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.

Aside from its vibrant atmosphere (Instituto Universitario di Studi Superiori, IUSS, is a partner in over 300 international exchange programs), Pavia’s historic centre preserves a clutch of worthwhile sights including, to the north of the city, the legendary Carthusian monastery Certosa di Pavia.

Explore Pavia

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Pavia.


Learn more about Pavia

Uncover the heart of travel and be inspired to see new sights with one of Lonely Planet’s in-depth, award-winning guidebooks.