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 on March 17, 1989.
The cathedral was begun in 1488, under architect Cristoforo Rocchi, who was soon replaced by Giovanni Antonio Amadeo and Gian Giacomo Dolcebuono. The original project, with a nave and two aisles flanked by semicircular niches and a large central dome, was influenced by Bramante, some details of it later appearing in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Leonardo da Vinci is also known to have contributed to the project.
In 1521, the altar area was completed by Gianpietrino Rizzi, a pupil of Da Vinci. By the 17th century, the presbytery had been completed but only in the following century was the tambour built, while the dome itself and the facade had to wait for the 19th century. The dome was designed by Carlo Maciachini and completed in 1885, but partially collapsed the same year. In 1930, construction continued with the two arms of the transept, for which the original plan was followed, although using reinforced concrete (in order to save the remains of the medieval Santa Maria del Popolo). The arms are still missing part of the internal marble decoration.
The church is on the Greek Cross plan: it therefore has the same length and width at the transept. The central dome, with an octagonal plan, is 97 m tall, with a total weight of some 20,000 tons.References:
Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.
Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.
Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.