I love going on days out to places I’ve never been to before, and this doesn’t stop when I head off on holiday. If you’re escaping to Milan any time soon, make sure you go on an excursion to nearby Pavia, which should only take around 45 minutes by car.
The town is located in south-western Lombardy, a part of Italy that boasts many fantastic destinations that are easily accessible from Milan. However, I think Pavia stands out for many reasons, and I’ve detailed some of them below.
Its medieval churches
One of my favourite types of tourist attraction to explore when on holiday to Italy is churches. These buildings are simply stunning, and the churches located in Pavia are mainly medieval, although many include features from other periods.
The Basilica of Saint Michael is something of a highlight thanks to its impressive Romanesque-style facade, as well as an array of internal features that include the Lady of Sorrows chapel, ancient marble altar and Teodote’s Crucifix. The latter derived its name from the fact it was saved from the suppressed di Teodote Monastery in 1799 during the revolution. Pavia’s cathedral is also well worth a visit, especially since it boasts one of the biggest domes in the country.
The Convent of Certosini
This tourist hotspot lies a little outside of Pavia, and is something of a middle point between the town and Milan. The huge marble building was commissioned in 1396 and its beauty has impressed those who have visited it ever since.
Former Duke of Milan Gian Galeazzo Visconti decided the convent should be built in order to act as a funeral monument in honour of his family’s dynasty. Even though the Sforza family eventually took power, construction continued and was finally completed around 100 years later. Some of the highlights of the Convent of Certosini include the pretty courtyard, grand carved marble entrance and the Palazzo Ducale.
Italian is one of my favourite cuisines, and I must admit pizza is pretty much what I tuck into every Saturday night! Obviously, my tastes are a lot more adventurous than just this, especially when I’m staying in the country.
Lombardy, Liguria and Piedmont have all inspired the dishes you can enjoy in Pavia, with small game, pancetta, cotechino and coppa all important ingredients that you will find in your food. The soup from the province of the same name is also highly regarded, and I definitely suggest you sample a bowl on your Mediterranean getaway.
This is made with cheese, eggs and broth, topped with watercress and served with bread. You’re also lucky enough to be in a part of Italy that enjoys successful truffle growing, especially the white variety. Finally, you can wash down all of this lovely food with some local wine. Among the best are Moscato, Pinot Noir, Barbera and Pinot Grigio.
Parco Lombardo della Valle del Ticino
This is a little bit out of town, but I reckon if you’ve got enough time the river park is well worth the drive. If you get a cheap hire car at Milan Airport you might as well make the most of it! The park is brilliant for soaking up the warm sun as you enjoy a leisurely bike ride, or you might decide to explore it on horseback or on foot instead.
Whichever way you decide to get around, keep your eyes peeled for the fantastic array of floral and fauna, particularly our feathered friends.