- Introduction to Pavia
- Brief overview of Pavia's history, location and significance
- Top things to do in Pavia
- Explore the Certosa di Pavia
- Visit the Castello Visconteo
- Walk around the Piazza della Vittoria
- Explore the University of Pavia
- Visit the Museo della Civilta Contadina
- Best places to eat in Pavia
- Pizzeria Il Duomo
- Trattoria del Tribunale
- Osteria Il Campanile
- Best places to stay in Pavia
- Hotel Moderno
- Affittacamere Pavia
- Hotel Excelsior Pavia
- Getting around Pavia
- Public transportation
- Cities Nearby
Introduction to Pavia
Brief overview of Pavia's history, location and significance
Located in Northern Italy, Pavia is a small yet significant city known for its rich history and cultural heritage. The city dates back to the Roman Empire and played a crucial role in the medieval and Renaissance periods. Its strategic location near the Po river and Milan made it an important trading hub. Famous for its magnificent medieval architecture, including the stunning Cathedral and Baptistry of St. John, Pavia is a popular tourist destination for history buffs and art lovers alike. Its prestigious university, founded in 1361, attracts students from all over the world, making it a lively and dynamic city. Take a stroll through the charming streets and piazzas of Pavia and discover the city's fascinating history and unique charm.
Top things to do in Pavia
Explore the Certosa di Pavia
Visit the Certosa di Pavia, one of the most impressive examples of Italian Renaissance architecture. This monastery, founded in the 14th century, is located just outside the city and is easily accessible by car or public transportation. The complex includes a church, cloisters, and impressive frescoes throughout. Visitors can also admire the intricate details on the facades and the grand courtyard. Take a guided tour to fully appreciate the beauty and history of this magnificent site. Don't forget to bring a camera to capture the stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Visit the Castello Visconteo
Located in the heart of Pavia, Castello Visconteo dates back to the 14th century. The castle was built by Galeazzo II Visconti, and it is one of the most important examples of Gothic architecture in Italy. Inside the castle, visitors can admire the beautiful frescoes and tapestries, along with the impressive art collections that span from the medieval ages to modern times. The castle has undergone a few changes throughout history and served as a military prison during World War II. Today it houses the Civic Museums of Pavia with collections that showcase the history, art, and archeological artifacts from the city and its surroundings. Make sure to visit the castle's towers, which offer a panoramic view of the city of Pavia and the surrounding landscape.
Walk around the Piazza della Vittoria
Piazza della Vittoria is located in the heart of Pavia and is a must-visit for any traveler. The square is surrounded by beautiful architecture and numerous cafes, bars, and restaurants where you can sit and people-watch. The highlight of the Piazza is undoubtedly the striking statue of the Goddess Victoria on top of the column that dominates the square. Apart from this, there are also some interesting historical buildings around the square, including the Palazzo del Comune, which is now the town hall. Take a leisurely stroll around the Piazza della Vittoria and soak up the atmosphere of this vibrant square. It's a great spot to rest your feet while enjoying some Italian coffee or gelato.
Explore the University of Pavia
Explore the University of Pavia, one of the oldest and prestigious universities in Europe. Designed in the early 15th century, the university boasts stunning Renaissance architecture, including the magnificent courtyard and the historic Aula Magna. Visitors can explore the museums and collections, including rare manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, and manuscripts of Cicero. The botanical garden is also a highlight, featuring over 2000 species of plants and trees from around the world. Join a guided tour or explore the campus on your own to discover the academic and cultural heart of Pavia.
Visit the Museo della Civilta Contadina
The Museo della Civilta Contadina is an atmospheric museum that provides a glimpse into the rural life of the Pavia area. The museum showcases the tools, instruments, and artifacts that were once a staple of everyday life. The displays are arranged in typical farm buildings that have been reconstructed to give visitors an authentic experience of the past. As you walk through the museum, take the time to admire the beautiful frescoes that decorate the ceilings of some of the rooms. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions relating to local history and culture, so be sure to check the schedule before you visit. The museum offers a unique opportunity to discover the traditional way of life in Pavia and understand the deep connection between the land and its people.
Best places to eat in Pavia
Pizzeria Il Duomo
Located just a stone's throw away from the magnificent Pavia Cathedral, Pizzeria Il Duomo is a must-visit for pizza enthusiasts. The restaurant boasts a cozy and casual dining atmosphere that perfect for friends and family. Their menu features a wide selection of traditional Italian pizzas made with fresh ingredients, including vegetarian options. You can also indulge in some local wines and cold beers to complement your meal. The pizzeria's star dish is their Il Duomo pizza, made with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, prosciutto cotto, and fresh mushrooms. The service is exceptionally good, and the staff is always happy to help with recommendations. Pizzeria Il Duomo is a great place to have lunch or dinner after a day of sightseeing in Pavia, and it will leave you craving for more.
Trattoria del Tribunale
Located near the courthouse, Trattoria del Tribunale is a charming, family-run restaurant with a warm and inviting atmosphere. The pasta is freshly made and the menu highlights traditional dishes of Pavia, such as risotto alla Certosina, a local specialty made with beef, sausage, and Parmesan cheese. Their specialty, however, is the wild boar stew that is cooked to perfection, tender and rich in flavor. Finish your meal with their homemade tiramisu or panna cotta, and pair it with a glass of their fine selection of local wines.
Osteria Il Campanile
Osteria Il Campanile is a cozy restaurant located in the heart of Pavia's historical center. The menu offers traditional Italian dishes with a modern twist, made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The wine list is extensive, featuring both local and international wines. The rustic atmosphere is perfect for a romantic dinner or a night out with friends. The friendly staff and attentive service make for a memorable dining experience. Don't miss the house specialty, braised beef with red wine sauce, or the delicious homemade pasta dishes. Reservations are recommended as this popular spot fills up quickly.
Best places to stay in Pavia
Hotel Moderno is a charming and affordable three-star hotel located in the heart of Pavia. The hotel is a great option for travelers who want to be close to all the city's attractions while enjoying comfortable and modern accommodations. The rooms at Hotel Moderno are spacious and bright, each featuring air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, and a flat-screen TV. Guests can also take advantage of the hotel's restaurant, where they can enjoy delicious Italian cuisine made with fresh and local ingredients. The hotel's central location means that guests are just a short walk away from historic sites such as the Cathedral of Pavia, the Ponte Coperto, and the Castello Visconteo. Overall, Hotel Moderno is an excellent choice for travelers who want to experience the best of Pavia without breaking the bank.
Affittacamere Pavia, or guesthouses, are a popular accommodation choice for budget travelers visiting Pavia. These establishments offer comfortable and affordable rooms, often with shared bathrooms and kitchen facilities. Many affittacamere are located within walking distance of the city center, making them ideal for exploring the sites and attractions of Pavia. One such guesthouse is the Casa di Vieri, located just a few steps from the Piazza della Vittoria and the University of Pavia. This affittacamere features bright and cozy rooms with free Wi-Fi and a daily continental breakfast. Another great option is the Affittacamere Pavia Corso, situated on the Corso Strada Nuova, which offers basic but clean rooms at a reasonable price. Whether you are seeking a budget-friendly option or just prefer the ambiance of a guesthouse, affittacamere in Pavia offer a great alternative to traditional hotels and hostels.
Hotel Excelsior Pavia
The Hotel Excelsior Pavia is an elegant and refined hotel situated right in the heart of Pavia. The rooms are spacious and beautifully decorated, offering modern conveniences and stunning views of the city's historic center. Guests can enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast in the morning and relax with a drink at the bar in the evening. The hotel's prime location makes it the perfect choice for those looking to explore all that Pavia has to offer, including its beautiful architecture, museums, and vibrant restaurant scene.
Getting around Pavia
Walking in Pavia is the most convenient and enjoyable way to explore the city. The town is relatively flat and compact, so walking is easy and time-efficient. The beautiful historic center of Pavia, with its charming cobbled streets and picturesque narrow avenues, is a must-see destination for every visitor. While walking, you can absorb the lovely atmosphere of the town and uncover its hidden gems. You might also want to take your time in the pedestrian-only zone of Corso Cavour, the biggest and most significant street of Pavia. Exploring the city by foot is a joy, and it is the ideal way to experience Pavia's unique charm and history.
Pavia is a bike-friendly city, with many designated cycling paths covering most of the streets in the center. Renting a bike in Pavia is easy, with many rental shops offering high-quality bikes equipped for city riding. For those who want to explore the countryside surrounding Pavia, renting a mountain bike is recommended. Pavia is situated in the Po Valley, with various bike routes following the riverside, perfect for a leisurely ride, passing picturesque landscapes and stopping in traditional Italian towns. Biking in Pavia is a great way to explore the city, with many attractions easily accessible from a bike. Take a ride through the tranquil Ticino Park, which stretches across the city. Marvel at the city walls and medieval towers, or visit the famous Certosa di Pavia monastery, located just a short bike ride out of the city center. Experience the culture of Pavia, the Italian way of life and explore the countryside by bike.
Public transportation in Pavia is efficient and reliable. The city has an extensive bus network that covers all major areas. The buses are operated by ATP, and tickets can be purchased at vending machines at bus stops or on board the bus (with a small surcharge). Additionally, there is a train station in Pavia that connects to major cities in Italy, including Milan, Genoa, and Turin. The station is located near the city center and is within walking distance of major tourist attractions. Tickets can be purchased at the station or online. Taxis are also available, but they tend to be more expensive than public transportation.
Taxis in Pavia are widely available, particularly in the city center and near popular tourist attractions. Visitors can easily hail a taxi on the street or find one at a designated taxi stand. Taxis in Pavia generally have a metered fare system, with rates varying depending on the distance travelled. However, it's important to note that taxis can be quite expensive in Pavia compared to other modes of transportation. As such, it may be worth considering other options, such as buses or walking, for shorter distances. It's also recommended to agree on a price with the driver before beginning the journey to avoid any misunderstandings or surprises at the end of the ride.
Have a good trip!