Pavia in a weekend
On the trail of the Longobardi or among the cloisters of the University, without forgetting flavors and traditions
Its courtyards have been treaded by Ugo Foscolo and Alessandro Volta. We are talking about one of the world’s oldest universities (1361), which has enlivened the city of Pavia for the last and 700 years.
As you roam among the showcases of its museums, from that of comparative anatomy to Volta’s scientific cabinet, everything exudes science and history. Including the 18th century Botanical Gardens, where you can enjoy a break in the shade of a 45-metre high centuries-old plane tree.
In the city of Kings. The Lombard greatness (572-774) has left a strong sense of pride among the citizens of Pavia, as well as several testimonies in the city, like the three Crypts of Santa Maria alle Cacce, San Giovanni Domnarum and Sant’Eusebio, with magnificent “fibula” and “waterleaf” capitals. It is inspiring to admire from up close the Teodote stone plutei and the funerary gold jewelry, preserved at the Musei Civici del Castello Visconteo, a red brick fortress with huge towers at the wall corners.
History seen from up close. It happens in the Romanesque church of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro, which houses the remains of St. Augustine. Standing above the relics, the Arca, sculpted in 1362, stands out in its Carrara marble whiteness. It features reliefs depicting the Saint’s life. Another appointment with history is inside the Basilica di San Michele Maggiore, one of the best preserved Romanesque buildings in Europe. Here, in 1155, Frederick Barbarossa was crowned King of Italy, giving Pavia all the allure of a capital city.
Water and lights. You can navigate the river on boats known as “barcè” or narrow rowing boats, or cross it over one of the two bridges. The river Ticino is the large blue thoroughfare where you can discover the relaxed side of Pavia in the quaint Borgo Ticino. After dark, the best spot is the Ponte Coperto (covered bridge). From there, take a look at the arches of the nearby Ponte della Libertà, where the neon lights installed by artist Marco Lodola light up the city in blue, yellow and fuchsia.
Aperitif in the Oltrepò. Food, wine, culture, history and environment: a bold combination that enhances the excellence of a land of fine wines and ancient traditions. Among these, the salami of Varzi, a gastronomic gem of the Pavia Apennine, and the Cruasé, a traditional method rosé obtained from Pinot nero grapes grown in the Oltrepò. An excellent starting point for exploring the Valli del Vino. Or remember to mark your calendar for an event not to be missed: “Autunno Pavese Doc”. In search of flavours worth rediscovering.