Pavia: what to see, where to eat and what to do in the evening

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Lluis Enric Mayans

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Pavia is a city located just south of Milan, easily accessible and the perfect destination to escape the chaos of the Lombard capital. Crossed by the Ticino river, it is famous for its chartreuse, For the 'University and for the Visconteo Castle. Despite its small size, the city is full of treasures, and is ideal for spending a couple of days between culture and relaxation. So here it is what to see, where to eat and what to do in the evening in Pavia.


  1. 10 things to see in Pavia in a weekend
  2. What to see in Pavia in one day: recommended itinerary
  3. Where to eat in Pavia: the best restaurants
  4. What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Pavia
  5. Plan your stay in Pavia: info and useful tips
  6. User questions and comments

10 things to see in Pavia in a weekend

1 - Church of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro

It is a church a little out of the center but easily reachable on foot, with the typical facade of Romanesque churches and a peculiarity inside: theArk of Sant'Agostino, placed in the presbytery around 1360, made of marble. Probably the work of two different artists, it is composed of 50 bas-reliefs and 95 statues, and houses the bones of Saint Augustine of Hippo. The crypt and the frescoes in the left aisle are also very interesting.

  • from the station it can be reached by bus 4 in a few minutes, on foot it is about 1 kilometer and it is necessary to take a small stretch of the Strada Provinciale dei Giovi. From piazza della Vittoria it is advisable to walk on via XX Settembre, it takes about 10 minutes - Get directions
  • in the morning from 7:00 to 12:00 and in the afternoon from 15:00 to 19:00
  • Free

2 - Charterhouse

It is certainly the most famous and important attraction in Pavia, although it is located a little outside the city. There chartreuse it is a monumental and historical complex which includes a monastery and a sanctuary. Built at the end of the fourteenth century at the behest of Giangaleazzo Visconti, lord of Milan, to comply with the vote of his wife Caterina and as a family mausoleum, it is built in various architectural styles, from late Gothic to Renaissance. Of particular charm is the facade of the sanctuary, built at different times and by various architects, however, we owe the sumptuous portal to Briosco, loaded with elements as required by the Lombard Renaissance architectural tradition. The cloisters are also very interesting, one of which is large.

  • Car is recommended, coming from Milan you will meet the Certosa before the city, about 8 kilometers from the center, on the provincial road 35. From the city center, however, towards Milan, it takes about 15-20 minutes to reach it. From Pavia station there is bus 175 which arrives there in about 15 minutes. Get directions
  • in the morning from 9:00 to 11:30, in the afternoon from 14:30 to 16:30 from October to March, at 17:30 in April and at 18:00 from May to September.
  • Free

3 - Visconteo Castle and Civic Museums

Il Visconteo Castle it is a majestic complex always wanted by Galeazzo Visconti, who began its construction in March 1360. It must have been a palace dedicated to entertainment, but some of its elements actually recall a castle: the towers, the moat, the drawbridge. However, it is enough to enter to understand that here was really a place to party, the frescoes that completely covered the ceilings of the rooms are still recognizable, but nothing remains of the original furniture and the well-stocked library (apparently started by Francesco Petrarca). There is a beautiful internal courtyard and also an elegant loggia. Also of great interest Civic Museums housed inside the Castle, they boast spectacular collections from archeology to eighteenth-century painting, ideal for understanding the history of the city.

  • from the station it is about 1,5 kilometers away (it is next to the Church of point 1!) and therefore you can walk along the green of via Matteotti and reach it in just over 5 minutes. By public transport there are buses 3,7, or 4 and they take about 15 minutes. From Piazza della Vittoria it can be reached with a comfortable walk on Strada Nuova of about 10-12 minutes, 1 kilometer away. Get directions
  • open every day, except Mondays, from 14:30 to 18:00, in the morning only for groups by reservation. On Saturdays and Sundays it is open from 11:00 to 19:00 and in the months of May, June and September the opening on Fridays is extended until 22:00.
  • € 8,00 for admission to the Museums.

4 - Victory Square

Victory Square it has always been the heart of the city, and it still is today! Beautiful and large square, very lively, center of commerce but also, in the past, of legal proceedings: here even executions were held. The most significant building is that of Broletto, in the south side of the square, where the meetings were held and justice was administered. Here, with the outdoor tables, we can not only admire the square and its buildings but also have a coffee or an aperitif.

  • by public transport, from the station there is bus 6 which takes about 15 minutes. The distance is 900 meters and therefore you can also walk along Corso Cavour, it will not take more than 10 minutes. Get directions
  • always accessible
  • Free

5 - Cathedral of Pavia

In front of the beautiful Pavia Cathedral we can observe the equestrian statue of Regisole. Unfortunately it is not the original, which was demolished after the French Revolution as a monarchical symbol. The Cathedral is dedicated to Santo Stefano Martire and Santa Maria Assunta. It rises in the place where, before its construction, there were two early Christian churches, dedicated to pagan cults, and later two Romanesque churches. In 1400 the people of Pavia obtained the construction of a Cathedral whose magnificence and sumptuousness was comparable to the Mosque of Santa Sofia in Istanbul. It remained unfinished, as you will notice in the façade, but the original intent is evident: the octagonal masonry dome is 92 meters high and the entire church is imposing. Inside, very bright, there is a wooden carved pulpit with the 12 apostles.

  • it is just behind Piazza della Vittoria, a few meters away, so it is advisable to move on foot. From the station you can always take bus 6 or walk there, it takes about 10 minutes. Get directions
  • open in the morning from 7:00 to 12:00 and in the afternoon from 15:00 to 19:30
  • Free

6 - Church of San Teodoro

In the direction of the riverside, the facade of the Church of San Teodoro it is not very visible because it is closed between the cobbled alleys, but its interior is a real jewel. There are, in fact, splendid frescoes very well preserved, including the cycle of the stories of Sant'Agnese and that of the stories of San Teodoro. However, the highlights are the views of Pavia on the wall and on the counter-façade: if we dwell on these, which are considered to all intents and purposes the first existing plants of Pavia, we will notice a large number of towers that have almost completely disappeared today.

  • from Piazza della Vittoria it is 500 meters away and can be reached by following via Jacopo Bossolaro in a few minutes on foot. From the station you can take bus 3C and get off at the Cavour-Tribunale stop, it is about 450 meters away, in all it will take 10 minutes. Get directions
  • in the morning from 09:00 to 12:00, in the afternoon from 15:00 to 19:00
  • Free

7 - Basilica of San Michele Maggiore

La Basilica of San Michele Maggiore it was the site of many coronations, the most famous certainly that of Frederick Barbarossa in 1155 (we can see the exact point, inside, marked by five marble circles on the floor). It is of great artistic interest because it is a masterpiece of the medieval Romanesque style. Unfortunately it has undergone a serious process of decay over the centuries, because its facade was built with sandstone which is very fragile. The Basilica has two entrances, one in the main facade and one on the left side, with portals richly decorated with statues. Inside, the frescoes are very beautiful.

  • from piazza della Vittoria it is 500 meters, in the same direction as San Teodoro, but once on Corso Garibaldi it is necessary to turn left, it is a few minutes' walk. From the station there are buses 95-6-21 and it is necessary to get off at the Mazzini-Cavallotti stop, from there it is about 500 meters. The journey by public transport takes about 10 minutes. Get directions
  • On Mondays it is open from 9:00 to 12:00 and from 14:30 to 17:00. From Tuesday to Saturday from 9:00 to 17:00, and on Sundays from 9:00 to 10:00 and from 11:30 to 17:00.
  • Free

8 - Covered Bridge and Riverside

It is very suggestive in Pavia to take a walk on the riverfront. The famous one connects the two banks of the Ticino Covered Bridge, a five-arched bridge completely covered with two portals at its ends and a religious chapel in the center. On the other side of the river you can also visit Borgo Ticino, a district of Pavia with colorful houses overlooking the river. Pay attention to it: on their walls there are the levels the river reached during the floods of the city's history.

  • from piazza della Vittoria it is sufficient to go straight for 600 meters on Strada Nuova, from the station there is the 3C bus and it takes about 7 minutes. Get directions
  • always accessible.
  • Free

9 - Strada Nuova and Arnaboldi Dome

Strada Nuova it is the most famous street in the city and deserves a nice walk because, together with Piazza della Vittoria, this is where the people of Pavia spend their free time to enjoy the beautiful city. But this ancient road again has only the name: once it was the thistle of the Roman city and today it crosses Pavia from Ponte Coperto to the castle for more than 1 kilometer. Going up the road, at a certain point on the right you enter an elegant gallery surmounted by Arnaboldi dome, built in iron and glass and more than 32 meters high, it will remind you of the domes found in the most famous galleries in Naples and Milan.

  • from the station it is about a kilometer, there are buses 6 or 3C which take about 10 minutes. Piazza della Vittoria, on the other hand, is located right on Strada Nuova and therefore from there, on foot, continue to the covered bridge over the river for the entire walk. Get directions
  • always accessible.
  • Free.

10 - University and Museum

Always continuing on Strada Nuova at a certain point you meet the famous one University of Pavia, one of the oldest in the world, where people of the caliber of Alessandro Volta, Ugo Foscolo and Carlo Goldoni have studied and taught. The structure is very large and consists of numerous courtyards on which the various rooms overlook. Crossing the university you arrive in the square where you can admire three of the five medieval towers still standing in the city. Many, in fact, have been lowered and incorporated into the buildings. In the fresco of San Teodoro, if we wanted to count them, there were 36 towers, including the bell towers, although it seems that there were much more in the city. Their function was a simple frieze, the result of a sort of competition between powerful families to see who had the highest tower. The university hosts the Museum for the history of the University, which exhibits scientific and medical equipment dating back to the Middle Ages. There is also a botanical garden with roses and medicinal plants.

  • from the station you can take buses 3C or 3, it is just over a kilometer and it takes about 10-15 minutes. From Piazza della Vittoria it can be easily reached on foot, just continue for about 300 meters on Strada Nuova. Get directions
  • the Museum for the History of the University is open on Mondays from 14:00 to 17:00, on Wednesdays from 9:00 to 12:00, on Fridays from 9:00 to 13:00. It is also open some Saturdays in the afternoon but it is necessary to consult the website.
  • € 5,00 for the Museum.

What to see in Pavia in one day: recommended itinerary

To visit Pavia in one day, here are our tips.

Morning - we take a walking tour of the center and leave with a nice breakfast at the Pasticceria Vigani, after which we can visit the Church of San Teodoro Basilica of San Michele Maggiore and Pavia Cathedral, which do not require long visits and are within walking distance of each other, finally we can visit the Visconteo Castle and Civic Museums which only open in the late morning, it will take about an hour. After all this wandering we will be hungry, we stay nearby and have lunch at the Osteria alle prisons, with typical dishes of the Pavese cuisine and fair prices.

Afternoon - after having refreshed ourselves, we leave the center by 14:00 and take advantage of the early afternoon to visit the chartreuse: to reach it, by bus or by car, it takes about 15-20 minutes. The visit certainly takes an hour and a half / two: be careful because in winter it closes at 16:30, but if we go there in spring or summer we have more time. Then we go back to the center and we dedicate ourselves to a relaxing tour! Let's start from Square of Victory and we go down on Strada Nuova, we visit the courtyards of University (maybe it is on Saturday afternoon when the Museum is open), let's admire the Arnaboldi dome, then we go down the riverside, take a nice walk on the Covered Bridge. The whole walk won't take us more than an hour, an hour and a half - it's all very close. Going back, we just have to visit the Church of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro which is open until 19pm.

Sera - for dinner we go back to the center (it is 700 meters from the Church, really within reach) and we taste good local wine at Enoteca Infernot, you can have excellent tastings, even food, and the chocolate cake is excellent!
After dinner we can end the day drinking an excellent cocktail at Room46: it is necessary to cross the Covered Bridge, it is just over a kilometer, but how beautiful in the evening on the Ticino!

One day itinerary at a glance

  1. Breakfast at Pasticceria Vigani.
  2. Church of San Teodoro - opening hours: from 9:00 to 12:00 and from 15:00 to 19:00 - Free
  3. Basilica of San Michele Maggiore (opening hours: from Tue to Sat from 9:00 to 17:00 - Free)
  4. Cathedral of Pavia (opening hours: from 7:00 to 12:00 and from 15:00 to 19:30 - Free)
  5. Visconteo Castle and Civic Museums (opening hours: Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 to 19:00. Ticket price: € 8,00)
  6. Lunch at Osteria alle prisons
  7. Certosa (opening hours: from 9:30 to 11:30 and from 14:30 to 16:30 - Visit with free offer)
  8. Victory Square
  9. Strada Nuova - Università - Arnaboldi Dome (the cost of the ticket is € 5,00 for the visit to the university museums)
  10. Riverside, Covered Bridge
  11. Church of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro
  12. Dinner at Enoteca Infernot

Where to eat in Pavia: the best restaurants

  1. Osteria alle prisons: typical dishes, risotto, homemade pasta
    Average price per person: € 30,00
    Address and contacts: via Fratelli Marozzi, 7 (Get directions) / tel: (+39) 0382301443
  2. Infernot wine shop: wine tasting, sliced ​​platters, meat, desserts.
    Average price per person: € 40,00
    Address and contacts: via Lorenzo Mascheroni, 48 (Get directions) / tel: (+39) 3484668519
  3. Lino restaurant: traditional dishes, homemade pasta, refined dishes
    Average price per person: € 40,00
    Address and contacts: piazza del Lino, 15 (Get directions) / tel: (+39) 03821803920

What to do in the evening: the nightlife areas and the best clubs in Pavia

In the center of Pavia there are many places to have a drink after dinner, as well as numerous wine bars, but also pubs and discopubs. Certainly the liveliest areas of the city are there Strada Nuova, where the citizen "rub" is made, and then Square of Victory with tables outside in the summer, also do not miss the small streets around.

The best pubs, clubs and discos

  • Discopub Tarek: venue with Arabic music and specialties, belly dance, ideal for birthday parties / Address: via Vigentina, 19 (Get directions) / Facebook page
  • Room46: restaurant specializing in cocktails and aperitifs, wine tasting / Address: via dei Mille, 46 (Get directions) / Facebook page
  • Pozzo American bar since 1983: historic place specializing in cocktails and aperitifs, theme nights / Address: Strada Nuova, 4 / C (Get directions) / Facebook page

Plan your stay in Pavia: info and useful tips

  • the best way to reach Pavia is by car, given its proximity to the motorway, however, even by train the city is well served. There are two stations: Pavia Station (1,5 km from the center, about 15 minutes on foot), and Pavia Porta Garibaldi (about 3 km from the center, 30 minutes on foot).
  • Getting around: Pavia is a small city and its historic center full of attractions can be easily explored on foot. The only complex for which it is necessary to move is the Certosa (car or bus). City buses are guaranteed by the Atoguidovie Pavia company, which offers urban and extra-urban lines. The urban ticket costs € 2,00, while the Urban Area 1 ticket costs € 2,30. It is possible to buy the booklet of 10 tickets which costs € 12,00.
  • Where to park: Pavia has ZTL everywhere so it is better to leave your car in the parking lots. There are also free ones, such as the parking in via Moruzzi (Get directions), or in via Alzaia (Get directions). In Piazza Ghislieri there is a very convenient guarded parking at a cost of € 2,00 per hour and free on holidays (Get directions)
  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 45,50 per room -
  • What to see in the surroundings: the Certosa is 8 kilometers away, the city of Milan 34 kilometers away, Piacenza around 52 kilometers away and Voghera around 34 kilometers away. In the surroundings of the Pavia countryside there are many farmhouses and farmhouses.

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