Pavia is a city of approximately 71,500 residents and lies in the south western area of the Lombardy region of Italy, 35 kilometres south of Milan. It is an ancient city, once known as the city of a hundred towers, it is today known for the Visconti Castle, the old University of Pavia, and its proximity to the Carthusian Abbey. It is also home to several interesting churches, medieval towers, and the beautiful Ponte Vecchio. The 14th century Visconti Castle, houses an art gallery and an archaeological and sculpture museum, which is worth a quick visit. The town itself is a delight to walk around and invites investigation through its intriguing web of narrow medieval streets which lead into cobbled squares where the daily life of the city can be seen!!
Originally the seat of the Kings of Lombard and the centre of the royal coronations until the 12th century, Pavia is an ancient city and home to many appealing historic buildings, cobble streets and squares. During the 14th century the city came under the control of the Visconti family from Milan, whose influence changed the city into an intellectual and artistic centre, as they created the University of Pavia, and built the Visconti castle, which became the focus of one of the most elegant courts of the Italian Renaissance. It was Galeazzo Visconti, who in 1396, commenced the construction of the family mausoleum, which was later to become the home of the Carthusian order of monks sworn to deep contemplation and silence!! Known as the Carthusian Abbey or Certosa di Pavia, the Charterhouse of Pavia, the monastery has a lavish design and exuberant architecture, with both Gothic and Renaissance styles incorporated into the construction. The monastery, with its collection of artworks that are particularly representative of the region, lies approximately 8 kilometres north of Pavia and is the major tourist attraction in Pavia, although the town itself does deserve to be seen.