To plunge completely into the splendor of Pavia’s glorious past and to discover the testimonies of today, the best thing is a walk. By walking, you can fully observe all the details of its history. Follow alleys and streets; visit monuments and buildings! Pavia offers you many paths. Its squares, avenues and covered bridge tell you the stories of Pavia’s history; its grandeur is reflected in the town of today. It is an old town, but at the same time also young and lively, that has maintained its Romanesque plant foundation in time despite the innumerable sustained changes. Its buildings, especially its Romanesque churches that represent the highest expression of this style, are considerably interesting and continue to inspire great curiosity.
The Basilica San Michele, a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture in Lombardy, has a majestic nave and two aisles surmounted by the lantern. The façade is richly decorated with sculptures, bas reliefs and figures of animals, plant volute cornices and green shoots. The present church was built on the site of a previous Lombard church. In fact, it was the coronation place of Frederic Barbarossa in 1155.
The Romanesque San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro Church, refurbished in the 12th century, is well-known all over Europe for Saint Augustine’s remains, which were transferred here from Sardinia in the 8th century in obedience to the will of Liutprando, King of the Lombards.
As a land of excellent wines and ancient, well-established culinary traditions, the Province of Pavia is a land worth tasting. Rice and wine are the main players in the Pavia food and wine panorama. Pork is also one of the gourmet dishes. Try cured meats such as Salame di Varzi, cotechino and sanguinaccio! Farm production comprises many local products which are symbols of culture and tradition ,deeply rooted in the land and history. Local restaurateurs can satisfy all tourist appetites and price brackets ranging from those looking for fine cuisine, local dishes to simply a quick lunch.
When visiting Pavia you should not miss the most prestigious buildings of the town, its medieval towers, green areas, the town centre with its Piazza Grande and Strada Nuova as well as the ancient Roman cardo. The richness of the historic, artistic and monumental heritage of the town applies not only to the most-mentioned monuments, but also for the vast numbers of hidden treasures.
Although often neglected, they constitute a real surprise for the visitors and the inhabitants of the town alike. Sometimes you wonder what masterpieces are kept between the walls of your home.
The Visconteo Castle, Pavia’s monumental palace “par excellence”, is the seat of the town museums. The Castle Museum is one of the highlights. Apart from the outstanding quality, variety and richness of collections, it also hosts temporary art exhibitions and promotes meetings, courses of lectures and publications.