitions and marvellous masterpieces by notable Italian artists.