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DISCOVER PAVIA FOLLOWING MAX PEZZALI'S SUGGESTIONS

Pavia/ Must See

1 Castello Visconteo

2 Arca di Sant’Agostino

3 San Michele Maggiore

4 Liberty Bridge

5 Teatro Fraschini

6 Università di Pavia

7 Palazzo Mezzabarba

8 San Teodoro Basilica

9 Santa Maria in Betlem

10 Broletto

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Max Pezzali is the legendary voice of 883, the band he founded in 1991 with his friend Mauro Repetto. Big hits, most notably “Hanno ucciso l’Uomo Ragno”, “Nord, Sud, Ovest, Est” and “Grazie mille”. Then the Sanremo Festival and over 7 million records sold. Solo since 2004 with the successful album “Il mondo insieme a te”. His passions? Motorbikes, cartoons (he has a collection of over 1300) and of course Pavia. You can bump into him in a trattoria on the cobbled streets along the Ticino, sitting in front of a steaming plate of the local soup, zuppa alla pavese. His favourite. Over to the Cult City Ambassador.

 

I LIKE PAVIA BECAUSE
Pavia is a town packed with monuments and historical attractions, but also environmental attractions: there are lots of masterpieces to interest tourists. Unfortunately the people of Pavia are quite understated, they prefer to keep a low profile. They are almost incapable of thinking positive, reluctant to promote and showcase their treasures.

A MASTERPIECE NOT TO BE MISSED
If I had to choose a masterpiece I would choose the Ticino: the river is the focal point of the city, it is life, entertainment, trade, relationships, relaxation, sport, beauty. The Pavesi are river people, they have an extricable love-hate relationship with the Ticino because of all it gives and takes away, they understand it and put up with its fickleness, they share in its highs and lows.

A SECRET PLACE
The point at which “the lake ends, and the Adda again begins…” (The Betrothed, chapter one), which is Pescarenico, an old fishing village with narrow streets, colourful houses packed in tightly and a lovely, quiet square.

THE MUSEUM I’D VISIT 1.000 TIMES
The crypt of Sant’Eusebio, or rather what is left of the church founded by the Longobards, who converted to Catholicism on the will of Queen Theodolinda. But also Piazzetta Belli (a short walk from Teatro Fraschini), where you can admire a depiction, hidden under a balcony, of the “Torre dal pizzo in giù”, a tower constructed upside down to challenge the laws of stability.

AN INSTAGRAMMER’S DREAM
The Visconti Castle which, unlike other castles, is located in the town centre: an absorbing place for its long history (it was built before Castello Sforzesco in Milan) but also for its beauty. It hosts the museums where I would go back 10, 100, 1000 times not just to see the permanent collections but also to visit the temporary exhibitions: coming up is an exhibition on the Longobards, which will look at Pavia when it was the capital of the kingdom and the customs and habits of these unique “barbarians” that revitalised the Roman civilisation with new energy and drive.

A WALK WITH FRIENDS
Borgo Basso, on the other side of the Ticino to the city. The road runs along the river bank, a series of colourful little houses once inhabited by fishermen and washerwomen. Here I would take a picture of all the colours from close-up.

WHERE TO CAPTURE THE SUNSET
To the banks of the Ticino, on the stretch between Ponte Vecchio and Ponte Nuovo, to see the setting sun reflected in the water, broken into a thousand little pieces, and the city skyline. Looking at the famous Ponte Coperto on one side, a post-war reconstruction of the 14th century bridge, and the Ponte della Libertà on the other, which Marco Lodola has lit up with some amazing fluorescent colours.

THE TASTIEST DISH
“Zuppa alla pavese”: the story goes that King Francis I, who took over the French cavalry in the battle against the imperial troops of Charles V fought in 1525 in the garden of the Castello, was wounded and taken to recover in a farmstead where the female peasant gave him everything she had: broth, stale bread and an egg. And it was thus that “zuppa alla pavese” came into being, a regal yet simple dish of leftover ingredients, made by someone that uses what they have, without throwing anything away: an example of ante litteram “recycling”.

THE BEST PIAZZA FOR APERITIF
The “big” piazza (the Roman forum, now Piazza della Vittoria), the beating heart of the city, the place to be: sat in one of the many bars and pubs, looking at the Broletto, the old municipal building now home to prestigious cultural institutions, and being seen.

WHERE TO DISCOVER HISTORY
History is everywhere in Pavia: I choose the Church of San Michele, an amazing place, incredibly beautiful, mysterious and evocative, dramatic in its fragility, a place that is also part of my “story”: I was a choirboy and I also played my first instrument here, the bells.

WHERE TO LOOK AT THE FUTURE
More than “where”, “how” to see the future: with our feet in the past, using technology to strengthen our identity. Perhaps looking at the clock of the Broletto.

AN EVENT NOT TO BE MISSED
The end-of-summer fireworks on the Ticino. On the evening of the festival Pavia comes alive with lots of events and everyone is out. Then the pyrotechnics begin and everyone is entranced as they look at the city skyline with its towers, the bell tower of the Carmine and the majestic dome of the Cathedral, lit up by the flashes of the fireworks.

A GIANT OF THE PAST
All of the ‘giants’ connected with Pavia (many teachers at the University, from Volta to Foscolo and Golgi), but the most important is St. Augustine, one of the greatest men in history: he didn’t live in the city but his ashes have rested here for 13 centuries, transferred to the basilica of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro on the orders of Lombard king Liutprand and now conserved in a splendid marble reliquary.

A SOUVENIR
It may not be too good for our figures but nobody can resist taking home a “torta Paradiso” cake. It is just like Pavia: genuine and simple but certainly not lacking in taste.

IF IT WERE A SONG
Rather than mentioning my songs that talk about Pavia (“Con un deca”), I would go for “Certe notti” by Ligabue: Pavia is a provincial city, influenced by environmental elements – the river, the fog, the humidity – which seem to make it unwelcoming but which in reality have their own special and unique poetry that forges a strong bond, and a debt of gratitude, between the local people and the town, one that remains even after they have left.

FOR A ONE-DAY TRIP
I often head south with my friends, towards the hills of the Oltrepo, to enjoy its culinary delights – the PDO salami of Varzi, the wines – but above all the wonderful landscapes of the Brallo and Monte Lesina, a crossroads between four different regions and a place full of excellent agritourism structures.

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“A walk with friends in Pavia? At night, in the quiet little lanes in the centre where the only thing you can hear is your footsteps“.
Max Pezzali
SINGER

CULT CITY LIFE/ Pavia THREE UNMISSABLE EXPERIENCES

CASTELLO DI BELGIOIOSO

Not far from Pavia, the Castello di Belgioioso is a Visconti-era masterpiece where culture, epics and legends meet

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THE ENCHANTING CERTOSA

Just ten minutes from Pavia you’ll discover the magic of the ancient Certosa, commissioned by the Duke Gian Galeazzo Visconti of Milan

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UNIVERSITY CAMPUS

The University of Pavia campus is buzzing with life, while its halls conceal wonderful treasure. Discover where Einstein fell in love

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CULT CITY GALLERY/ THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PICTURES OF Pavia

Teatro Fraschini, Pavia
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Liberty Bridge, Pavia
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Università di Pavia
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San Teodoro Basilica, Pavia
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Arca di Sant'Agostino, Pavia
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Broletto, Pavia
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Castello Visconteo, Pavia
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Palazzo Mezzabarba, Pavia
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San Michele Maggiore, Pavia
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Santa Maria in Betlem, Pavia
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Pavia/ TOURIST INFORMATION

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