PAVIA

 

Pavia is situated in the Po plane, by the Ticino banks, at only 56 km from the confluence of the two rivers and 35 km from Milan. The Civic Tower, the city centre, was more or less at 45° 11’ N and 009° 09’ E of Greenwich. The town was founded as a Roman colony in the first century B.C. in a land populated by Ligurians and Celts (the Levi and Marici tribes), in a strategic place for the waterway traffic. At the beginning it was called Ticinum, by the name of its river. What is left of the Roman town is the chessboard street plan and the brick vaulted sewerage system.
The tradition tells of another town (Papia vegia) situated a little bit up­stream by the boundaries of the Ticino valley, near Santa Sofia. Its inhabitants were however forced by misterious facts to leave it and a dove showed them where to found the new town, in the same place where afterward was built a church to St. Thomas. The legend says that were spi­rits and ghosts to destroy the walls and the buildings of Papia vegia. Maybe the tradition recalled a dispute among several tribes, put to an end by the Roman conquest.
Ticinum became municipium, with the right of Roman citizenship, and was enclosed in the Papiria tribe in 43 B.C.. Vitel­lius was proclaimed emperor in Ticinum in 69 A.D. In 268 M. Aurelius Claudius made the town his headquarters in the war against his rival Aureolus Aurelianus, and in 271 nearby the town he defeated the first invasion of German peoples (Suevs, Sarmats and Markmans). The emperor Honorius was in Ticinum in 408, when the rebellion led by Stilicon blew out. During the Ro­man Empire the town was one of the key places for the control of the Po plain; placed south of Mediolanum it was the last port for the waterway traffic going upstream the Po and the Ticino; there was a Mint and an arm factory. A stone bridge over the river Ticino was built in the last period of the empire and it withstood till the 14th century. In 452 the Huns sacked Ticinum and Mediolanum. In 476, at the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Horestes sought refuge here and was defeated by Odoacre. The small town was sacked and burnt by the Heruli who deposed the last Roman Emperor. The Ostrogothic king Theodoric made Ticinum one of his favourite towns together with Ravenna and Verona and he built a royal palace, an amphitheatre and the thermal baths. The town became the head of the Gothic war against the Byzantine Empire and maybe this is why in this period it was being called Papia or “the city of the palace”.
From 553 to 568 Pavia remained under the Byzantine rule and its fortifications were renewed. In 572, after three years of siege, it became the ca­pital of the Longobard kingdom. The tradition says that the Longobard king’s horse kneeled down within the city walls and stood up again only after the conquering king Alboin promised not to harm the people who opposed him for such a long time. Then, as a sign of peace, a woman made up and gave him a cake shaped as the Easter Dove. The Longobard nobles and warriors settled themselves by the old walls in the northeast of the town, in the place behind the pre­sent Mezzabarba Residence. During Queen Theude­linda times the Longobards were conver­ted from Arianism to Roman Catho­licism. Kings and Queens built several churches which we can still see al­though through their reconstruction. At the end of the Lon­gobard kingdom, Pavia held for nine months the siege of Charlemagne and his Frankish war­riors who had the help, as the legend tells, of Bishop St. Theodore’s miracles. During the following Caro­lingian and Saxon Empires Pavia was still ca­pital of Italy and several kings were crowned in St. Michael’s Basilica. Merchants from Pavia were granted special privileges and al­most all FeudalBishops had their representatives in the town that was also the seat of the Palace Law  Court and Administration. The waterway traffic from the East to Central Europe made the town rich and the presence of the Royal Court attracted streams of va­lued goods.
The plain around Pavia, reclaimed and improved by the Ro­mans through the “centuriatio” (a regularmeshed net of drainage and irrigation canals), degraded during the Barbaric period due to an irregular water distribution. Nevertheless the medieval monastic orders took care of it replacing the old net with a new one, while se­veral orders of knighthood gave protection from brigands and plunderers to the pilgrims travelling toward Rome and the Holy Land (in the 10th cent. invasions of Saracen pirates fre­quently arrived to the Alps). In 983 Peter Canepanova from Pavia became Pope with the name of John XIV, but he lasted only few months. Some years later the Roman peo­ple turned out the German Pope Gregory V who took refuge nearby Pavia for a year before going back to Rome supported by the imperial army to get his own revenge on his rival the antipope. In the 11th cent. Pavia became a free town (a commune). During the fights between the Emperor and the Pope it supported the Em­peror against the Lombard League. Frederick I (Barbarossa) was generous toward the capital of the Italian Kingdom and he helped to restore and rebuild many churches. The Twin Cathedrals, St. Michael’s, St. Peter’s, St. John’s and other churches were rebuilt during the 12th cent. giving Pavia a unique Roma­nesque outlook. In that time Pavia was told to be a licentious town due to the Uni­versity stu­dents. In the 12th cent. the Archipoet from Cologne sang:
Who is the one who won’t burn once put into the fire? Who is the one who will be able to remain chaste although living in Pavia, where Venus catches young men with her finger, chains them with her sight and con­quers them with her pre­sence? Every road lead to Venus’ beds, among many towers the missing one is the Virtue’s.
After two centuries the chronicler Petrus Azarius expressed a similar opi­nion concerning the way of life in Pavia during the Vi­sconti Age:
Pavia became a house of ill fame for corrupted women, who were many, and for the great number of corrupted young men. Neither God nor the Saints were ho­noured. Merry making, dances, singsongs and musical in­struments resounded everywhere. As the old traditions said, during the reli­gious vigils, men and wo­men lay together to enjoy carnal pleasures. (Chronicon Petri Azarii)
During those centuries bitter fights took place against Milan to gain the economic and political power until Pavia, conquered by the Visconti once in 1315 and definetively in 1359, remained chained to the rival town under the same Lordship.
The Visconti conquest strenghtened the political and economic supremacy of Milan, but offered Pavia a new season of artistic and cultural blossoming. The “Studium” founded by Lotarius in the 10th cent., became of­ficialy a University. The Visconti took care of the town image since they wanted to leave an indelible mark as sign of their power. They built the Castle after demoli­shing a whole district; they widened Strada Nuova (the old kardo maximus) making it the new town axis; they opened Piazza Grande, the square seat of the Town Hall (the present Piazza della Vittoria) and they rebuilt the bridge over the Ticino river once destroyed after a huge flood. As for some other medieval irregular winding bridges, also the one in Pavia was told to have been built by the Devil during just one night, in exchange of the soul of the first man who would have crossed it. Howe­ver the legend says that the Podestà made a dog cross the bridge before him, thus cheating the Devil.
A wide hunting park north of the Castle reached the Certosa delle Gra­zie Sanctuary which was intended to be the family mau­so­leum . In the same years St. Mary’s (Carmine) and St. Thomas’ churches were built.
In 1447 Filippo Maria Visconti died without heirs, therefore Pavia and Milan proclaimed themselves republics. However soon the towns fell under the Sforza rule (Pavia after only 33 days). The last one of them Lodovico il Moro was a patron and friend of Bramante, Leonardo da Vinci and many other artists. The new Cathedral works began during these years (but did not finish) and the University settled in the present place. In 1525, under the town walls, was fought the important battle between Spain and France, du­ring which the French king Francis I was captured. Among the episodes of this battle, the death of Lord from La Palice is the one remem­bered by generations of students with the sentence «fifteen minutes before dying he was still alive». A poetical play upon words made by soldiers or stu­dents made the word “lapalissian” synonim of everything obvious.
The victory of the Spanish imperial army led to a wave of strict Catholic rule, with many trials against heretics and witches and the expulsion of the Jewish bankers (here in Pavia, some decades befo­re, preached the blessed Bernard from Feltre who founded the pawnshops and legalized the banking system in the catholic society). From the 16th to the 19th cent. the town was under the French, Spanish and then Austrian rule. Its economic and cultural preminence declined little by little. The CounterReformation gave Pavia one of the first seminars (settled in St. Andrew’s church whose foundations can still be seen in Via Cavallotti under a mo­dern block of flats) and the two University colleges Ghislieri e Borromeo for University stu­dents. During the Baroque period almost every church within the town was restored and enri­ched with stuccoes. Sometimes, recently, the remo­val of the stuccoes in the effort to bring to light traces of Middle Ages damaged several works of art without, however, getting back the features of older ages. From the 18th cent. we have inherited some aristocratic residences (Mezzabarba, Olevano, Vistarino) and the Four Knights’ Theatre, designed by Bibbiena brothers, then renamed after the tenor Fraschini. In the middle of the 18th cent. the large scale introduction of rice farming improved the population nourishment but wor­sened the until then salubrious climatic conditions. The extension of the artificial damp areas made the foggy days more and more frequent and in addition spread malarial fever. During the Austrian Empire, Maria Theresa refounded and re­built the University; Joseph II nationalized the Seminar rebuilding it into St. Thomas’ church and supressed all monastries which be­came part of the state property. Only afterward, between the 19th and the 20th cent. some monu­ments were restored (St. Peter’s church is the most important example, but there are also St. Salva­tore and St. Mauro). By the national independence wars, Pavia was under the Sa­voyard king­dom and regained the territory which was severed du­ring the 17th cent. wars. The present “Provincia” (the land un­der the present administration) has more or less the same boun­daries of the old principality. We are used to define “historical centre” the town within the old walls, the ones demolished partly at the end of the 19th cent. and partly after the First World War. Neverthe­less, the town has old mo­numents outside the walls too and, in addition, some buildings of our age can be considered as “monuments” too. There­fore, the idea of “historical centre” is useful to recall that the whole town environment, with its streets, its buildings, even the less important, repre­sents the historical and cultural evidence to study, preserve and restore.
The widest extension of the preindustrial town kept itself within an area of 220 hectares closed into the medieval walls rein­forced by the 16th cent. bastions. The Roman town numbered 8,000 inhabitants and develo­ped to 40,000 in the first century after year 1000. Then wars, epide­mics and eco­nomic decay, made the population decrease to 18,000 units. In 1815 there were 22,000 people, but the begin­ning of industrialization caused a growth attracting manpower from the country.
In 1901 Pavia reached 39,000 people. Today the town, after having reached 89,000 people, hosts more or less 75,000 people excluding the University students (who are more than 23,000, considering both the local ones and those coming from outside the town). The built area is nowadays considerably wider than the “historical centre” enclosed into the old town walls.

 

Monuments

THE OLD TOWNHALL AND THE CIVIC TOWER (BROLETTO E TORRE CIVICA)
Both Broletto and the Civic Tower were for more than a thou­sand years the symbol of the autonomy and authority of the Free Commune. The former as the seat of the powers, of the election meetings and sometimes of the Notaries and Merchants’ Corporations; the latter, symbol built toward the sky to call and gather the people with the sound of its bells and to re­as­sert the Commu­ne’s power just beside the Cathedral. It is a composition that can­not be conceived separatly even if between the two monuments there is a distance of several metres. The Broletto is the oldest building in Lombardy belonging to the Commune Age. Its name comes from “Brolio” that is the area in which the people of a Free Commune used to gather. For almost a thousand years it has been the heart of Pavia. The west side of its yard is occupied by the Cathedral’s apse. Here there once was the Bishop’s Residence which in 1175 hosted Frederick I Barbarossa. In 1198 the Commune consuls turned it into a Town Hall by opening some beautiful threelightwindows on the first floor (Palatium Novum). In the period 123642 the building was restored and be­came seat of the Po­destà, of the Wise Men (or Consuls), of the One Hundred and then One Thousand Council. Other transfor­mations took place in the fol­lowing centu­ries. In 1412 were fini­shed in their present aspect the façades looking onto the yard. In 1539 was added to the southern side the Notaries Council’s Loggia and in 1563 was fitted into the main façade the present threefloor portico (with the 1564 staircase). In the façade’s porti­co where nowadays there is a clock, there used to be an altar with a statue of the Holy Virgin made by a master artist from Gandia (17th cent.). The statue has been re­cently restored and put on the façade. The Bro­letto ceased to be Town Hall in 1875. The northern part of the building looking onto Piazza Grande (Piazza della Vit­toria) was heavily restored in 1928 when a mullion window belonging to the older building came to light. Nowadays there is a chance that it could be completely restored in order to be used for a new pur­pose. According to the most recent research the construction of the most im­portant core of the Civic Tower is dated to the 11th cent. (1060). It was stout with the outer walls marked by pilasters de­cora­ted with ceramics of Oriental origin and encrusted with mar­bles and parts of sculptures of seve­ral origins (most of them were Roman ones). The picture of the Tower drawn by Opicinus de Canistris (14th cent.) is very famous: it is possible to see in detail also the wooden frame holding up the bells. During the years 1583  1585, the architect Pellegrino Pellegrini, named Ti­baldi, built the massive bellfry. The Tower hosted the Cathedral’s bells too till a fight pu­shed the Cathedral to build another steeple just for itself. At its base, some arcaeological excavations made in the Seven­ties, brought to light a foundry to cast bells and other workshops used to build the Twin Cathedrals in the 11th cent. After many years of poor maintenan­ce, the Tower fell down on 17 March 1989. Inside the Visconti Castle are still preserved many stone pie­ces of the old construction (the 16th cent. bell­fry and some ol­der pieces that were enclosed in the walls) and one of the two bronze suns that were in the middle of the big clock. The brick walls have been scattered, used  as it was said  to make road­beds.

THE VISCONTI CASTLE (CASTELLO VISCONTEO) AND ITS MUSEUMS
It is an imposing brick building with a square plan made by will of Gale­azzo II Visconti between 1360 and 1365, presumably fol­lowing architect Ber­nardo da Venezia’s layout. In the east wing Pa­squino Capelli was walled up alive. He was Duke Gian Galeazzo Vi­sconti’s first secretary and he was ac­cused of treason in 1398 after the defeat of the Visconti army in Man­tua. Pasquino Capelli was sewn alive into an ox’s skin still warm and then wal­led up for twenty days till the skin dried up and crushed him to death. After some time Capelli was proved to be innocent. The northern side of the castle with its two towers was de­stroyed by the artillery of Francis I in 1527. The three still exi­sting wings show several kinds of windows in the first floor loggia looking onto the inner yard and they refer back to the re­storations made during the first century of life of the building. In the castle there was also a large library with miniated co­dexes and some Petrarch’s manu­scripts and an astronomic clock showing the motion of all known planets. It was then turned into barracks with remarkable changes. Above all, at the end of the 18th cent. a general of Napoleon’s army decided to reinfor­ce it against the artillery shots by adding a large amount of soil and scraps on each vault. This caused a lot of troubles and in particular made the co­lumns of the inner portico sink. The restoration works began in 1911 and ended in 1935. At pre­sent, the castle hosts the Civic Museums and  temporarily  some col­lections belon­ging to the University which, however, are not shown to the public. The Ro­manesque reliefs collection is particu­larly remarkable as it co­mes from the no more existing churches. Then, there is the Renaissance woo­den model of the Cathedral as it was originally designed.

THE CARTHUSIAN MONASTERY  CERTOSA DELLE GRAZIE
It is one of the most magnificent monuments of the Lombard Renais­sance. The construction of the present building begun in 1396 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti in order to give his family a mo­numental mausoleum. Bernardo da Venezia, Giacomo da Cam­pione and Cristoforo Beltrami worked out the plan and directed the works. Between the Carthusian Mo­nastery and the Castle in Pavia there was a large hunting park sorrouded by walls. The monastery was then rebuilt in the middle of the 15th cent. with the present cloisters and the main body of the church was ended in 1473. The building of the façade went on also for the fol­lowing centuries and the monastery was enriched with several remarkable works of many artists till the end of the 18th cent. As this small guide leaves a too small space for this subject, it would be advisable to look for a specific book in order to be bet­ter guided in the visit of the monument. The first altar of the monastery, made of chiselled marble, is in Carpiano’s small church, that once belonged to the Carthusian monks as well as many other nearby farmhouses.

BORROMEO, GHISLIERI AND CASTIGLIONI UNIVERSITY COLLEGES
Borromeo College was built by will of St. Charles Borromeo, planned by archi­tect Pelle­grino Pellegrini, named Tibaldi, and constructed in the years 1564  1586. Its mass can be well distinguished by those who watch Pavia from the other bank of the river Ticino. Opposite the college there is a 15th cent. re­sidence belonging to the well known jurist Ca­tone Sacco. In the northern side of the square there is still a tower that was one of the bestloved pla­ces of the poetess Ada Negri. Ghislieri College, wanted by Pope Pius V Ghislieri, was planned by archi­tect Pel­legrino Pellegrini, named Tibaldi, and began in 1569. The yard under­went remarkable modifications following the Late Baro­que style by architect G.A. Veneroni in the 18th cent. The Neo­classic Style Administration Buil­ding was built by will of Napoleon to host a Mili­tary School. In the square it is possible to see: Pius V statue cast in bronze in 1697 by Francesco Nuvo­loni and Filip­po Ferrari; the façade of the desacrated St. Francis’ of Paula church, by architect G.A. Veneroni (173538) and the side of the 15th cent. women’s college Castiglioni which still preserves a chapel with se­veral fre­scoes ascri­bed to Vincenzo Foppa, Boni­facio Bembo and other important artists of the Lombard Renaissance (1475).

THE CATHEDRAL (DUOMO)
It is one of the most important projects of the Lombard Renais­sance. Begun in 1488 to replace two Romanesque Twin Cathe­drals, it was built following the drawings made by C. Rocchi, G.A. Ama­deo, G.G. Dolcebuo­no with some advice from Bra­mante, Leonardo da Vinci and Francesco di Gior­gio Martini. The works lasted for a long time: the dome (m 92,50  third in height in Italy after St. Pe­ter’s in Rome and Santa Maria del Fiore in Floren­ce) was erected in 1885 by engineer Carlo Maciacchini and only in 1895 a new façade replaced the ones of the two Roma­nesque Twin Cathedrals. Opposite the Cathedral there is the Bi­shop’s Residence (16th cent.). The Regisole Statue, made by Francesco Messina (1935) recalls an old statue, maybe of a Ro­man emperor, that was demolished during the French Revo­lution. The nearby Civic Tower dating back at the 11th cent., was the sym­bol of the Free Commune age and it fell suddendly down on 17 March 1989. The two transept’s wings were built in concrete during the years 1930  35. The inner part of the Cathedral is a complex or­ganism shaped as a Greek cross with a large central body sur­mounted by a magnificent dome held up by tall pillars with seve­ral series of capi­tals and frames. The origi­nal proportions were partially changed due to the several building phases which took place in different times. The crypt shows Bramante’s art in its mighty vaults with redu­ced arches. In the apse’s vault there is the big “Nivola”, a Baro­que wooden case co­vered by gold and silver in which some thorns of Christ’s crown are still preserved (as a re­membrance of the cults coming from Palestine during the Pilgrimage Age). The “Nivola” was built as a real scenic machine toward which the priest was lifted to take the relique.

PUSTERLA NUNNERY (THEODOTA’S NUNNERY)
Theodota, a girl belonging to a Romanesque family, was raped and then sent to a nunnery by the Longobard king Cunicpert in 638. By the small gate in the western walls called “pusterla” there was a small nun­nery then na­med after her. It was suppres­sed in 1798 and in 1867 turned into the pre­sent Episcopal Semi­nary. From this nunnery come some Longo­bard transen­nas pre­served in the Civic Museums and known as Theodota’s sar­cophagus. Also the 12th cent. silverlaminated crucifix presently in St. Michael’s church comes from the Pusterla’s well. Soun­dings and excava­tions at the end of the Sixties, brought to light some traces of a Longo­bardic tower and of a chapel dedicated to St. Michael. The present monu­ment still preserves a beautiful 15th cent. cloister with terra­cottas of Ama­deo’s school and fre­scoes dated 1491 by the painter Bernardino de Rossi. The beautiful chapel, following Bramante’s taste, shows a Greek cross shaped plan inscribed in a circle. Here too there are frescoes of the same age of the cloister’s ones. The “outside” church, dedicated to St. Andrew, was built in the Baro­que Age and it was ornated by fre­scoes and stuccoes.

ANCIENT WALLS, BASTIONS AND GATES
During the centuries, Pavia’s walls underwent many changes. The three main phases are the Late Ro­man, the High Medieval and the Commune Age one during which they were reinforced by mighty bastions in 1547 by the Spanish Governor Francisco Gonzalez. In these walls there were eight gates: Porta Borgoratto (Cavour), the present Mi­nerva Square; Porta San Vito (Milano); Porta Santa Maria in Pertica (Stoppa  Cai­roli); Porta Santa Giustina (Cremona  Garibaldi); Porta Nuova; Porta Salara; Porta Ticino; Porta Calcinara. The walls and the bastions were de­molished between the end of the last century and the beginning of the present one. Some parts of them can still be seen; above all: westward from the new Minerva pre­cinct; in the NorthWest Santo Stefano bastion called “La Rotonda” with the nearby Porta Milano behind the Vi­sconti Castle; some bastions of the eastern side (Santa Maria in Per­tica, Sant’Epifanio, Santa Giustina). Along Viale Lungoti­cino it is still possible to see the ruins of Porta Nuova (12th cent.) eastward and westward Porta Calcinara’s ones (15th cent.).

NAVIGLIO CANAL
Naviglio Canal’s plan, dreamt since the 15th cent., was ac­compli­shed only at the end of the 18th cent. In 1722, during the Austrian Empire of Maria Theresa, Paolo Frisi studied the projects to com­plete the canal so that it were completely naviga­ble. In 1805 the Napoleonic Government be­gan the building of an important hy­draulic structure planned by engineers Gius­sani e Giudici and pro­fessor Brunacci, that contemplated twelve locks. This technique was elaborated by Leonardo da Vinci to regulate the difference in level between Milan and Pavia and to hold back the water force. The Inau­guration took place in 1819 by the Au­strian Archiduke. In the gol­den years something as 1400 boats pulled by horses went through Pavia by this canal. It took eleven hours to go upstream from the confluence in Pavia to the wet dock in Milan. Nearby the Naviglio were built Borgo Cal­venzano Yards; a structure with a long portico with commercial activities connected with the water­way traffic.

MEZZABARBA RESIDENCE (PALAZZO MEZZABARBA)
The residence of Mezzabarba Counts was planned following the Late Ba­roque style (Rococò) by architect Giovanni Antonio Vene­roni in the years 17281730 and it became seat of the Town Hall in 1875. From the entran­ce and the hall rich in columns, it is possible to reach the hall on the the first floor (presently the Council Hall) painted with mythologic themes by Gio­vanni An­tonio Borroni from Cremona. Some other halls still preserve painted decorations and sometimes curious pieces of furniture. Next to the building there is San Quirico and Siro’s Oratory planned by Veneroni and completed in 1734. Drawn with an oval design, it is still decorated with two frescoes made by painter Ma­gatti on the wall and by painter Bianchi on the ceiling (Sts. Qui­rico and Giuditta in Glory). The original altar is nowadays in the Castle Museums.

PIAZZA GRANDE AND SAINT MARY’S CHURCH (WALTERII)
It opens itself in the heart of the town and it is sorrounded by 14th16th centuries porticos. The old Town Hall or Broletto (end of 12th16th cent.s, restored in 1928) onlooks the southern side. From its yard it is possible to see the Bramante Cathedral’s apses. Diversi’s Residence called “Red House” dates back to the end of the 14th cent. and was partly restored in 1935 with the re­con­struction of the original windows (a rich threelightwin­dow on the first floor). In the middle of its façade a faded 18th cent. fre­sco reminds of a “Lenten service” which took place in this square with great success. The Romanesque church of St. Mary’s, named after the deacon Walter or Gualtiero who founded it around year 1000, is nowa­days a place for exhibi­tions, conferences and projections owned by the Town Administra­tion. It un­derwent a twentyyear restora­tion that brought to light what had been cove­red by the building transfor­mations of the previous centuries.

THE COVERED BRIDGE (PONTE COPERTO, PONTEVECCHIO, PONTE TICINO)
The first bridge was built, as Bishop Crispinus’s Chronicle says, in the 2nd cent. A. D. Then, on the bridge’s sides opened up some shops and small workshops like those we can still see on the Old Bridge in Florence. Being damaged by the frequent floods, the bridge was rebuilt starting from 1351 following Gio­vanni da Ferre­ra and Jacopo da Cozzo’s plans. Some pillars from the Roman ti­mes were reused and the beginning and the end of the bridge were fortified with two towers with gates and draw­bridges. Only in the following years was added its peculiar roof. In the 18th cent. was built a small chapel in its middle consacrated to St. John Nepomuk that has beco­me one of the peculiar aspect of Pavia’s urban land­scape. Heavily damaged by 1944 bombs the bridge was demoli­shed in 1948 and in its place was built a new Covered Bridge slim­mer and wider with a con­crete skeleton cove­red with bricks in order to imitate the old shape.

ST. FELIX’S NUNNERY (MONASTERO DI SAN FELICE)
It is an old Benedictine nunnery whose foundation is ascribed to the last Longobard Queen Ausa, Desiderius’ wife. Suppressed in 1786 and turned into an orphanage, it presently hosts several Uni­versity Departments. It still preserves its Paleochristian church with a crypt enclosing three marble ar­ches once inlaid with semiprecious stones. The nunnery was rebuilt in the last years of the 15th cent. by Audriola de Barrachis who was an abbess and a painter (one of her paintings is in the Civic Museums). The fol­lowing resto­rations saved and better showed terracottas decora­tions whose taste recalls Amadeo’s workshop, and some fre­sco­es.

ST. FRANCIS’ CHURCH (SAN FRANCESCO GRANDE)
The church of the Franciscan Preaching Friars was begun in 1228 and en­ded in 1298. The apse, shaped as a Greek cross, is built on five large spans covered by pointed arches crossvaults. The long nave has a wooden truss roof. The building material is terra­cotta bricks like other churches in Pavia. The inner part of the church was completely modified from 1739 onward and covered by scagliola plaster in order to imitate marble; the nave was cove­red by three light vaults (two barrel and a cross one) and the pointed arches were rounded. In the northern side of the transept was built a chapel between 1711 and 1750 dedicated to the Imma­culate Virgin Mary following the plans of Giovanni Ruggeri and Antonio Longoni. It is richly de­corated with marble and gold plated bron­zes, with a “trompe l’oeil” in the cupola decorated with a clouded sky. Magatti’s frescoes and Bernardino Ci­ceri’s al­tar. The monastery whose façade had been already remade in the years 17071711 by the Roman architect Giovanni Ruggeri, was turned into the GermanHungarian College in 1782 and then mo­dified by architect Leopol­do Pollach. It was then turned into in­fan­try barracks. It presently hosts the Uni­versity College named after Cairoli Brothers.

ST. JOHN’S “OF THE WOMEN” CHURCH (SAN GIOVANNI DOMNARUM)
This really old church is situated in the inner part of a block and it was built on the old Roman Thermal Baths then turned into a Baptistery for the women, during the Longobard age. Accor­ding to some authors the church was consacrated to St. John the Baptist by Queen Gundiberga, Theudelin­da’s daughter. The crypt and the steeple date back to the 11th cent. buil­ding. The former preserves a really interesting cycle of medieval frescoes (11th13th centuries). The present façade has a terracotta rose window and other 15th cent. decorations. In a Renaissance cha­pel there is the ca­nonic Piz­zocaro’s tomb, venerated by many people as a saint. The present church was rebuilt with an only nave with side chapels in 1611.

ST. LANFRANC’S CHURCH
It is situated at 2.5 km west of Pavia. It was built by some monks co­ming from Vallombrosa and firstly dedicated to the St. Sepulcre. According to a manuscript chronicle, the church and the monastery were founded in 1090. The bishop Lanfranco Beccari died in Saint Sepulchre’s Monastery in 1198 shortly after he arri­ved there. He was buried in the nearby church and this is the rea­son why its name changed. St. Lanfranc’s church, shaped as a Latin cross, has an only nave divided into four spans. The transept’s wings more or less squareshaped are much longer than the central space. It needn’t a long observation to notice that the church’s plan is highly irregu­lar. The longitudinal axis bends right­ward beyond the nave, which meets the transept obliquely and the nor­thern part of the crossshaped plan is closed by a heavily crooked wall. All the nave’s sidewalls bend outward. The steeple was rebuilt in 1237. The façade completed in the half of the 13th cent. is the only de­corated part of the building. Inside the semicolumns’ capitals, cubeshaped, are extremely simple. The façade’s proportions hi­gher than the nave’s, are better shown by the upright lines of the angular buttresses and by the nice inbetween small columns. The portal and its frame are built in stone while the rest is all made of bricks except for one or two ba­sement layers. A large circular win­dow opened in the middle area at the back made the old opening disap­pear; beside it there are two small circular ope­nings belonging to the older building. Around 1460, abbot Luca Zanachi built the small cloister by the southern side of the nave. This nice structure reminds for its shape elegance and its terracot­tas’ style the famous clois­ters of the Carthusian Monastery in Pavia. The small cloister, however, was largely destroyed at the end of the 18th cent. and we can presently see only one of its si­des. Always to abbot Luca’s will are ascribed the wooden choir’s stalls. St. Lanfranc’s mausoleum, set behind the altar, was made toward the end of the 15th cent. by Cardinal Pallavicini who also rebuilt the choir in the present shape and promoted the widening of the mona­stery. The second cloister, built with elegant Re­nais­sance shapes following Bramante’s taste, still preserves tondos with painted saints.

ST. LAZARUS’ CHURCH
St. Lazarus’ small church, 1.5 km east of Pavia, was built in the middle of the 12th cent. It is a simple rectangular room cove­red by a truss roof. If the inner part of the building is not really intere­sting, the outside part, the façade. its sides and the apse are arran­ged with much elegance. On the façade we can notice a threelightwindow whose frame ends upward with two extre­mely flat arches placed on a wide shelf. No other church of Lom­bard style bears this nice kind of decoration. The windows’ frame extends the door’s one so that it joins all the openings with the same main drawing and divides the façade into three squares thus making it higher. The crow­ning is made of deep bowings placed on small columns and by a stout fa­scia kept up by brackets; then some maijolicas can be easily seen in the bowing gables. A simi­lar crow­ning runs around the apse and extends itself along all si­des. The Lombard architecture has never again made something more gra­ceful of this kind. Stones have not almost been employed; the marble small columns and capitals, doors’ bases and lintels are al­most the only parts of the building which are not made of bricks. These structures are highly remarkable for their shape regularity, the clearness of their profi­les and the materials’ quality and they give a good idea of the develop­ment of the 12th cent. industry in Pavia. St. Lazarus’ small church stands out for the elegance of its decorations and the beauty of its materials, su­perior to all the other Romanesque monuments in Pavia so that we can ask ourselves if the building, made in the middle of the 12th cent., was not re­built a hun­dred years later. With no doubt the church was constructed straight off with ma­terials coming from the same place, assembled by a skilled craft­sman, ordered and get under way by an architect owning the most delicate taste.

ST. MAIEUL’S CLOISTER (CHIOSTRO DI SAN MAIOLO)
It was a Benedictine (Cluniac) monastery built in 967 by Maieul, the ge­neral abbot of the order, to whose memory it was la­ter dedicated. It still bears traces of the Romanesque period, but, above all, shows a beautiful Renaissance cloister restored in the Sixties which nowadays hosts the State Archives. The church, seat of the Somaschi Order, presently desacrated and empty, is waiting to be newly employed.

OUR SAVIOUR’S  ST. MAURO’S CHURCH (SAN SALVATORE)
It was founded as a Longobard kings’ mausoleum, but then became one of the Benedictine monasteries spreading culture du­ring the Middle Ages. At the end of the 10th cent. it was ruled by abbot Maieul and recei­ved rich do­nations by Emperess Adelaide. In 1448 the monastery was joi­ned to the congregation of Santa Giustina from Padua and it was reorgani­zed. In the second half of the cen­tury the decoration of the inside was en­ded; following the Renais­sance taste with wooden golden frames which re­call St. Columba­nus’ Basilica in Bobbio. The altar, of golden chiselled stone, was made by Antonio de Novaria (1504). The most inte­resting fres­coes are those in the first and fourth chapels on the left (St. Maieul and Abbot St. Anthony’s sto­ries) and those of the last chapel on the left (St. Benedict’s story). Some of these stories may have been painted by Ber­nardino Lanzani from San Co­lom­bano who worked also in St. Mary’s of the Carmelites’ St. Mi­chael’s and St. Theodore’s churches and in Bobbio. The nearby monastery with its 15th cent. cloister and some other traces of its old splendor, has been recently abandoned by the Military Corps of Engi­neers and is waiting to be newly employed.

ST. MICHAEL’S BASILICA (SAN MICHELE MAGGIORE)
It is one of the masterpieces of the Lombard Romanesque architecture of the 12th cent. In this church were crowned the kings of Italy from the 10th to the 12th cent. (in its present reconstruc­tion only the crowning of Frederick I Barbarossa). It has a stout façade made of sandstone divided into three parts by pilasters and crow­ned by a small loggia. In the lower part there used to be some chi­selled fillets nowadays worn by weather and pollution. There once were six portals: three on the main façade, one in the northern tran­sept and two on its sides (presently walled). The base of the cupola as well as the apse are crowned by small log­gias, too. The inside, shaped as a Latin cross, has a threenave mighty structure based on pillars and covered by crossvaults. The wo­men’s galleries are above the aisles, the octagonal dome at the crossing of the arms, while the raised presbytery is based on the crypt. The church has an only apse. At a first glance it is possible to see that the construction bears several irregularities. Quick arches run along the transept and the apse’s walls. Some recently restored frescoes ornate the second span of the right ai­s­le. The high altar is decorated by reliefs made by masters from Campione (1383). On the opposite floor there are the re­mains of a mosaic bearing a Labirinth and a picture of the Months. In the southern transept a richly sculp­tured niche still bears fre­scoes showing the “Passing of the Virgin Mary”. This peculiarity was maybe linked with the kings’ crow­nings. In the chapel right of the presbytery there is a silver lami­nated crucifix (12th cent.) while in the apse a fresco showing the crowning of the Virgin dating the end of the 14th cent. The charming threenave crypt is based on small columns which still bear capitals older than the present building. It is also intere­sting to have a look at the apse from the Vicarage’s yard at the back of the church. The nearby Piazzetta Azzani still bears the plan and some architectural traces of the Romanesque disposi­tion: it used to be the entrance yard of the crowning trains.

ST. PETER’S BASILICA “IN GOLDEN CEILING” (SAN PIETRO IN CIEL D’ORO)
It is a Lombard Romanesque church and it was an important seat of Be­nedictine (Cluniac) Monks. Its foundation dates back to the Longobard age and is ascribed to the wise king Liutprand who brought St. Augustine’s reli­ques from Cagliari to Pavia. The buil­ding was raised to the present shape in the 12th cent. In the façade an only portal gives way to a large nave. All pillars, except for some differences in their ribbing, resemble one another but for the last one of each row. Arches and pillars divide both the nave and the aisles into five quite equal spans. The nave is not divided into large squared spans as in other Romanesque chur­ches, but shows narrow and oblong spans which relate to the squared divisions of the aisles. The tran­sept’s plan does not ex­tend itself beyond the sidewalls. It stands out just for its wide­ness and its barrellvaults. The nave’s crossing with the transept is covered with an octa­go­nal dome. The main apse opens itself directly on the transept without the span which is present in almost all Lombard churches like St. Ambrose’s in Milan and St. Michael’s in Pavia. Above the high altar the Gothic St. Augustine’s Ark stands out. It is a complex work made of marble, rich in statues and re­liefs made in 1362 by sculptors from Campione and Lombardy in­fluenced by Tuscan Art. The crypt preserves, behind the altar, a small modern sarcophagus with Severi­nus Boetius’ bones, Ro­man philisopher and King Theodoric’s advisor, killed by the same king for treason in 524. The writer Boccaccio in a short story of his “Decameron” sets in St. Peter’s the story of a nobleman named Torello da Strada who was magi­cally brought back to Pavia fron Sultan Saladin’s prisons.

ST. THEODORE’S CHURCH
It was originally dedicated to St. Agnes. When the body of St. Theodore, Bishop of Pavia from 736 to 778, was brought here, the church changed its name. As in St. Peter’s the tran­sept’s plan does not exceed the aisles and it stands out just for its different shape and its higher vaults (the octagonal dome is flanked by two barrelvaults following the Lombard style of Pavia). The crypt takes up the whole transept and apses’ area which is quite unique in the Romanesque churches in Pavia. The nave and the two aisles are covered by crossvaults and, as in St. Peter’s , the nave’s spans are as wide as the aisles’ ones. However here, unlike the other church, the cen­tral spans are squareshaped while the ais­les’ ones are oblong. Conse­quently, the nave has large squared spaces while the aisles are divided as the central area. The façade is not really interesting but for the portal’s sculptu­res. Its aspect changed greatly when the church was rebuilt du­ring the restoration at the beginning of this century. On the other hand, the whole aspect is really elegant above all due to the two superim­posed lanterns based on the dome. The building is made of bricks except for the capitals, the small co­lumns in the crypt and few other particulars. Also the external frames’ brackets are made of terracotta. The 12th cent. Lombard monuments show the great ability of the time to kiln and work bricks. At this regard St. Theodore’s is linked with St. Laza­rus’ small church. The decoration is really simple. In the pillars the cu­bicshaped semicolumns’ capitals are mainly without sculptures. The two frescoes in the first left span are extremely interesting and were painted by Bernardino Lan­zani in 1522 just after the battle between the French and the Spanish army to gain control over the town. He pictured the whole town from a great height with richness of details till the nearby area around the Carthusian Monastery. On the presbytery, made by the same painter, there are some stories about St. Agnes on the right and about St. Theodore on the left; under the latters some pictures showing the Fishermen’s Offers to the Bishop’s table.

ST. EUSEBIUS’ CRYPT (CRIPTA DI SANT’EUSEBIO)
This crypt is what is left of a Romanesque church built on the same place of an Arian Cathedral. The church rebuilt in the 17th cent. became part of the hospital but was then demolished to wi­den the present Piazza Leonardo da Vinci. The structure above the crypt was made in 1968. There can still be seen several 7th cent. capitals and an interesting vault structure (11th cent.). Around the apse there a re the remains of some capucinelike bu­ring places. The nice Romanesque frescoes restored in the Sixties are now weatherworn and almost disappeared.

OUR LADY’S OF THE CARMELITES CHURCH (SANTA MARIA DEL CARMINE)
It was built for the Carmelitan Preachers between 1370 and 1474. It shows a rectangular plan made up of modular squares bearing the same measures of the Carthusian Monastery. Its mo­numental façade is made of rosyred bricks of excellent quality. The inside is geometrically shaped by large brickwork arches, sli­ghtly pointed, based on cubic capitals. The buil­ding’s section is constructed “ad quadratum” and the height of both the aisles and the chapels is half of the nave’s one. The building technique ex­ploited for the vaults (which are not crossvaults but actually domeshaped) is the same used for the Visconti Castle. This could prove that the director of the building yard might have been Ber­nardo da Venezia. The church pre­ser­ves frescoes, paintings on board, 15th 18th cent. sculptures and, in the sa­cristy, a washbasin belonging to the Amadeo’s school (to which are re­la­ted also the rose windows’ brickwork on the façade).

ST. MARY’S CHURCH “IN BETHLEHEM”
It used to be a Crusaders’ church directly liked with the Bishop of the City of Jerusalem and it was known as “Madonna della Stella” (Virgin Mary of the Star). It was originally built outside the town walls along the road to the river Po leading the pilgrims to Rome or to the Holy Land. The church was covered with Baroque stuccoes and enriched by several chapels. The restoration made in the Fifties gave it the pre­sent outlook and brought to light some Romanesque capitals hid­den under the most recent stuccoes. Moreover it was discove­red un­der the floor the traces of an older church dating before the year 1000. Unfortunately these works destroyed almost all Baro­que stuccoes except those belonging to the “Madonna della Stella”. The present statue is still the one referred to by the legend: a fi­shermen’s boat agreed to accept on board a young mother and then suc­ce­ded in navigating upstream the river Po in just one night. The following morning the fishermen went inside the church and there they found the girl: she was perfectly alike the statue of the Virgin Mary.

THE CROWNED VIRGIN’S CHURCH (SANTA MARIA DI CANEPANOVA)
The construction of this church began in 1492 following a layout attribu­ted to Bramante. It shows an octagonalshaped dome inscribed in a square. The presbytery’s chapel belongs to the Ba­roque Age. The whole decoration both painted and sculptu­red da­tes to the 17th cent.: the altar’s marbles by Tomaso Orso­lino from Genoa, the fresco showing the Sibyls, the painting by Guglielmo da Caccia called Moncalvo, the delicate still life by G.B. Longone from Monza and the picture painted by Giulio Ce­sare Pro­caccini and his son Camillo. The church belonged to the Barnabite Order and its monastery is nowadays seat of an High School. Presently it belongs to the Franciscans. Behind the church there is part of the 15th cent. small cloister, previously yard of a private residence and the modern Franciscan Monastery made by architect Carlo Moran­dotti (1932).

OUR GRACEFUL LADY’S  ST. THERESA’S CHURCH
This sanctuary was built for the image of the Virgin Mary pain­ted in 1578 along the road to Cremona. The wall with the painting was brought in the second left chapel of the new church bagun on 5th August 1609. The pain­terarchitect G.B. Tassinari from Pavia took part to drawing of the church’s plan. The buil­ding, still unfi­nished, was restored and decorated in 1824 by Bi­shop Luigi Tosi who added a steeple. The 18th cent. altar is nowadays in Villareg­gio’s small church between San Genesio and Certosa. The inner part is mighty with an only nave accor­ding to the Jesuits’ archi­tec­tural rules after the Council of Trento. It also shows some paintings by brothers G. Mauro and G. Battista della Rovere called “Fiammen­ghini”.

ST.S GERVASIO AND PROTASIO’S CHURCH
The tradition says it was the first church built in Pavia in the 4th cent. by San Siro near the cemetery outside the walls. Some Paleo­christian and Ro­manesque sculptured fragments are still preserved (to the 11th12th centu­ries reconstructions belong the steeple and the crowning bowing on the highest part of the nave). In the 18th century the church was comple­tely remade and its orientation was reversed (the old apse is on the pre­sent en­trance side). In the inner part there is the stone urn in which there used to be San Siro’s bo­nes and a Romanesque basrelief which pictu­re him.

ST.S PRIMO AND FELICIANO’S CHURCH in monte joci
The church still has a Romanesque façade together with some parts of its walls. It was named “in monte joci” because it was on a rise and maybe because nearby an amphitheatre. The inside was remade in the 17th cent. There is a triptych on board dating 1498 signed Agostino da Va­prio showing the Virgin Mary some Saints and the person who ordered the painting. The right aisle added in the 15th cent. bears frescoes with Gian Galeazzo Maria Sforza’s coat of arms. It is also possible to see a coloured St. Blaise’s statue (14th cent.) and in a secluded part of the church a large fre­sco of the 15th cent. picturing Jesus with the Apostles and another one, dated 1491, with the Souls of the Purgatory.

FRASCHINI THEATRE (previously Four Knights’ Theatre)
In 1771 four gentlemen founded a theatre called of the Four Knights which in 1869 became the Civic Theatre then called Fra­schini after the name of the wellknown tenor from Pavia. The first show, Metastasio’s “Demetrio”, took place on 24 May 1773. The theatre’s layout was drawn by Antonio Galli Bibbiena who also built the theatre in Bologna and died in 1774 just a year after completing the theatre in Pavia. This theatre bears four tiers of boxes ornated by several classi­cal fascias overlapped. It was reopened in December 1994 after a restoration lasted 10 years which gave room to several disputes. During the restoration period have also disappea­red many statues and pieces of furnitu­re.

THE UNIVERSITY
The “Studium” in Pavia was founded in the 10th cent. and it is reported in Lotario’s Diploma in 961. It was reorganized four centuries later by the Visconti family who settled it in the present place and gave it the statute of a free University. It was an important cultural centre also for foreign students and it also was one of the first centres of the Protestant Reformation in Italy then held back after the Council of Trento. It has been made famous by distinguished masters such as: J. Cardan, L. Valla, A. Volta, U. Fo­scolo, G.B. Romagnosi, Porro, Forlanini. In this University in 1777 gra­duated Pellegrina Amoretti the very first woman who accompli­shed the course “in utroque jure” (Canonic and Civil Law). The central building of Neoclassical taste was reformed by will of the Austrian Emperess Maria Theresa by architects Giuseppe Piermarini and Leopold Pollach at the end of the 18th cent. It encloses four yards placed on a Greekshaped plan, owned by the old San Matteo Hospital dating back to 1449. To be noted: the Staircase of Honour (1823), the Library hall dedicated to Maria Theresa, the Sforza Hospital Yard with its cotto decora­tions among which “St. James’ shell” stands out as a symbol of pilgrimages and hospitals. The Aula Magna’s façade (1850) bears Neoclassic shapes and imitates the layout of an old temple with Corinthian capitals. Opposite the old hospital’s wall there is a copy of the Mantegazza’s Piety basrelief whose original (15th cent.) is nowadays preserved in the Civic Museums.

 

 

 

ITINERARIES

MEDIEVAL AND ROMANESQUE PAVIA

(11th  13th centuries)

The Romanesque walking itinerary begins in the Castle Archeological Mu­seums where a rich range of sculptures from St. Stephen’s and St. Mary’s churches is preserved. They were the old Twin Cathedrals, demolished to leave space for the present one. In addition, we can find sculptures from St. John’s church demolished to widen Borromeo College in the 19th cent. Here we also have the opportunity to see from a short distance the portals, the façades’ multicoloured decorations and the sculptures with their unfinished particulars.

From the Castle we can reach the nearby St. Peter’s church (12th cent.) whose asymmetrical façade still bears the mark of an old portico. As in every remarkable Romanesque church in Pavia, we can see in the middle of its façade an unusual crossshaped window between two “eyes”. The nave’s vaults, here as in St. Michael’s, were rebuilt at the end of the 15th cent. with a new te­chnique: in this church maybe to replace a wooden golden cei­ing, while in St. Michael’s because the too heavy Romanesque vaults began to fall down. St. Peter’s crypt was remade at the beginning of 1900 during the restoration works followed after a century of decay. In the monument behind the altar, masterpiece of Gothic sculpture, is bu­ried Saint Augustine. In the crypt, in a modern shrine, are preserved Severinus Boethius’ bones and at its back there is a well whose water is told to have ailing properties. As in other sacred places, underground waters influenced the choice where to build a sanctuary. In the nave right to the stairs leading to the altar, we can find King Liutprand’s buring place. He was a wise Lon­gobard legislator.

Once crossed the wide Viale Matteotti, go straight on to Piazza Petrarca then turn left on Via Malaspina. Here we can find the ruins of St. Zeno church’s ap­ses, where was once buried Pe­trarch’s nephew who died young. In the house next to it one of the church’s aisles is still preserved. St. John’s church, oncealed in the inner part of a block, shows a beautiful Romane­sque steeple, some siderooms with traces of Medieval paintings and a crypt with an extremely fascinating irre­gular plan, columns from Roman monuments and 11th cent. frescoes (Christ in Glory, The Baptism of Jesus, Saints). This church, wanted by the Longobard Queen Gundi­berga, Theudelinda’s daughter, was built in the same place where there used to be one of the Roman Thermal Baths. It also had a women’s Bap­tistery.

In Piazza della Vittoria (Piazza Grande) the restoration of St. Mary’s Walterii’s church has been recently finished. It is a 11th cent. church which still bears the name of its founder; it is rich in frescoes and it is presently used to host concerts and exhibitions. At the other end of the square, we can see the Broletto: the 12th  13th cent.s Town Hall. Its façade was heavily resto­red in 1928, but the inner yard is worth being seen.

Walking along Via Omodeo and flanking the Civic Tower’s ruins (the 11th cent. tower fallen down on 17th March 1989), we arrive in Piazza Duomo the old “ Atrio di San Siro” where there once were two Twin Cathedrals whose rests we have already seen in the Castle’s Museums.

Then, choosing the narrow and sloping Via dei Liguri, we walk through the old Jewish ghetto once called Rovelecca. At the end of it, we turn right on Via Cardinal Maffi and from this place we can see the wonderful fore­shortening of St. Theodore church’s apses and its base of the cupola (13th cent.). This church is like a small jewel. It is all made of bricks with a threefloor base of the cupola and a 16th cent. small lantern based on the top of it. Inside it is rich in frescoes dating from the 13th to the 16th cen­tu­ries among which the famous view of Pavia taken from a great height (1522) showing the town in detail. The crypt, wide as the whole church, is intere­sting for its capi­tals with grotesque images among which several twotailed mer­maids stand out.

Going back on Via Maffi and keeping straight on, we arrive to St. Mi­chael’s church, the most important and typical example of Romanesque ar­chitecture in Pavia. Besides visiting the church insi­de, it is worth walking around the outside walls, among big vaults and ruins of old towers, just to taste its outward part and its fitting in the town context.

Don’t forget to have a look at the Vicarage’s yard from Piazzet­ta Azzani (which still bears its Medieval look on a whole side and frames the mighty transept’s front) to see from a short distance the magnificent apse, with the signs of the sandstone corrosion. From Piazzetta Azzani we can reach Vicolo San Colombano . San Colombano’s small church (13th cent.) has been re­cently re­stored as a private residence. Then, walking toward Via Porta, we turn left between the two Romanesque towers built as ornaments to private residences: don’t forget that Pavia was called the “onehundredtowers town” (but they were more than one hundred!). On the right we can see Santa Mostiola’s Nunnery, desacreted in the 18th cent. and then home of a Youth Institution no more working nowadays. In order to better taste its Ro­manesque remains, turn right on Via Ressi. We will be able to see through an open garden door the octagonal base of the cupola, the apses’ ruins and what is left of the nunnery. This garden is uncorrectly known as “the Longobard kings’ garden”. We end our itinerary at St. Primo’s church which, with its restored façade and remade inside, stores precious paintings of the 14th  15th centuries.

 

 

PAVIA IN THE VISCONTI AND SFORZA TIMES

(14th  15th centuries) Also this itinerary begins in the Visconti Castle as it was the symbol of more than two centuries dominion of the Visconti and Sforza families (from the second half of the 14th to the first half of the 16th cent.).

At this purpose, we can see inside the castle the frescoes and pain­tings rich collection and a wooden model of the Cathedral.

From this starting point, go straight on to Strada Nuova, the old town Kardo reopened and restored by the Visconti, which from that time took the present name. Then, keeping straight on in order to reach Piazza Grande (Piazza della Vittoria) we pass the University, settled by Lodovico il Moro in the previous Azzone Visconti’s residence of which it still keeps some traces. Once in the square, we can see the “Red House” or  “Diversi’s House” built in 1376  1383 by Nicolino de Diversi who was “maestro delle entrate” (financial officer) at the Visconti court.

From Piazza della Vittoria we can reach St. Mary of the Car­meli­tes’ church whose project is strictly entwined with the Castle one, both for hi­sto­rical and stylistic reasons. Then, arriving in Corso Cavour we can look upward to discover the 15th cent. Cristopher Bottigella’s Tower by the UPIM Department Store. Inside the opposite building it is still preserved a wide hall with hanging terracotta capi­tals that was part of Bottigella’s Residence then enclosed in the Senatore’s Monastery.

We now approach the Cathedral (Duomo), whose construction began in 1488 by will of Cardinal Ascanius Sforza. In the nearby Via Menocchio we can visit the 15th cent. Theodota’s Nunnery enclosed in the present Episcopal Seminary. Going down the flight of steps we are now in Via Regina Adelaide where the house built by will of Bishop Grassi at the beginning of the 15th cent., stands out for its restoration conceived to achieve a styli­stic integration. Walking down Via Porta Pertusi, we can reach the remains of the Eustachi’s Residence with its beautiful portal. Also this building, owned by the town municipality, was restored by architect E. C. Aschieri in 1965. The Eustachi were a fishermen family from which was born Pasino degli Eu­stachi Captain of the Ducal Fleet which defeated the Venetians in the naval battle on the river Po. In Via dei Liguri, going back toward the Cathedral just before reaching St. Maieul’s Cloister, we can still see a fine Gothic portal with the emblem of Christ and two monograms.

The Covered Bridge over the river Ticino is a bad copy of the one built in the middle of the 14th cent. and destroyed in 1948 because of the dama­ges of the 1944 bombs. The present bridge is a faint copy of the original, with a concrete structure covered by bricks.

Between Via Alboino and Via Porta Nuova there is a quite big residence of the Visconti Times which was in origin larger and also enclosed a wider yard. The restored remaining part is still charming and looks onto a garden. It also has interesting rooms of the 18th cent. which can’t be visited as they are presently part of a private residence.

In St. Primo’s church we can see the Sforza times nave with interesting frescoes and a marble statue of the saint (14th cent.).

On the nearby Via Bernardo Sacco stands out the Lonati Resi­dence’s por­tal with a memorial tablet of 1456. The inside part has been remade during our century. In Piazza Borromeo there is the former Sacco College (the present St. Margherita Hospital).

In Via Foscolo it is important to visit the Cornazzani Resi­dence. This house is a beautiful building of the 15th cent. still preserving some inte­resting fre­scoes; it is also called “Foscolo’s House”.

We close our itinerary with a visit to Bottigella’s Residence in Corso Maz­zini by Piazza del Municipio (the present Gandini College),Saint Mary’s church (planned by Bramante), Cavagna’s Residence in Via Defendente Sacchi (recently restored) and Castiglioni College with its really interesting cha­pel covered with frescoes.

Outside the old town walls there are several interesting building to visit such as: St. Salvatore’s church (St. Mauro), St. Lanfranc’s small cloister, Mirabello Castle, Caselle Farmhouse (Zerbolò), Belvedere Farmhouse (nearby Scarpone area on the road to BroniStradella) and, of course, the Carthusian Monastery.