Top Historic Sights in Pavia, Italy

Explore the historic highlights of Pavia

Pavia Cathedral

Pavia Cathedral is the largest in the city and seat of the Diocese of Pavia. The construction was begun in the 15th century on the site of two pre-existing Romanesque, 'twin' cathedrals (Santo Stefano and Santa Maria del Popolo). The marble facing of the exterior was never completed. Until recently, next to the cathedral stood the Civic Tower (Torre Civica), known in 1330 and enlarged in 1583. It collapsed o ...
Founded: 1488 | Location: Pavia, Italy

Pavia Botanical Garden

The Orto Botanico dell"Università di Pavia is a botanical garden maintained by the University of Pavia. The garden was begun in 1773 as a successor to Pavia"s earlier Orto dei Semplici (established 1558). By 1775 the garden was in use, with its first wooden greenhouses constructed in 1776. Nocca Domenico organized and expanded the garden 1797–1826, adding collections to exchange seeds and plants, and buildin ...
Founded: 1773 | Location: Pavia, Italy

Visconti Castle

The Visconti Castle in Pavia was built in 1360 by Galeazzo II Visconti, soon after the taking of the city, a free city-state until then. The credited architect is Bartolino da Novara. The castle used to be the main residence of the Visconti family, while the political capital of the state was Milan. North of the castle a wide park was enclosed, also including the Certosa of Pavia, founded 1396 according to a vow ...
Founded: 1360 | Location: Pavia, Italy

Santa Maria del Carmine Church

Santa Maria del Carmine is considered amongst the best examples of Lombard Gothic architecture. It was begun in 1374 by Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan, on a project attributed to Bernardo da Venezia. The construction followed a slow pace, and was restarted in 1432, being finished in 1461. Exterior The church has an imposing façade commanding the square with the same name; the slender forms betray a residual Rom ...
Founded: 1374-1461 | Location: Pavia, Italy

San Michele Maggiore Church

The Basilica of San Michele Maggiore is one of the most striking example of Lombard-Romanesque style. It dates from the 11th and 12th centuries. A first church devoted to St. Michael Archangel was built on the location of the Lombard Palace chapel (to this period belongs the lower section of the bell tower), but it was destroyed by a fire in 1004. The current construction was begun in the late 11th century (crypt, choir ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Pavia, Italy

Santa Maria di Canepanova Church

Santa Maria di Canepanova is a Renaissance style Roman Catholic church located in central Pavia, region of Lombardy, Italy. Although in the past the design was popularly attributed to Bramante, the church was designed by Giovanni Antonio Amadeo. Church was built from 1500 to 1507 by Amadeo, who had previously built the tambour of the Milan Cathedral and had been invited by Cardinal Ascanio Sforza, brother of Duke Lud ...
Founded: 1500-1507 | Location: Pavia, Italy

San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro

San Pietro in Ciel d"Oro (Italian for 'Saint Peter in Golden Sky') name refers to the mosaics of gold leaf behind glass tesserae that decorates the ceiling of the apse.  A church of Saint Peter is recorded in Pavia in 604; it was renovated by Liutprand, King of the Lombards (who is buried here) between 720 and 725. The present Romanesque church was consecrated by Pope Innocent II in 1132. The chu ...
Founded: 1132 | Location: Pavia, Italy

San Teodoro Church

San Teodoro is a Romanesque-style church in Pavia, Italy. A church at the site is documented since the year 752. The parish is cited in documents from the mid-13th-century. Initially the church was dedicated to Saint Agnes, but by the year 1000, it was dedicated to San Teodoro, bishop of Pavia who died in 778. The body of the saint, who is the protector of fisherman and those working in the River Ticino, is housed in t ...
Founded: 8th century AD | Location: Pavia, Italy

Santi Primo e Feliciano Church

Santi Primo e Feliciano church at the site is documented since the 12th century. It belonged to a college of canons regular who in 1354, became members of the Congregation of Servants of Mary, and so remained till the 18th century. The convent was suppressed in 1810. The original structure had three naves, but in the 15th century an additional nave was added. In the 16th century, the church was reduced to a single nave, ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Pavia, Italy

San Lanfranco Church

San Lanfranco is a Romanesque-style Roman Catholic church and former abbey. A paleochristian church at the site, dedicated to the Holy Sepulcher (Santo Sepolcro) was located near here, and the first documentation of a monastery here date to 1090. The monastery became associated with the Vallumbrosan Order, and hosted the bishop Lanfranco Beccaria, till his death in 1198. Pope Alexander III elevated Lanfranco to saint ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Pavia, Italy

Mirabello Castle

The Mirabello Castle is located in Mirabello di Pavia in the area of the Parco Visconteo. The building today is only a wing of the original castle, which was the seat of the Captain of the Park, the authority administering the Parco Visconteo on behalf of the Visconti family. Since the 12th century the area had been occupied by a Cistercians monastery. In 1325 the Fiamberti family of Pavia acquired goods and lands ...
Founded: 1325 | Location: Pavia, Italy

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.