Dominating the town centre is Pavia's red-brick Duomo, topped by the third largest dome in Italy. Leonardo da Vinci and Donato Bramante contributed to the design, which was begun in 1488 but was not completed until the 19th century. As a result, the cavernous structure has an imperfect Greek cross plan and still lacks its marble facade. In 1989, its bell tower collapsed, killing four people.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Pavia attractions

2. Basilica di San Michele

0.24 MILES

Pavia's most important church isn't the Duomo, but the beautiful Romanesque San Michele, where medieval Lombard kings came to receive their iron crown and…

3. Università degli Studi di Pavia

0.26 MILES

The University of Pavia was established in 1361 by Galeazzo II Visconti, although there had been a school of divinity here as early as 825. The oldest…

4. Castello Visconteo

0.46 MILES

Looming over the old town is the red-brick Castello Visconteo, built in 1360 for Galeazzo II Visconti. Inside the forbidding ramparts is an enormous…

5. Orto Botanico

0.48 MILES

Wander around the historic botanical garden when the Università degli Studi di Pavia is open. It's situated on an area once covered by the convent of Sant…

6. Certosa di Pavia

4.94 MILES

One of the Italian Renaissance's most notable buildings is the splendid Certosa di Pavia. Giangaleazzo Visconti of Milan founded the monastery, 10km north…

7. Fondazione Prada

18.11 MILES

Conceived by designer Miuccia Prada and architect Rem Koolhaas, this museum is as innovative and creative as the minds that gave it shape. Seven renovated…

8. Fortunago

18.22 MILES

Classified as one of Italy’s most beautiful medieval villages, Fortunago has just 390 residents who continue to maintain their centuries old way of life…