Alleys, streets, monuments, buildings: Pavia offers many paths to the visitor who arrives in town for the first time. Through its squares, avenues and covered bridge one can read Pavia’s history: its grandeur is reflected in the town of today. One special feature in Pavia is the standardised design of all buildings (mostly churches) that ware built between in the 12th century. Many of those buildings have an architecture using similar stylistic elements, similar types of sculptures and façades that are looking quite similar. However San Michele Maggiore has facades made of Sandstone instead of bricks. It seems like the city council would have had coordinated the works, maybe to distinguish itself to other cities or just to aesthetic reasons.
Pavia: Basilica San Michele Maggiore
The basilica San Michele Maggiore is a masterpiece of Romanesque architecture in the Lombardy region. This church has a majestic nave with gothic vault, two aisles and an extended transept. The façade is richly decorated with sculptures, bas reliefs and figures of animals, plant volute cornices and green shoots. S. Michele Maggiore is characterised by figural reliefs above the tympanums and the western portal that have been mentioned before. This western façade with its three-membered facade is decorated with dwarf galleries thus it could be an argument for cultural exchange with the Rhineland. The present church was built on the site of a previous Lombard church and was the coronation place. Infact Frederich Barbarossa was crowned here in 1155.