Pavia in Pictures

Posted by Alex | | Posted On Saturday, 11 September 2010 at 14:42

Rather than attempting to edit the original post, I've simply amalgamated both into one new one, adding in extra details that I didn't know originally. When I first went out, I stopped in Chocolate Cafè, and had the most amazing breakfast of coffee, orange juice, and a croissant filled with patisserie cream. It was a bit of a grey day, so a lot of the photos looked a bit sad, and I was only using 2MP on my camera. Today, I went back out, stopped off for a panino and a cappuccino in Chocolate Cafè, and then set my camera to 5MP and went out again to get some better photos.

This is Pavia:
Pavia, from Borgo Ticino
Pavia is a city in Lombardy, which is the area in the centre of Northern Italy. It is a few miles away from the Po, and sits on the banks of the Ticino River. That river begins up in the Alps, in Switzerland, in the only purely Italian-speaking canton. It started out life as a Roman town, called Ticinum, before being promoted to a Papal City, and being used as the seat of power for the Visconti family. Now, it is a University town, and most of the inhabitants seem to be students.
Piazza Vittoria
I'll start out my photography trip around Pavia from the Piazza Vittoria. This Piazza is pretty much the heart of Pavia. It sits just off the Strada Nuova, which is the main road through the centro storico. Here, you can find a lot of restaurants and bars, and all the streets that branch off either contain shops or cafès. It is one of the busier places in Pavia, and getting a bus from Vittoria is usually a bad idea unless you want to stand like a sardine in a tin.

Strada Nuova
The Strada Nuova, ironically the oldest street in Pavia, stretches for the length of the centro storico starting up by the Castle, and working down to the Ticino. It is, for all intents and purposes, a shopping street these days. Though the main building of the University of Pavia takes up a fair bit of space, most of the buildings either house clothes stores, cafés, gelaterias, or banks. It's quite beautiful architecturally, if you can look up, rather than in every window you pass. On the one side, which would be the left side of the photo, most of the streets running off the Strada are home to offices, University buildings, and the occasional house. Running off to the right are more shops, piazzas, and cafés.

Il Duomo di Pavia
Il Duomo's central dome
The Duomo, or Cathedral, of Pavia is one of the biggest in Italy. It comes fourth in terms of size, behind St Peter's, and the Pantheon, in Rome, and Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. This is due to it being a Greek Cross, meaning that all the transepts coming off the central duomo are of equal size. The duomo itself is pretty huge too. The entire building was started back in the middle ages, and the façade wasn't completed until the 1800s. According to wikipedia, some of the minor details still aren't complete on this gargantuan church. It is, however, only one of many, many churches built in the centro storico. If I took photos of all of them, this post would be almost as long as a Harry Potter novel.

Il Ponte Coperto
Next, I headed on over to Borgo Ticino, a suburb across the river from the centro storico. To get there, you have to cross the Ponte Coperto, or Covered Bridge. From what I gather, from my bad Italian and a plaque on the bridge, the original crossing along the Ticino was a Roman bridge called Ponte Marmoreo. In 1351, under the guidance of the Duke of Milan Galeazzao II Visconti, the Podestà of Pavia Giovanni de Mandello, Jacopo da Cozzo, and an architect called Giovanni da Ferrera, another bridge was built, originally with a fortified roof and towers. Over the years the design was changed and modified by others, until in 1944 Carlo Alberto arrived and built (or repaired) the current version (as from what I gather the original was damaged in the war), which was inaugurated in 1951.

A Tutti Gli Aviatori Pavesi
This gem of a memorial A Tutti Gli Aviatori Pavesi can be found at the other end of the Viale Lungo Ticino Visconti. I was quite lucky in getting this picture when I went out on Thursday, so I didn't attempt to take another one because of how busy the junction is. I have no idea behind the history of it, but I assume it commemorates all the airmen who fought in World War II. Either way, it's a really striking piece of art.

Pope John Paul II Park
After wandering town for a few hours, sipping coffee, taking photos, all that jazz, I decided to head up to see the Castle. It is currently inside a city park, that park being the Parco Papa Giovanni Paolo II, or Pope John Paul II Park. It was named so in 2007 when Pope Benedict XVI visited Pavia. It's quite a nice park, but there are so many trees is wasn't exactly worth taking pictures, because you can just use your imagination.

Il Castello Visconti
The Castello Visconti is just outside the boundaries of the centro storico, nestled within a park. It dates back to the 1300s when the Visconti family were the signori of Milan. They made Pavia their seat of power, and ran operations from this palace. Apparently, the grounds of the castle originally covered the land between the centro storico and the nearby town of Certosa di Pavia, where there currently is a Carthusian monastery, which was built for the Visconti family - however, a point of note is that Certosa is a good 5 or 6 kilometres away, which really says a fair bit about the land involved. Even Windsor Castle's chapel is right next to it.
Residenza Universitaria Biomedica
"Casa dolce casa"
After that, I decided it was time to return home. Picked up a few bits and bobs in Carrefour, and then caught the #7 bus back. After about three stops I was the only one riding the bus, which was insane. I think the driver even thought WTF because he stopped at the bus stop and waited for me to walk the entire distance back to the front gate before pulling away. Anyway, that picture, that's where I am. It's about 15minutes by bus from the centre (give or take, when there's traffic), and a 40minute walk on a good day. Literally nothing around here. I would add the pictures of my room to the bottom, but they were terrible, and it's currently in need of 'remaking the bed' and 'putting stuff away'. Future update, I'll re-up some better ones I guess.

So, yeah. Ecco la Pavia, as we say in Italian. It's really a nice town. I just think that in the next week or so I should maybe hop on a train to Milan, Turin or Genoa and spend the day there getting to show people the sights of Italia, because I highly doubt I'm going to get much time to travel once Uni starts properly.


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