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 colleges, dating from the 16th century, are the Collegio Borromeo and the Collegio Ghislieri. Another three have since been added and they are now all linked via the Pavia University System, Instituto Universitario di Studi Superiori (IUSS).

You can wander around the grounds, the historic botanical garden and courtyards when the university is open. The stately campus houses the small Museo per la Storia dell'Università di Pavia.