Dating back over 2,000 years, the city of Pavia (pop. 71,000) served as the capital of Lombard and Carolingian Empires from ca. 600AD - 1100AD.
Situated 35km south of Milan, it is home to one of Europe's oldest universities, chartered in 1361.
Once known as the city of 100 towers, Pavia today has fine Romanesque and Medieval buildings, a castle, and a vibrant historic center.
Most likely a derivation of the Latin Papia, Pavia's name suggests a history of papal affiliation.
Just 4km outside the city is the fantastic Certosa di Pavia, one of the most notable buildings from the Italian Renaissance period, and one of the most extravagant religious complexes in all of Italy.
Some festival concerts are held in the Basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d'Oro (St. Peter in the Sky of Gold).
This late Medieval church is the final resting place of Saint Augustine, Boethius, and the Lombard King Liutprand.
Pavia's proximity to Milan offers train rides to every major city in northern, central and southern Italy. Genoa, Turin, Florence and Pisa are only 2-plus hours away.
Saturdays afternoon and Sundays are set aside for tourism; you are encouraged to plan your visits ahead.