Skip menu

Pavia

Overview

Falling in love with Pavia: the rice capital of Italy and home to Einstein

A rich historical and artistic heritage, an enviable food and wine tradition, and countless fascinating sites make Pavia surprisingly unique and perfect for a tailor-made holiday.

The Charterhouse, a jewel of the Renaissance

The best place to start is the Charterhouse of Pavia, a monumental complex eight kilometres away from the city centre.

Commissioned as a family chapel and mausoleum by Gian Galeazzo Visconti in the 15th century, it was entrusted to the Carthusian monks, before passing to the Cistercians and the Benedictines of Pavia. But, though his ashes were taken there, its patron never saw the end of its construction, which was continued by Francesco Sforza and Ludovico il Moro.

Housing works by Perugino, Pinturicchio and Guercino, the interior flaunts a Gothic style, modelled on the Milan Cathedral, while the façade is overtly Renaissance.

The Visconti Castle, a symbol of power

More than a castle, this building is a symbol of wealth and power dating back to 1360. It is surrounded by a beautiful park, which you can only see part of today, connecting it to the Charterhouse of Pavia.

Significant historical events it bore witness to include the marriage of Ludovico il Moro to Beatrice d'Este. Although today part of the castle has been destroyed, the interior still hosts the Civic Museums and the Malaspina civic art gallery, with masterpieces such as Antonello da Messina's Portrait of a Man.

The Church of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro and  the Ponte Coperto

The Church of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro is definitely worth a visit. It is the resting place of two Church Fathers: St Augustine, who lies in a magnificent tomb, and Severinus Boethius, philosopher and martyr. The Longobard-style church was rebuilt in the Romanesque style and is considered one of the most important religious building in the city together with the Basilica of San Michele Maggiore.

Also well worth a visit is the Ponte Coperto, the iconic covered bridge of Pavia that crosses the Ticino river. This bridge connects the historic centre with Borgo Ticino, originally located outside the city walls, and the Palazzo Broletto, a 12th-century building with a striking porticoed inner courtyard, the heart of institutional life in times gone by. Keen eyes can also spot a plaque dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the death of Albert Einstein, who lived here for some time.

Albert Einstein

It’s true! Einstein's parents moved to Pavia in 1894, to Palazzo Cornazzani to be precise, the former home of Ugo Foscolo, and Albert himself also lived here for a while.

The theatre that hosted Gassman and Fo

The 18th-century Teatro Fraschini theatre is a true masterpiece that has seen renowned actors such as Vittorio Gassman and Dario Fo grace its stage. It has a typical horseshoe shape, with a series of box seats and an entirely painted wooden ceiling.

Pavia and its passion for heels

In nearby Vigevano is the International Footwear Museum, which exhibits all kinds of shoes from the historical to the super fashionable and even recent models. You can even find the historic slipper “la pianella di Beatrice d'Este” strutting side by side with the best of Manolo Blahnik!

Rice: an icon

Pavia has around 80 thousand hectares of paddy fields. We are talking about the largest area of rice cultivation in Italy, and you can enjoy a walk or cycle on paths alongside the paddies. 

Pavia

27100 Pavia PV, Italia

Related articles

Cultural cities
7 cities of art to visit a short distance from Milan

7 cities of art to visit a short distance from Milan

Food and wine
Cuore della Franciacorta: in buca tra vigneti e bollicine

5 delicacies from Lombardy: a land to savour

Art and culture
Lombardy: 10 treasures you may wish to explore in the city of Milan and its surrounding areas

Lombardy: 10 treasures you may wish to explore in the city of Milan and its surrounding areas

UNESCO
Mantua and Sabbioneta, the pearls of the Po Valley

Mantua and Sabbioneta, the pearls of the Po Valley

Lakes
Lake Como

What to see in Como in a day: 7 unmissable sights

Cultural cities
817419760

2 days in Milan: the itinerary

Cultural cities
Milan: much more than the world’s fashion capital

Milan: much more than the world’s fashion capital

Cultural cities
Bergamo

Bergamo, medieval heart, contemporary soul

Cultural cities
View of the city of Bergamo

Bergamo and Brescia Capital of Culture 2023: 13 experiences not to be missed if you are in the city for work

Spirituality
The Via Francigena in Lombardy: balancing history and landscape

The Via Francigena in Lombardy: balancing history and landscape

Cultural cities
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta in Brescia

What to see in Brescia in a day: unmissable attractions and typical dishes

Food and wine
“La Dolcissima!” - Breme Red Onion Festival

“La Dolcissima!” - Breme Red Onion Festival

Cycling tourism
Cycling in Lombardy: 10 family itineraries

Cycling in Lombardy: 10 family itineraries

Cultural cities
Mantua, an aristocratic city steeped in art and history

Mantua, an aristocratic city steeped in art and history

Cycling tourism
Milan: cycling along the Navigli with Leonardo da Vinci

Milan: cycling along the Navigli with Leonardo da Vinci

UNESCO
The industrial village Crespi d'Adda

The industrial village Crespi d'Adda

UNESCO
Rhaetian Railway, the engineering masterpiece crossing part of the Alps

Rhaetian Railway, the engineering masterpiece crossing part of the Alps

Art and culture
Milan Cathedral

Lombardy: the engine of Italy and a region of culture and charm

Lakes
Weekend on Lake Garda

Lake Garda, for a magical weekend

UNESCO
Santa Maria delle Grazie and Leonardo's Last Supper, for a touch of the true Renaissance

Santa Maria delle Grazie and Leonardo's Last Supper, for a touch of the true Renaissance

Ops! An error occurred while sharing your content. Please accept profiling cookies to share the page.