The small university town of Pavia is just a 25-minute train ride south of Milan, and is a great daytrip.
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The town itself has a castle, some gorgeous churches, and a famous university: Christopher Columbus was a graduate. It also has a rich and long history: a city which dates back to pre-Roman times, Pavia was capital of the Italian kingdom from the 8th until the 12th centuries. It also came under Spanish, Austrian and French rule before the unification of Italy in 1871.
Even if you don’t really care about the history lesson, it’s just a nice town to visit and just wander, eat, or sit and people-watch.
But, to get to the point: the main reason to visit Pavia in my opinion is to see the gorgeous Carthusian monastery, or Certosa di Pavia, which is 8 km north of the city.
The church is somewhat of an art overload experience: every square inch of the facade (see photo above) - inspired by the Duomo of Milan - is covered in marble, relief, and statues. Inside, admire the frescoes, paintings, stained glass, marble, ivory and wood sculpture, terracotta decoration, and bronze candelabra.
After you’re done in the church spend some time wandering the peaceful cloisters (see photo) and soaking up the atmosphere.
Photos by Sanjay
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