Covered bridge (Old bridge) over Ticino river, Pavia, Lombardy, Italy

Getty Images/DeAgostini


Founded by the Romans as a military garrison, Pavia has long been a strategic city both geographically and politically. It sits at the centre of an agricultural plain (hence its ugly periphery), it is an important provincial political player with strong Lega Nord leanings, and its university is considered one of the best in Italy, with previous alumni including explorer Christopher Columbus, physicist Alessandro Volta and poet and revolutionary Ugo Foscolo.

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